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Track 4 String Teachers

I have been training string teachers in the fiddling arts for over 40 years.  I even met my wife Gail, who is a string teacher in the public schools in Mesa, Arizona, in one of my classes on fiddling for string teachers at the University of Arizona.  My father Paul Rolland made very important contributions to the field of string pedagogy and acquired worldwide fame as a teacher of string teachers.  Perhaps I wanted to follow in his footsteps in some measure, even though I was a mathematician and fiddler, not a classical musician.  You can understand why having this component of the Rolland Fiddle Camp is important to me. 

Classically trained string teachers face a number of challenges, which we will address at camp.

·      Young string players enjoy and relate well to fiddle music.  It motivates them to participate with enthusiasm in the learning process. 

·      Fiddle music is a good recruitment tool for classroom teachers.

·      The current "Alternative Strings" movement has grown in strength to the point where teachers need to be able to include fiddling in their curriculum to meet state and national standards.

·      Classically trained players tend to have deeply ingrained bowing and vibrato habits that lie outside of true fiddling style.  As a result, they have a very hard time capturing the real sound of fiddling in their playing.  At Rolland Fiddle Camp they will learn how to capture the true sound of fiddling in their playing, as well as effective ways to share their enthusiasm with their students and motivate them to further study and participation in the genre.

Like all students at camp, string teachers will learn fiddle tunes.  They will have access to their choice of workshops and will play in the camp Folk Orchestra.  I will help them with:

·      Becoming familiar with and understanding stylistic issues in fiddling.  I'll demonstrate, and we'll play and discuss recorded audio and video playing samples from master fiddlers;

·      Bowing dynamics to convey the right lilt and accents;

·      The use of drones and slides and how to convey these elements to students;

·      Chord embellishments and double stops and how to convey these elements to students;

·      Getting the right sound for fiddle music from their bass players (pizzicato "slap bass" style)!

I'll also show teachers the set of left hand exercise patterns that I teach my students to lay a good foundation for advanced fiddling skills.

I will show teachers the class method for teaching fiddling that has been very successful for me over the years.  It is described in my article "The Power of Unison" published in AMERICAN STRING TEACHER in the spring 2011 issue.  Teachers will "learn by doing".

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