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And There's Gaelic in the Fiddle!

The role of the fiddle in Celtic culture in our age is central.  When early Gaels lost access to pipes and harps, long considered their "first instruments", the more modern European violin began to take their place in preserving their traditional tunes.

Students of violin of other types-- including whole ensembles-- have come to CeltFest school and discovered the joy and depth of Celtic music on their fiddles, which range from simple to very complex arrangements and rhythms.

NOTE: The international instructors' expertise is sufficient to cover a range of Celtic & related styles - the program can also add some Scandinavian, Québécois and Breton tunes to the list of styles mentioned below. Though the specialist area is obviously Scottish/Irish/Canadian fiddle playing. As we do in other faculties such as piping and dancing, we are happy to customize a program with your ensemble or performance group, simply by calling us ahead of time.

Basic Program Description

Fiddle students of all ages and abilities will enjoy this opportunity to study with some of Canada's top fiddle instructors. Each day there are are three hours of instruction in core fiddle classes, where teachers will lead students throug a variety of tunes and styles of playing.  In addition to these core classes, we are offering a daily technique workshop which will introduce and reinforce fundamental skills while addressing common technical challenges.

The day will end with TRAD BAND, in which all players will work together to build exciting and dynamic arrangements of traditional tunes.

Playing Levels

Level 1: Beginner/Novice – Students for this level should know how to hold the fiddle and play some easy tunes in keys such as A and D. A novice fiddler can play scales in the key of A and D major, or can play 10 or more simple fiddle tunes. (RCM introductory grade, or Suzuki early book 1, up to Minuet 1).The teaching material will mainly consist of easy jigs, reels, marches and strathspeys in the key signatures of and D, including help with bowing techniques. Sheet music will be provided, however, it is not necessary that the student know how to read music.

Level 2: Intermediate/Advanced – Students should be able to play jigs, reels, marches and strathspeys up to speed and in key signatures such as A, D and G, but also be learning tunes in the minor keys as well as the flats. An intermediate player knows 20+ fiddle tunes well and is able to play several scales and arpeggios. They should be fairly comfortable learning tunes by ear. (Suzuki late book 1 to book 2, RCM grade 1-3). Advanced fiddlers have a wide and varied repertoire of tunes and are able to play them at full speed. They should be very comfortable learning tunes by ear, and be familiar with shifting and double stops. (Suzuki book 3 and up or RCM grade 4 and beyond). This class will focus on traditional Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton tunes, but will also include other Celtic-inspired genres. Bowing techniques as well as embellishments will have a strong emphasis. Sheet music will be provided.

ANNOUNCING CELTFEST TRAD BAND: Again this year, subject to minimum numbers, CeltFest is delighted to present a comprehensive music school featuring many disciplines, which, though, taught separately, come together during CeltFest week to form a special ensemble---TRAD BAND. This is open to all full-time students registered in Celtic Music School instrumental subjects,


  • Other instructors participating in Fiddle classes and Trad Band may be seen here:

What to Bring

  • Fiddle
  • Bows
  • Sheet music optional, as instructors will provide what is necessary
  • Pens/pencils 
  • Notebook
  • Binder or folder for handouts  
  • Recording device (optional)  
  • Water bottle  
  • Wacky costume for those participants in the Jig and Hornpipe Contest  
  • Shorts  
  • Long Pants  
  • Rain gear  
  • Sweater for evening
  • Outdoor sportswear, sunscreen and hat 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Beach towel 
  • Bug repellent
  • Highland dress/Irish costumes (optional)  
  • Your best attitude for a fun-filled week of learning! 

Class Schedule/Location

PROPOSED Schedule-NOTE: THIS IS 2011! 2012 coming soon!

Attachment Size
CeltFest fiddle schedule-FINAL.pdf 30.51 KB

.The class final class schedule and location will be finalized once registration closes on June 25.

Register Now!