Music is a language. Old Time fiddle music is a dialect of that language. When I think about it that way it changes the way I view Old Time music and the way that I teach it. I recently teamed up with my friend Willem Larsen to redesign my Old Time Bowing workshop based on the realizations that he has made teaching spoken language. Willem is part of a really exciting project called Where Are Your Keys? who’s goal is to help establish thriving language communities with efficient learning and teaching techniques. The project was originally designed to help revive endangered indigenous languages but has grown in scope and is now being applied in broader communities. One thing they have figured out is that learning is faster when it is fun and done in groups, essentially learning should be a game. My workshop has always been a version of follow-the-leader but with Willem’s help we have figured out what helps people learn and what gets in their way and adjusted accordingly. Willem posted this video of our results based on the workshop I did recently in Portland, OR. The workshop was really fun to teach and the response was incredibly positive.
One change I made is that I have posted Mp3’s of the tunes and the bowing rhythms that I teach in the bowing workshop on the Living History page of my website so instead of taking up valuable workshop time recording tunes you can now download them or listen to them before you even show up.