Traditional Irish Music
Fiddlevideo.com is an online fiddle lesson website, designed to help you develop your fiddle playing through a number of online lessons. To appeal to a wide audience of students, site creator and Oregon resident Casey Willis teamed up with several other instructors from other fiddle genera who are at the top of their game. Kevin Burke teaches Irish traditional, Hanneke Cassel teaches Scottish/American, Patti Kusturok teaches Canadian/Métis, and Casey Willis himself teaches American Contest/Old-Time fiddle. He has plans to add additional instructors to the site in the future.
The inclusion of over 25 tutorial videos by Irish fiddle legend Kevin Burke drew our attention to the site. Each lesson module has been recorded using High Definition (HD) cameras and studio-quality audio. Their “picture-in-picture” approach gives you up-close insight into the subtle techniques that are involved with each tune.
We spoke to site creator Casey Willis about the site and the reasons behind its creation. Casey has played country and bluegrass music for a living for several years, playing with Grand Old Opry stars including Dolly Parton, Craig Morgan, Johnny Russell, Jack Greene, George Hamilton IV, Jeanny Seally, Jean Shepard, and Margo Smith.
“I remember growing up and having to drive hours to participate in a fiddle jam session or contest” he says. “If I wanted to learn a new tune, I had to buy an album or record a session and work from cassette tape, which was a bit time consuming. If I was lucky, I got a chance to jam one-on-one with a good player and hopefully pick up a tune or two. Once the internet came along, it was clear that it could be used as an effective, on-demand teaching tool; not to replace in-person lessons, but to enhance them.”
In 2011, he decided the time was right to create a fiddle instruction website.
Instead of focusing on the basics and creating yet another entry-level instructional site, he wanted to create a learning environment for students who are familiar with the fundamentals of fiddling and are looking to improve and take their playing to the next level.
For Irish musicians the presence of Kevin Burke is a big plus and the site gives insight into over 20 of his tunes as well as some technique videos. Here is a bowed triplet lesson.
“Our goal in designing the site was to use fiddle tunes as a way to teach fiddle technique, rather than the other way around. As I thought through my musical education and how I learned advanced fiddle techniques, I realized that it all came back to learning tunes that contained those techniques. With that in mind, it made best sense to record performances of each tune from all of the instructors so students could hear what the final product should sound like. We also wanted to make difficult tunes accessible to all players, so each tune lesson module contains two instructional videos: one lesson covers the basic notes in the tune, and the second lesson covers the advanced licks and techniques which make the tune interesting.”
Casey also explained that he wanted to leverage as much technology as possible to create a robust, rich learning environment. To that end, he employs HD picture-in-picture videos so students can clearly see bowings and fingerings as they learn. Audio for each lesson is recorded and mastered using high-end recording equipment to provide a consistent quality of content.
“We have developed custom A/B looping points so students can repeat a user-defined section of each video, and students can also slow down videos (up to 50%) which really helps to clarify difficult passages. To round out each lesson, sheet music, MP3 performance downloads, and guitar backing tracks are included (guitar is N/A for Trad Irish lessons by Kevin Burke).”
“Although the majority of the lessons on the site are developed around learning a specific tune, we’ve also created many technique lessons which should be helpful for students wanting to focus on a specific grace note, bowing or other skill.”
To find out more visit www.fiddlevideo.com
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