The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling

Traditional Scottish Fiddle Music

Faculty & Staff ~ Summer 2023
Dr John Turner:  Director & Senior Instructor 
John Turner, 10-time National Scottish Fiddling Champion, recording artist, composer and educator, founded The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling in 1984.  He is a versatile entertainer who has performed throughout the United States, Canada and the British Isles, offering, wherever he goes, workshops in fiddling from the golden era of Scottish traditional music - the 18th century.  Dr Turner is President of Fiddletree Music, Inc. which produces his recordings and publishes his compositions, for he is a prolific composer of melodies in the Scottish style. Turner also takes a keen interest in the history of the music and of the period and his classes are invariably peppered with a variety of historical facts and anecdotes.
At Jink this year, Dr John will lead the daily ninety-minute sessions of Play Scottish Trad, in which he will explore with you the Jink & Diddle 40th Anniversary Collection and the collection of Jink Rally Music, which is filled to the brim with traditional favourites.
He will also lead the volunteer Dance Band which will play for the extended TWO HOUR dance class each afternoon, Monday thru Thursday.  Come any day (or every day) and learn the technicalities and nuances of playing for dancing and for dance classes, if you won't try to dance yourself!  (However, we do encourage you to give dancing a try.)
This year, Dr. John's one-hour Special Topic class will feature the Book o' Tunes 2023:
Turner's Tunes  
Dr. Turner has composed more than three thousand tunes in traditional Scottish style.  Join him as he discusses and plays through a number of his compositions from the 2023 Book o' Tunes, while commenting on tune writing and the importance of composition in the Scottish tradition.  Bring your instrument, music stand and your copy of the Book o' Tunes to play along.
If you are interested in taking private lessons from Dr Turner via Skype or Zoom, please contact him through
                                Photo by Margy Fabling

John Turner, Director, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
John Turner
Mari Black, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
Mari Black
Mari Black:
Mari Black, multi-style violinist, composer and teacher, was the 2013 & 2015 National Scottish Fiddling Champion (runner-up in 2016) and the 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion (Scotland).  We welcomed Mari to the faculty of Jink & Diddle for the first time in 2015.  Mari  is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing, engaging stage presence, and commitment to bringing people together through music have made her a favourite with students and audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, she is a consumate performer and teacher, accomplished in a variety of fiddling styles.  As always, Mari has aces galore up her sleeve - and will be ready and willing to share them with you again this summer!
This year, Mari will regale you with three 180 minute classes (each over 2 days) in the 2023 Theme Pod series:
Dial In the Style: Strathspeys! 
Come explore the mighty strathspey: the signature tune of the Scottish style!  This graceful yet powerful tune type is featured in all areas of Scottish music — East Cost, West Coast, Cape Breton — but each regional approach seems so different!  What makes a strathspey sound “East Coast” vs. “Cape Breton”, and how can we fiddlers make that distinction clear in our playing?  We’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of how to put authentic stylistic spins on classic strathspeys, dialing in the exact musical choices you can make to transform any strathspey in different regional directions, deepening your understanding and mastery of several regional styles at once!  Be prepared to learn a tune (or two, or five…).
Unlock Your Performing Potential
Whether you’re looking to perform a polished MSR on stage, share a tune at your family’s holiday party, or simply lead tunes in your local session with greater ease and comfort, there are strategies that (so-called) "natural" performers use to connect with their listeners.  In this class, we’ll work on concrete techniques that will help you prepare your favorite tunes for sharing, gain confidence as a performer, combat “nerves”, engage your listeners, and grow as musical ambassadors.  We’ll practice how to apply essential stage skills together — and of course, you’ll have the opportunity to try out your new skills in an encouraging, supportive mini “master class” with Mari each day.  All levels of performing experience are welcome and encouraged to join us, from first-time performers to seasoned stage folks!  Bring your instruments, your questions, your willingness to try some new ideas, and your desire to engage your future audiences, wherever they might be.
Energy Infusion!  Maximizing Life, Lift, and Character in Your Playing
Let's get right to the essence of what traditional Scottish music is all about: the energy, the character, the "magic" that makes this kind of music feel irresistible to anyone who hears it! Come get INSPIRED as we explore how to infuse your playing with the lift and sparkle that's at the heart of all dance styles. We'll discover how to maximize character and groove in any kind of tune (from driving reels to lucious airs), and practice concrete skills that will help you create the kind of sound that will make your listeners forget their worries, move their bodies, tap their toes, and holler "WOO!" along with the tune! well as a one-hour class in the 2023 Special Topic series:
Fiery Pipe Tunes for Fiddlers
Even we fiddlers can admit it: some of the coolest tunes out there are pipe tunes.  The awesome variations, the many parts, the intricate ornamentation, the powerful sound… it’s pretty irresistible.  And we fiddlers can totally steal every bit of it!  Come explore the tunes, techniques, and tricks you need to turn yourself into a great pipe tune player.
If you would like to take private lessons from Mari, please contact her at

Maura Shawn Scanlin:
Maura Shawn Scanlin, born in Boone NC, now makes her home in Boston, MA.  In May 2019, she completed her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Ani Kavafian.  In addition to classical music, Maura also enjoys performing and collaborating with other musicians in a variety of non-classical styles ranging from traditional folk to contemporary improvisatory music. Particularly well-versed in Scottish and Irish traditional fiddle music, Maura has had the opportunity to compete in and has won the world’s premiere traditional Scottish fiddling competitions. She is a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Champion, and a winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship in Perthshire, Scotland.  Maura is a member of several bands based in the greater Boston area.  She performs and tours regularly with five-piece contemporary folk band Pumpkin Bread and Irish duo project Rakish.  She is also a new member of the contemporary Scottish outfit the Bywater Band.  Through collaborations, performances, and teaching, Maura hopes to cultivate appreciation for live acoustic music of all styles.  

Level 3 Classes - six ninety-minute sessions 
Each day, Maura will address a different tune type - strathspeys, marches, reels and airs - as well as a different artistic topic each day. well as a one-hour class in the 2023 Special Topic series:
Controlling the Bow!
An hour-long class exploring (and/or reviewing) ways to make sure your fingers and smaller muscles are engaged with the bow to ensure maximum bow control, distribution, tone, expression, groove, and lift.  We will explore the basics--be prepared to go slowly over things you might have learned once long ago, but might need a refresher on--as well as tackle some common bowing patterns found in Scottish and celtic tunes.  We will tackle how to use the basics to make these bowing patterns more comfortable and consistent.  Please come to this class with the willingness to address and begin changing patterns in your bowing that might not currently be serving you as well as they could be :)

If you would like to take private lessons from Maura, please contact her at
Photo by Louise Bichan

Maura Shawn Scanlin
Maura Shawn Scanlin
Tim Macdonald:  
Tim Macdonald, 2014 National Scottish Fiddling Champion and Glenfiddich Celebration of Champions invitee, is a performer, researcher, composer, and teacher of "thrilling" early Scottish fiddle music (Chicago Classical Review) and has been attending Jink since 2006. His unique combination of years of experience as a folk dance musician with the technique of a classically-trained player and the historical rigor of a scholar have taken him from New York City's Frick Collection and Scotland's Blair Castle to the villages of Indonesia, university lecture halls and academic conferences, and countless country and contra dances in the US and Europe. He earned a master's degree with distinction from the University of Edinburgh for research on 18th-century Scottish fiddle performance and currently lives in Scotland.
Level 2 Classes - six ninety-minute sessions. well as two one-hour classes in the 2023 Special Topic series:

Paint by Numbers - the Easy Way to Write Tunes
Writing a new tune can be daunting. When faced with a blank page, it can seem like there are too many options (and too many ways to mess up!). Historically, though, composers didn't start from scratch. They used pre-existing harmonic progressions and melodic ideas that they could snap together like legos to make a new tune from old, trustworthy parts. We'll learn what 'schemata' people in Scotland used and how to use them to write new tunes ourselves.
Playing for Dance
If you would like to take private lessons from Tim, please contact him at
Photo by Francis Dunham

Tim Macdonald
Tim Macdonald
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse:  
Zach Lemhouse is a versatile, classically-trained musician who has diversified into the traditions of Scottish, Irish, Old time and bluegrass.  Joining us on staff for the eighth time, Zach will utilize his zeal for teaching to make Scottish music accessible to beginning players - a task he has performed with much enthusiasm and to great acclaim at previous sessions!  Zach was awarded the Outstanding American History Teacher of the Year Award for the State of South Carolina in 2018 by the Daughters of Colonial Wars.  It is usually a great comfort to us to know that Zach is also experienced in violin set-up and repair and is ever willing and able to deal with instrumental emergencies on campus. 
Level 1 Classes - twelve ninety-minute sessions.
And two one-hour classes in the 2023 Special Topic series:

The Origin and History of American Fiddle Music

Traditional American fiddle music owes a debt to the Scots and Scots-Irish who settled in the Americas during the Colonial Era. These settlers brought with them a musical tradition born in Scotland and heavily influenced by the Ulster Province of Northern Ireland. Historian Zach Lemhouse has over 20 years of experience playing traditional fiddle music and has combined his love of history and music into an entertaining and informative presentation on the origin and history of Colonial American Fiddle Music. 


The Feeding and Care of Your Fiddle

Your four-stringed friend requires routine care and maintenance to remain happy and healthy. This preventive care can help you avoid advanced issues that may threaten your instrument and require costly repairs. Zach Lemhouse has over 15 years of experience in violin repair and has prepared this informative presentation that will teach you easy tips and tricks that you can do at home to keep your violin as fit as a fiddle!!

Other Faculty & Staff
Rachel Barton Pine:
Rachel Barton Pine, internationally acclaimed concert violinist, recording artist, educator and philanthropist, has been teaching at The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling since 2010.  Rachel's openness to and passion for a wide variety of musical styles is both refreshing and exhilarating!  From early music on original instruments to heavy metal and much of the spectrum in between which, of course, includes classical and Scottish traditional, she brings a level of scholarship and joie de vivre unmatched among the active performers of today.  Whether she is teaching about effective practice time or Baroque ornamentation, there is never a dull moment in Rachel's classroom and those fortunate enough to benefit from her pedagogy will sense they are in the presence of musical greatness!

Rachel Barton Pine, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
Rachel Barton Pine
Joanna Johnson, reigning National Scottish Fiddling Champion
Joanna Johnson
Joanna Johnson:
Joanna Johnson, 2017 US National Scottish Fiddle Champion (and 2014 runner-up), is a native of Central Wisconsin and joined our faculty in 2018. Raised in the traditional eighteenth century style of Scottish Fiddling, Joanna brings a passion and grace to the stage through well loved traditional Scottish tunes as well as her own compositions in the Scottish style.  Being an avid composer herself, Joanna’s tunes have won several awards in Scottish F.I.R.E's annual tune writing competition. She has performed extensively with her family band, MPK Christian Celtic band, across the United States as a fiddler, singer, songwriter, and dancer. In addition to Scottish Fiddling, Joanna is also a violinist in the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and is concertmistress of the Wausau Symphony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Violin Concentration in 2013 from Crown College in Minnesota and continued her classical studies under Professor Steven Bjella at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. As an instructor, Joanna has been passing on her joy and love in music-making since 2008.  
If you would like to take private lessons from Joanna, please contact her here.
Photo by Vince Elmhorst

Ralph Gordon:  Bass & Cello
Ralph Gordon is a uniquely versatile musician, bringing more than 45 years of musical experience to the bass and cello. He is equally at home in folk, old time, bluegrass, chamber group settings and all styles of music for dancers.  Ralph returns to Jink & Diddle in 2023 for his tenth year on faculty.  He brings a conservatory background and decades of experience to the assignment of teaching the accompaniment of Scottish dance music.  Ralph is more than a match for the task.  He is a Dance Musician Extraordinaire!  
Accompaniment Class
Ralph's class is for non-fiddlers who want to learn how to accompany traditional Scottish music.  Cellists, bassists, guitarists, pianists, etc., this is your place to learn about the chords, forms, and rhythmic patterns you’ll need to accompany melody players in a stylistic manner.
If you would like to take private lessons from Ralph, please contact him here.

Ralph Gordon
Ralph Gordon
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