The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling

Traditional Scottish Fiddle Music

Faculty & Staff ~ Summer 2018
John Turner, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
John Turner

Dr John Turner:  Director & Senior Instructor - Weeks 0 & 1
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.  The subject matter of Dr John's Special Topic this year is currently under review(!)

Photo by Margy Fabling

Mari Black, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
Mari Black
Mari Black, PhD:  Week 1
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 she is ready and willing to share them with you again this summer:

Fancy That (Up): Building Variations On Your Favorite Tunes
There are lots of good tunes out there, but what really makes a tune great is how you play it!  Your personal style, your choices of bowing and ornaments, your phrasing and groove….and, of course, your variations!  Special and unique variations can elevate a tune into an iconic, ear-catching piece, but how do you strike that balance between creating something adventurous
and distinctive while still respecting the shape and sound of the original tune?  We’ll dig into the musical architecture that goes into constructing great variations and get to the bottom of that question.  We’ll explore some classic variation sets in the Scottish repertoire (Hint: think Skinner), and then construct some of our own using the strategies of the masters.  You’ll leave with a bag full of techniques and tricks for how to build your own versions of any of your favorite tunes!

Dial In the Style: Strathspeys!
Scottish and Cape Breton fiddling are the two styles that are home to the mighty strathspey — but their two approaches to this iconic tune form sound so different!  What makes a strathspey sound “Scottish” 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 two authentic stylistic spins on classic strathspeys, dialing in the exact musical choices you can make to transform any strathspey in two different directions, deepening your stylistic authenticity in both styles at once!  Be prepared to learn a tune (or two, or five….)

Tim Macdonald:  Week 1
Tim Macdonald, 2014 National Scottish Fiddling Champion, is a regular performer, composer, and teacher of Scottish-Baroque music.  He, Mari and Maura Shawn were three of only eight players invited to compete in the last Glenfiddich competition in Scotland in 2015.  Tim also plays the viola d’amore, harpsichord, and concertina - and his enthusiasm for Scottish culture is infectious!  In 2015 he was awarded the Weinberg Research Fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago for a project which re-examined the performance of 18th-century Scottish music.  Tim's experience as a performer, dance musician and, even more importantly, as a dancer will inform his leadership of those who would like to develop or improve their skills in playing for Scottish Country Dance.  But more than that, Tim's keen interest in history and the social context of the music allows him to offer a broad spectrum of interesting and varied topics in his classes.  What might he have in store for you in 2018?
  • A four-day (1 hour) Dance Series that will begin by covering all you need to know about "Playing for Scottish Country Dancing" but will continue into related subject matter; Tim hopes to expand your understanding of marches and quicksteps ...
  • A two-day (1.5 hour) Theme Pod which will ...
  • A one-hour Special Topic class which will be entitled ...
Photo by Francis Dunham

Joanna Johnson, reigning National Scottish Fiddling Champion
Joanna Johnson
Joanna Johnson:  Week 1
Joanna Johnson, 2017 US National Scottish Fiddle Champion (and 2014 runner-up), is a native of Central Wisconsin and joins our faculty for the first time this year. 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 won 1st and 3rd places in the 2017 Scottish F.I.R.E 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. Joanna continues to study under Professor Steven Bjella at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and has been teaching private lessons in classical violin and Scottish Fiddling for the past ten years.  For her Special Topic, Joanna will explore 
  • Crafting the Perfect March / Strathspey / Reel Set

Photo by Vince Elmhorst

Ralph Gordon:  Week 1 - 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 2017 for his fourth 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!  Ralph's Special Topic title for this year has not yet been defined.  Check back soon to find out what he plans to address!

Ralph Gordon
Ralph Gordon
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse:  Week 1 - "Fiddle for the Less-Experienced Player"
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 fourth year in a row, he 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!  In addition, it might be comforting to note that Zach is also experienced in violin set-up and repair and will be on hand prepared to deal with instrumental emergencies.  For your edification in 2018, Zach's Special Topic class will be as interesting as ever though he has not as yet shared its title:

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