The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling

Traditional Scottish Fiddle Music

Focus Classes - 2021

— Class Descriptions —


Focus Classes                                                                              Click here to download a description list from the Document Library

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. [EDT]


Three nights each week, you’ll meet in your Focus Classes.  These classes will be the heart of Online Jink and they will give you a chance to hone your Scottish Fiddling skills by exploring different types of traditional tunes (i.e. jigs, reels, strathspeys, airs, marches, etc.), learning characteristic Scottish bowing and ornamentation styles, developing groove and dance feel, discovering fun new tunes, and more!  The Focus Classes will be divided by level or interest and there will be a class to excite and challenge everyone.  Class attendance will be by self-selection (i.e. YOU choose what’s right for YOU) and students will be welcome to switch freely among focus groups during the online sessions.  Choose from the following:


Beginner — Instructor:  Dr John Turner

This class is for less-experienced players who are just starting to find their way around the instrument but who really want to get fiddling!  Using a repertoire of fun Scottish tunes, you will learn about hand shapes and finger patterns, basic bowing techniques, form and patterning in traditional Scottish music, as well as many other skills that will help you start to develop ease and comfort in your fiddling.  To get the most out of this class, we recommend that students already be able to play at least three tunes on your instrument — any style / genre / tempo is great.

Each of the six Beginner class sessions will address basic techniques and explore multiple ways to help your tunes sound more Scottish.  You will work on style, ornamentation and interpretation and learn some basic music theory.


Intermediate — Instructor:  Joanna Johnson

This class is for fiddlers who are excited to start developing their “authentic Scottish fiddle accent.”  You will learn about the distinctive Scottish tune types (i.e. strathspeys, jigs, reels, airs) and discover how to start dressing them up with characteristic bowings and ornamentation.  You will also work on some foundational techniques such as good sound production and left hand positioning that can help you find more ease and comfort on your instrument.  Participants taking this class will find it useful to have a basic fluency with getting around the fiddle (i.e. finding notes and basic bowing gestures) but the class will move at a relaxed pace so that everyone has time to feel successful. Prior experience with Scottish fiddling specifically is great, but by no means required to have a good time.


Each Intermediate class will focus on a “tune type”:

      Tues 7/27 — Tune type: Airs

      Thurs 7/29 — Tune type: Strathspeys

      Fri 7/30 — Tune type: Reels

      Tues 8/3 — Tune type: Jigs

      Thurs 8/5 — Tune type: Marches

      Fri 8/6 — Topic: Building tune sets

             Still have questions?  Joanna will field them in a closing Q&A session.


Advanced — Instructor:  Maura Shawn Scanlin

This class is for more experienced fiddlers who are excited to dive into the essence of traditional Scottish fiddling.  We’ll examine different tune types in detail, work on honing your stylistic bowing and ornamentation choices and explore lots of repertoire!  We will also pay special attention to developing tempo and groove” in each tune feel and work on more advanced aspects of technique like nuanced phrasing and dynamics and expressive tone choices. Since we will cover quite a lot of material (this is a faster-paced class), we recommend that students already have comfort and fluency moving around the instrument, as well as some prior experience with Scottish fiddling specifically.


Advanced classes will usually focus on a “theme tune type” and an “artistic topic”:

Tues 7/27 — Theme tune type: Strathspeys

Artistic topic: Control of the Bow

       Thurs 7/29 — Theme tune type: Marches

Artistic topic: Phrasing & differentiating marches from strathspeys

                            Fri 7/30 — Masterclass #1: Opportunity to perform in front of peers and receive comments

       Tues 8/3 — Theme tune type: Reels

Artistic topic: Groove

       Thurs 8/5 — Theme tune type: Slow Airs

Artistic topic: Theory, chords & how they can help us be musical!

                            Fri 8/6 — Masterclass #2: Opportunity to perform in front of peers and receive comments


Since the advanced class is geared towards musicians who are comfortable performing, we will utilize the Masterclass sessions to provide opportunities to perform for your peers and receive comments. Masterclasses are a great way to learn by watching others perform and hearing the feedback. Think "private lesson" but with a small audience!


Depending on the size of the class, each student may have a chance to perform OR request the opportunity to perform. A performance can be one tune, a whole MSR or whatever you wish! You will not be "required" to perform, should you wish not to do so.


Fiddling for Classical Players — Instructor:  Mari Black

This class is specially designed for experienced violinists who have always wanted to explore the world of fiddling.  We will discover how to harness the technical facility and musical knowledge you already have and use it to inject an authentic “Scottish fiddle sound” into your playing.  We’ll work on how to shape your tone, ornament your left-hand, and pattern your bowing in a traditional Scottish manner — and, of course, learn some wonderful tunes central to the Scottish fiddle repertoire along the way.  Tunes will be taught from sheet music, so we’ll also be working on how to stylistically interpret the written instructions of the great Scottish fiddle composers from the eighteenth century to the modern day.  Each class will also include a short time for those who want to perform for their classmates and get some personalized feedback (i.e. a mini “Scottish master class”).  This class is designed for experienced violinists who have no trouble navigating their instrument, but requires no prior experience with any kind of fiddling.  Come in curious, leave ready to “jam” with the fiddlers!

Each class will focus on a stylistic topic that is central to capturing an authentic Scottish sound:

            Tues 7/27 — Capturing DRIVE

                                    Reels & Jigs, the“toe-tapping” tunes

            Thurs 7/29 — Creating SNAP & SWEEP

                                    Strathspeys, Marches and how to differentiate them

            Fri 7/30 — Building PERFORMANCE SETS

                                    How to create an engaging March-Strathspey-Reel (MSR) medley

            Tues 8/3 — Exploring DANCE SETS

                                    How to build interesting medleys & develop a strong dance feel for

                                    Reels, Jigs, and Strathspeys

            Thurs 8/5 — Developing FLOW

                                    Traditional styling and expression in Airs & Slow Strathspeys

            Fri 8/6 — Bringing it ALL TOGETHER!


Accompaniment — Instructor:  Ralph Gordon

This 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 - and stylish! - manner.  We’ll work  especially on ensemble skills, as well as developing your groove and time feel so you can make your melody players sound great and your dancers feel awesome.


                                                                                      Click here to download a description list from the Document Library

PayPal Logo

About    |   Faculty   |   Contact Us

Facebook button via