What is Fiddleheads?

Fiddleheads is a program of Young Tradition Vermont, hosted by Vermont Violins and the Burlington Violin Shop. It is dedicated to bringing kids together to learn and enjoy traditional music in all its forms in a low-key, non-competitive, session. Kids of all levels are invited to join a monthly play-together, led by a master fiddler or musician recruited from the professional traditional music community of Vermont and her neighbors.

The full session runs about 2 1/2 hours monthly on Saturday mornings. Depending on attendance, the group is split into two mini-sessions, one designed for younger or more beginners the other is a bit more advanced. Kids often come for either, some come for both! There is a nominal charge of $5 per session.

During the session, a leader will teach a few tunes by ear….they take it very slow! If you’ve never learned a tune by ear (that is, without sheet music) you’ll find this a great way to start learning. Often, the leader will send sheet music out to participants after the session too. Tunes are selected from a range of genres: Quebecois, Cape Breton, Irish, Scottish or anyplace where fiddle is featured.

Kids can come as they please…they don’t need to commit to coming for any term or semester. Tunes may be repeated to develop mastery, but each time can be a first time too!

For the long-term Fiddleheads participant, Young Tradition Vermont offers programs for more advanced players too. High Schooler's can participate in the Young Tradition Touring Group in which kids take tunes, often learned in Fiddleheads, and brings them to a performance level. The Touring Group offers travel opportunities that bring the players into contact with kids around the world who share the love of traditional music!

Want to try it out first? No Problem! If you child is interested, but nervous, s/he is welcome to come and attend Fiddleheads as a listener. Almost all who do this wish they brought their violin and return next month with huge enthusiasm.

Vermont Violins and the Burlington Violin Shop have hosted Fiddleheads for close to twenty years and it has brought countless young fiddlers into the world of traditional music. We have been thrilled to join Young Tradition Vermont in the goal of keeping the traditions alive and passing them on to the next generation. For more information, please check out the Young Tradition Vermont webpage: https://youngtraditionvermont.org/2012/06/fiddleheads/

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Oren Kronick
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Although the modern conception of the violin has been pretty firmly in place for over a century, there was a significant era of innovation in violin and bow making in the early 19th century.  During this period, music was changing dramatically, moving out of the early Baroque era into newer forms of music which put new demands on the instruments and the bows.  A need for more power and response, eliciting fuller voices became essential, and violins were evolving to meet this need.  Bows were now being charged with more legato, long-note playing, and the music was written to accommodate the larger opera houses being built throughout Europe.

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I have played some pretty crazy music as a violist.  Music that looked more like a scientific analysis on the page than notes.  Music that used my bow as a percussive instrument rather than a string instrument.  Music that asked me to make sounds I’m pretty sure my instrument will never do again.  As a performer it was fun, challenging, exhilarating!  But if I were asked to sit in the audience – would I have sat in that audience?  What was the goal? Why would I want to go to a contemporary music concert as a parent of a string instrument student – and should I take my child?

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GuidesNathan Smith
Why Carbon-Fiber?

“Why should I choose a carbon-fiber bow?”

“Isn’t a wood bow the standard, especially for a wooden instrument?”

Whereas wooden bows have been used on strings instruments as early as the Islamic civilization in the 10th century, carbon-fiber bows only began to appear a few decades after high-tensile strength carbon-fiber was invented. CodaBow founder Stan Prosen had developed some of the earliest carbon-fiber parts with inventor Dr. Roger Bacon and had found in his early research a profound resonance in the new material. After years of testing and creating prototypes, early CodaBow bows had entered the market, and other music companies had begun developing their own versions to compete. Today, dozens of companies produce carbon-fiber bows in a large range of styles, price ranges, and instruments. With so many options on the market…

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Massimo Lucchi described the relationship between the bow and the violin this way: the bow produces the vibrations, the violin acts as an amplifier and transmits the vibrations.  Coming from a bow making family, Massimo emphasizes the importance of the bow.  Interestingly, professional players often converge with Massimo’s perspective over time, choosing an instrument and then a bow to develop the tone, dynamic range, and depth of the instrument.

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History of the LucchiMeter

“I often happened to be working on two sticks that, when first examined, appeared to share the same characteristics, but ended up as bows with completely different qualities. This was the eternal dilemma – how to choose the most suitable wood.

They say that the famous violin makers of the past made great progress by noting that the speed with which wood propagated sound was a fundamental element in checking the quality of the sound.

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You’ve just picked up your child’s new instrument, everyone is smiling, your child promises to practice, everything is great! Two weeks later, the instrument is collecting dust, and the word practice brings tears and tantrums. What went wrong???

Keep it simple & small:

Take 1-2 measures, or a line, and have them play it carefully 5 times. Reward, then move on to another small piece and repeat.

Routine – same time and place each…

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Auditions can be scary! But there are a lot of things you can do to prepare yourself for the best experience. You can learn a lot about yourself and your playing by performing an audition. It can and should be a good experience.

Remember: not all auditions are “screeners”. There is no failing these auditions: your seat in an orchestra, for example, might be allocated according to the audition (not whether you get a seat) and it is an opportunity for the Music Director to get a sense of your capacities as he makes musical decisions about repertoire and seating. You want to get an appropriate seat: being placed beyond your capacities, or below, can be a bummer.

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If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.

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The sound post plays an important role transferring the vibrations from the top plate to the back plate. The sound post is fit to both the back and top plates, and is precisely placed in a position relative to the bridge and the bass bar. Because the top plates and back plates are curved, the sound post will fit properly, with all points touching, in only a small area. To get the optimal sound, the sound post will have to fit properly, and be the proper length so the post puts enough pressure on the top and back plates to stay upright and support the softer spruce top.

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