Extras

I have taken up the fiddle and a whole new world has opened.

Growing up as a child, our family rented a home that fortunately came with an old upright piano. I took lessons at the Catholic school and also took private lessons from an accomplished high school student. Music, along with art, was always a pervading influence on my life. I was mostly interested in Classical, with a side interest in folk. Opera was a real love. It seems that I was the only one in my immediate family with a deep love of music.

The piano was an outlet for my emotions. The choice of music I played for enjoyment, depended on the mood I was in that particular hour, and I would play for hours, until my wrists would swell and become uncomfortable.

Later in life, when I moved away from home, I never had regular access to a piano again. I took up guitar, it was easy to play and small enough to fit on a boat. It wasn’t until I was living on the boat in my middle years, that I discovered keyboards. Because of space limitations, I purchased a shortened keyboard, a Technics 1000, and discovered the fun of digital music. I had rythms, different instrument voices and a recording mechanism on the keyboard, which I could alter to suite my mood. When at anchor, I would plug the keyboard into the battery system on the boat and have my own private concert in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature. I never played it up on deck, as I didn’t want to intrude on the silence, but I played below, where I didn’t bother anyone, unless they were in close proximity.

Over the years, I have acquired a recorder, some irish whistles, a bodhran, and made a lap dulcimer from scratch and a harmonica. These instruments were just incidental fun things. I have an ear for music, so if I know where the notes are, I can usually play the instrument. My latest instrument is a mandolin. It has the same tuning as the fiddle. Decided it would be good fingering practice for the fiddle.
I had always wanted to play the fiddle. I deliberately never took up the violin because I thought it would be too difficult and that I would never be happy with the way I played.

As I grow older, I get a little more flexible and finding an inexpensive Chinese violin on eBay, made me change my mind. That violin led to others and as I upgraded my violins, along with many hours of practice, my playing became a little more enjoyable to my own ears.

My desire to learn led to some wonderful adventures which in time I will tell on these pages. This summer I went to Cape Breton to the Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music to learn from some of the best fiddlers in the world. I went armed with cameras and video as well as fiddle. Met some wonderful people and found a wonderful part of the world that considers the fiddle a tradition where 1 out of 3 play the fiddle.