So you're a violinist thinking about trying out folk violin. Here are some reasons why you should totally try it out:
Playing traditional music keeps the tradition alive. It's a living tradition, passed down from one generation to the next.
Folk music is participatory - it's meant for anyone who wants to listen, dance around, or even sing along! Even if you have never played folk before you will probably recognise some of the most popular folk tunes and be able to quickly join in, for Scarborough Fair and Greensleeves.
Folk music includes a lot of improvisation aka changing the melodies, phrasing, and ornamentation of tunes as you go along - cool!
Traditional folk music is not just for old people! You don't have to be old to play it or listen to it; plenty of young people readily embrace traditional folk music, going to sessions across the country and forming their own groups across the generations.
It has its own set of techniques, including ornaments not found in Classic violin such as cuts, taps, rolls, it's own style of finger vibrato, and even a different bow hold! A great way to expand your violin ability.
You can easily find sheet music online for many popular folk tunes. www.thesession.org is my go to. You can also learn folk music by ear, for example from YouTube. That means you learn a new tune by listening to someone else play it and then copy what they do.
There are many types of folk music, and many different styles of fiddle playing. Some people focus on traditional Irish or Scottish music, but in fact, many countries across Europe and the world have their own fiddle traditions. Pick a country and see what you find!
It's all about connecting with others who love their instruments/the tradition of folk music as much as you do —and this connection to others becomes what makes being within the folk scene something truly special.
Phewph! If you're not convinced by now I don't know what to tell you! Give it a go. You'll thank me later.
If you would like to access personalised folk fiddle guidance, contact me here at learnhowtomusic.com. I would love to hear from you.
And while you're here, why not check out some of my other blog posts about the violin?