I am a long-time elementary teacher with a music background, but only started playing fiddle about five years ago. I'm am fortunate to have two great fiddle teachers in my life. I participate in a couple local jams each month (when not under a "Stay at Home Order"), and work a couple fiddle contests each year. Due to nerves, I'm not real into contesting, though I do enjoy the challenge, but what I do enjoy is supporting and encouraging the kids. So...
With the encouragement of those two teachers, and assuming I am able to get a grant, I am considering starting an after-school fiddle "club" at our school for 1st and 2nd graders in September 2021. I have spent the last six weeks filling a notebook with my ideas and those of others. At present, my plan is to teach tunes by ear (making tabs available for reference after they have learned the tune), and will only be teaching tunes in A for however long, to really cement those finger positions and develop their ears.
We will first start with tunes only on the A string such as Hot Cross Buns, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Boil the Cabbage (A part). We will then move to tunes on A and E like Camptown Races, You are My Sunshine, Twinkle, Cluck Old Hen, Angeline the Baker, Old French Waltz, etc. Next we will do A and D strings with Amazing Grace, and then on to tunes on D, A and E strings like Rubber Dolly and Old Joe Clark. Also on my list are Little Liza Jane, Cripple Creek, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Ol' Susannah, Buffalo Gals, and a few children's songs.
I would appreciate any more suggestions for simple tunes in A that would be appropriate for young children so I can build a solid continuum based on rhythm and finger patterns, etc. If I have the names, I can learn them off YouTube. If you have any other suggestions, I am open to hearing them--even if they are contrary to my present plan. I am still learning and it's not set in stone! Thank you!
Welcome,Lisa - good to hear from someone from my youth years (I was born and raised in Avenal, and remember the Superior Creamery with extreme fondness!).
I'm not a teacher nor even average fiddler, but I might suggest that you look at some of the early lessons from the Suzuki school - I took an intro to fiddle about 15 years ago and remember that they were simple, didn't really introduce reading music, and were actually quite fun.
Yes, Superior Dairy is still around, but just serving take-out at present.
And yes, Suzuki was the first thing I thought of because I know they teach by ear and emphasize listening to the music you're learning. That is something I strongly believe in. I have read every piece of Suzuki info I can get my hands on (without paying for it!) and have jotted down lots of their ideas. I will see a couple Suzuki teacher-friends this summer at fiddle camp and hope to pick their brains. I could never become a Suzuki teacher because the method seems to be so structured and absolute, and although I know it works, it just isn't for me.