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Oct 19, 2019 - 10:51:59 AM
8 posts since 6/6/2019

Has anyone been to Live Oak Fiddle Camp in Texas?
It says it's for "advanced" players, and I wonder if it's too advanced for me. I'd like to hear from someone who's been there.

Oct 21, 2019 - 8:31:35 AM

4260 posts since 6/23/2007

Make sure they are playing the fiddling style you are interested in. If they are playing the "Texas" style Benny Thommason and Johnny Gimble played, I would not attend unless I had quite a bit of experience playing that specific style of fiddling.

Oct 21, 2019 - 7:37:04 PM

32 posts since 9/25/2012

I've been anxiously watching this topic for responses. Live Oak Fiddle Camp is held pretty close to where I live. A few years ago Stuart Duncan was an instructor there. I have no idea what kind of instructor he is, but he is my favorite fiddle player. I'm still a beginner, but I was even more of a beginner back then. I was really tempted to try and go, but I was intimidated that everyone would be far better than me. I'm a pretty decent guitar player and I've gone to camps in the past where I'd sign up for the intermediate track, and there were people in there who were definitely what I would consider beginners, so you can't just go by online descriptions to determine the level people are really at. Attending this camp has been one of the "carrots" I've been dangling over myself as motivation to improve my playing.

As to Dick Hauser's response - they definitely seem to always have a Texas/contest style fiddler there, and I know Heidi that runs the camp plays in that style, but the other instructors cover bluegrass, celtic, and old-time.

Edited by - lonestar_shawn on 10/21/2019 19:37:51

Oct 22, 2019 - 8:39:30 AM

4260 posts since 6/23/2007

One of the best incentives to improve a persons fiddle playing is for them to record themselves playing a tune. Solo or with just rhythm accompaniment.
Playing and recording along with a live recording of the music doesn't work as well. The recorded music tends to hide your problems.

I wouldn't go to a workshop unless fiddlers were separated in separate groups for beginner, intermediate, and possibly advanced intermediate. Unless this happens, most attendees will not be satisfied unless they are just there to jam.

Nov 2, 2019 - 6:02:25 AM

8 posts since 6/6/2019

Thank you for the replies. I sent an e-mail to the contact address on their website, but got no response. It's near me, too, Shawn. I'd like to go.

Nov 2, 2019 - 6:04:05 AM

8 posts since 6/6/2019

And I watched some of their camp clips on twitter or facebook or youtube, and they were playing Red Wing (which I can play)

Nov 2, 2019 - 6:19:17 AM
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130 posts since 8/12/2012

My opinion is that one improves rapidly by playing/rubbing shoulders with musicians who are better than themselves. You should go.

Nov 2, 2019 - 7:58:42 AM
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689 posts since 4/20/2008

I have not been/have no personal knowledge. Looking at the staff, the teachers are quite talented, from a variety of styles, and seem to be among those modern players that are pushing the boundaries of the traditional music that they have been exposed to.

Based on this sentence I found on facebook, "instruction is for advanced players ages 16 and up who want to expand their styles they play." It sounds like you will sort of get the mix of styles that seems to be the trendy thing at the moment. Listening to some of the performances given there, it sounded that way also.

It does not appear to be a Texas-styled event, but I would not be surprised if jazz popped into some of the tunes.

Would it be a mistake to go? Probably not.  In this case, advanced probably means the speed at which they teach, but typically folks do not get stuff right away, anyway, so buy a good recorder and let it run non-stop during your classes.  Then use it for decades later, if that is the case.  I still have recordings I made in 1990 I listen to all the time in an attempt to squeeze that stuff into my shrinking brain.

Edited by - gapbob on 11/02/2019 08:00:35

Nov 2, 2019 - 10:20:42 AM

8 posts since 6/6/2019


Nov 4, 2019 - 10:27:39 AM
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2524 posts since 9/13/2009

Originally posted by Tabbycat

Has anyone been to Live Oak Fiddle Camp in Texas?
It says it's for "advanced" players, and I wonder if it's too advanced for me. I'd like to hear from someone who's been there.

Depends what "too advanced for me" means?

Having ran an adult camp, as well as various workshops;  I want to point out that - student levels, such as "Advanced" - is a bit difficult to universally define; and evaluate. (esp self-evaluate). Often these are about average student level designation; not player levels... so not as advanced as some might think. 

These group workshop format, it's difficult for instructors to tailor a class for single "advanced" definition; students skill set and learning style can vary widely. Instructors tend to try adapt, balance to who is there. They might cover certain unfamiliar aspects, or cover so-called advanced concepts; that some might struggle to keep up; some won't easily "get" in the short time frame (typically won't be alone). But these can still be worthwhile, the info is still valuable; rather than goal to master the lesson, simply to absorb, giving direction or something useable for future. (encourage recording). IMO, most folks of all levels pickup some things useful to them from advanced classes.

More importantly though, they often get something more from these camps; offers another aspect than just technical instruction in a class; as beardog stated:

My opinion is that one improves rapidly by playing/rubbing shoulders with musicians who are better than themselves.

That is what some folks discover about these camps... it's the overall residential camp environment; for a few days of immersion surrounded by the music and musicians; discussions, questions, within small class; but along with knowledge, pointers, info gained from informal interaction, discussions and playing music with staff, as well as other students, peers - outside of class. The overall experience that provides a positive attitude, motivation, inspiration, regardless of level.

That said, these camp formats are not a good match for everyone; their expectations, demands and/or learning style.

Nov 4, 2019 - 3:47:07 PM

8 posts since 6/6/2019

Thanks, all y'all!
Here's my background...
I picked up a pawnshop fiddle when I was about 40 years old, and at age 48 (I'm 63 now) I started "teaching myself" (I did play oboe in high school and I took guitar lessons in college, and I can play the recorder). After a few years, I decided to get some lessons from a "real teacher" who had to correct my self-taught bad habits.
Now I play in two church orchestras: second violin in one, and only violin in the other.
I read music and I'm comfortable in most keys (not so much when you get up to five sharps or five flats).
I know enough guitar chords to read a guitar player's hands in the usual bluegrass keys unless he uses a capo or plays up the neck.
I play fiddle and harmonica in a bluegrass-y gospel group that plays at local assisted living homes.
I go to the monthly Bay Area Bluegrass Association gathering where I learn in the "slow jam" room.
I can play some standards like Red Wing, Liberty, Old Joe Clark, Bury Me Beneath the Willow, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Ashokan Farewell, Harvest Home.
I cannot vibrato! That is something I want to learn!
I have done a little bit of third position stuff, but I like first position best.
I also own (and am beginning to learn to play) a mandolin, an upright bass, and a hammered dulcimer.

What do y'all think? Could I benefit from this fiddle camp, or would I be ridiculously out of my depth?

Edited by - Tabbycat on 11/04/2019 15:48:38

Nov 4, 2019 - 4:13:18 PM



9673 posts since 12/2/2007

Not exactly on topic, but I played bassoon for a few years in junior high school, and just last night I was thinking how ridiculously hard double reed instruments are to play!
I'd listen to the others and just go if it interests you. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

Nov 4, 2019 - 6:44:57 PM



4084 posts since 6/22/2007

For me it essentially boils down to money, time and the value of the camp. If you have the disposable income to spend and the time to give to attend AND you feel that the camp might be a benefit to you, by all means GO!  And go without hesitation or regrets. Let the only thing holding you back be an "act of God" that prevents you from going.

It takes courage to get out of your comfort zone - real courage! And, especially if you are doing this on your own without a friend. You will likely have some challenges while you are there, but you will also likely have some incredible experiences that will live with you for a long time.

Good luck! Let us know how it went.

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