Choosing an Online Fiddle Course – Part 2

In Part 1 of Choosing an Online Fiddle Course, I wrote about ArtistWorks Fiddle with Darol Anger and Learn Old Time Fiddle – The Brainjo Method. After looking closely at both methods, I signed up for Learn Old Time Fiddle, but after a week decided it was not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Dr. Josh Turknett’s Brainjo Method, first adapted to playing the banjo, makes a heck of a lot of sense, but his fiddle lessons website is rather new and still growing. I found the lessons rather brief, and there were no loops for learning what was being presented, so each time I wanted to repeat a section of the lesson, I had to put my bow down and go back in the video. This was disruptive for me.

During the course of this week, I stumbled upon some very helpful videos from Fiddlehed on YouTube. Fiddlehed is Jason Kleinberg. He lives in San Francisco and has been teaching the fiddle for over two decades. He has toured the US and Europe with several bands and has composed music for tv, radio and film.

I checked out Jason’s website and his free lessons and decided to sign up for a month so I could “take a look under the hood”.

Fiddlehed Online Fiddle Lessons


The Fiddlehed lessons are a combination of old school learning by ear combined with the tools of video, mp3 audio and notation. When he first started teaching, Jason put together a book of exercises and tunes called Fiddlehed. It slowly evolved as he learned how people learn a new skill. He moved away from the book and started getting people to learn and play entirely by ear.

He started making videos which eventually were to become part of the Fiddlehed site, a place where students could have a complete learning experience. He continued to build the course with lessons on tunes, technique and practice, and is still adding material.

The Fiddlehed Philosophy

In Jason’s words from the Fiddlehed Website…

Students learn everything they need to know about playing the fiddle through tunes. Instead of forcing students to first do something that may not be useful or fun, FiddleHed draws students in by teaching tunes and then showing how music works within the context of those tunes.

So if you’re learning Swallowtail Jig, you’ll learn about the E dorian scale as well as string crossing with the bow. That way you naturally see the connection between the tunes and technique. This makes the work of practicing necessary exercises and scales more fun because you immediately see how they are applied in the music you are playing.

FiddleHed also emphasizes good practice habits so that your daily sessions are consistent, productive and fun. That way you will continue to have small successes each time you play.

Remember: You are a musician if you play every day.

From what I have seen in his YouTube videos, his free stuff and now his paid website, I think I am going to really benefit from Jason’s teaching style and methods on his website. Some time during or at the end of this first month, I will post my experience in a review. Maybe, I’ll become a Fiddlehed, too!

Visit the Fiddlehed website

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