I recently discovered a wonderfully simple book for learning fiddle fundamentals titled Once Upon a String. Geared towards children, I also see a great value in this book for us older folks who, unlike youngsters, somehow seem to want to complicate everything, and learning the fiddle is no exception.
Written by a passionate ambassador of Canadian fiddle and a Clinical Psychologist, Shamma Sabir has put together a fiddle primer of the basic elements necessary to get off to a good solid start when learning the fiddle. She uses her fiddle experience and knowledge, along with her understanding of neurocognitive development, to convey and teach important fiddle concepts. A valuable resource for a beginner, Shamma’s lessons can also be useful for anyone who has missed a few techinical steps along the way or as a source for basic review at those times when it seems like everything is going backwards.
Once Upon a String covers beginning fiddle technique in an easy to understand, step-by-step fashion and includes: pictures illustrating how to hold the violin and bow; practice tips to reinforce learning; checklists for key concepts; basic rhythmic patterns for waltzes, jigs, and reels; major scales orientation; basic theory as it applies to fiddle playing; and more.
Table of Contents
Once Upon a String is great book for younger folks just learning the fiddle (Parents and grandparents take note!), and any beginning adult navigating as a self-learner. With all the information available on the internet, I know my head sometimes begins to spin when I start reading articles, watching YouTube videos, and asking questions on forums, even when trying to learn something basic about playing the fiddle. Shamma’s presentation is non-complicated, straight-forward and effective when it comes to learning or reviewing fiddle basics. In my few days of reviewing this book, I have picked up some helpful information and tips which I have incorporated into my learning. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? 🙂 It’s a lot easier when the teacher knows how to teach and keeps it simple.