The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling

Traditional Scottish Fiddle Music

Faculty & Staff ~ Summer 2018
John Turner, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
John Turner

Dr John Turner:  Director & Senior Instructor - Weeks 0, 1 & 2
John Turner, 10-time National Scottish Fiddling Champion, recording artist, composer and educator, founded The Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling in 1984.  He is a versatile entertainer who has performed throughout the United States, Canada and the British Isles, offering, wherever he goes, workshops in fiddling from the golden era of Scottish traditional music - the 18th century.  Dr Turner is President of Fiddletree Music, Inc. which produces his recordings and publishes his compositions, for he is a prolific composer of melodies in the Scottish style. Turner also takes a keen interest in the history of the music and of the period and his classes are invariably peppered with a variety of historical facts and anecdotes.  The subject matter of Dr John's Special Topic this year is:
The Comfortable Jig
Scottish style jigs can be exciting, relaxing and fun both to play and listen to, all at the same time!  Dr. Turner will demonstrate to and work with participants, using both traditional and original contemporary jigs, with the aim of finding the right timing and emphasis to maximize the enjoyment of jigs by players, dancers,
and listeners.

Photo by Margy Fabling

Mari Black, faculty member, Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddle School
Mari Black
Mari Black, PhD:  Week 1
Mari Black, multi-style violinist, composer and teacher, was the 2013 & 2015 National Scottish Fiddling Champion (runner-up in 2016) and the 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion (Scotland).  We welcomed Mari to the faculty of Jink & Diddle for the first time in 2015.  Mari  is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing, engaging stage presence, and commitment to bringing people together through music have made her a favourite with students and audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, she is a consumate performer and teacher, accomplished in a variety of fiddling styles.  As always, Mari has aces galore up her sleeve - and she is ready and willing to share them with you again this summer:

Fancy That (Up): Building Variations On Your Favorite Tunes
There are lots of good tunes out there, but what really makes a tune great is how you play it!  Your personal style, your choices of bowing and ornaments, your phrasing and groove….and, of course, your variations!  Special and unique variations can elevate a tune into an iconic, ear-catching piece, but how do you strike that balance between creating something adventurous and distinctive while still respecting the shape and sound of the original tune?  We’ll dig into the musical architecture that goes into constructing great variations and get to the bottom of that question.  We’ll explore some classic variation sets in the Scottish repertoire (Hint: think Skinner), and then construct some of our own using the strategies of the masters.  You’ll leave with a bag full of techniques and tricks for how to build your own versions of any of your favorite tunes!

Dial In the Style: Strathspeys!
Scottish and Cape Breton fiddling are the two styles that are home to the mighty strathspey — but their two approaches to this iconic tune form sound so different!  What makes a strathspey sound “Scottish” vs. “Cape Breton”, and how can we fiddlers make that distinction clear in our playing?  We’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of how to put two authentic stylistic spins on classic strathspeys, dialing in the exact musical choices you can make to transform any strathspey in two different directions, deepening your stylistic authenticity in both styles at once!  Be prepared to learn a tune (or two, or five….)

Maura Shawn Scanlin:  Week 1
Maura Shawn Scanlin, raised in Boone NC, currently lives in New Haven, CT, and is pursuing her Masters degree in Violin Performance from the Yale School of Music, where she studies violin with Ani Kavafian. Maura received her Bachelors degree in May 2017 from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studied with Lucy Chapman. Maura’s classical endeavors are particularly focused on chamber music; her collaborations with various chamber ensembles have led her to the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and the Banff Chamber Music Residency.   In addition to classical music, Maura plays a variety of fiddle styles, ranging from traditional folk to contemporary improvisatory music.  Particularly well-versed in traditional Scottish and Irish music, Maura has had the opportunity to compete in the world’s premiere Scottish fiddling competitions.  She is a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Champion (2010, 2012) and was the 2013 winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship in Perthshire, Scotland.  Through her studies, collaborations and performances, Maura hopes to preserve an appreciation for live acoustic music of all styles.

Music of the Scottish composer James Oswald:

“Serenata No. 1 in G,” a lecture/demonstration class
Photo by Louise Bichan

Maura Shawn Scanlin
Maura Shawn Scanlin
Tim Macdonald:  Week 1
Tim Macdonald, 2014 National Scottish Fiddling Champion, is a regular performer, composer, and teacher of Scottish-Baroque music.  He, Mari and Maura Shawn were three of only eight players invited to compete in the last Glenfiddich competition in Scotland in 2015.  Tim also plays the viola d’amore, harpsichord, and concertina - and his enthusiasm for Scottish culture is infectious!  In 2015 he was awarded the Weinberg Research Fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago for a project which re-examined the performance of 18th-century Scottish music.  Tim's experience as a performer, dance musician and, even more importantly, as a dancer will inform his leadership of those who would like to develop or improve their skills in playing for Scottish Country Dance.  But more than that, Tim's keen interest in history and the social context of the music allows him to offer a broad spectrum of interesting and varied topics in his classes.  Here's what he has in store for you in 2018:
A First Look at Robert Mackintosh's Third Collection
This tune-heavy, 60-minute session (bring your fiddles!) will go through some of the highlights of our collection for the year and explain how it integrates with Mackintosh's life and other work.
A Slee and Pawky Art: Refining your Technique
In this 2-day / 90-minute theme pod, we'll review the easily-forgotten fundamentals of good violin playing: proper posture and position, precise left hand work, and reliable tone production. With that foundation established, we'll explore some aspects of technique your classical teacher would never tell you, but that will improve your fiddling across the board. Take-home etude handouts will be provided.
Playing for Dance Parts I & II
A Musical Cadence in their Steps: Marching Like an 18th Century Soldier
The Air: Reviving the Art of 'Listening Music'
A four-day (1 hour) series with the titles above will begin by covering all you need to know about "Playing for Scottish Country Dancing" but will continue into related subject matter; Tim hopes to expand your understanding of marches and quicksteps
 ...Photo by Francis Dunham

Tim Macdonald
Tim Macdonald
Joanna Johnson, reigning National Scottish Fiddling Champion
Joanna Johnson
Joanna Johnson:  Week 1
Joanna Johnson, 2017 US National Scottish Fiddle Champion (and 2014 runner-up), is a native of Central Wisconsin and joins our faculty for the first time this year. Raised in the traditional eighteenth century style of Scottish Fiddling, Joanna brings a passion and grace to the stage through well loved traditional Scottish tunes as well as her own compositions in the Scottish style.  Being an avid composer herself, Joanna’s tunes won 1st and 3rd places in the 2017 Scottish F.I.R.E tune writing competition. She has performed extensively with her family band, MPK Christian Celtic band, across the United States as a fiddler, singer, songwriter, and dancer. In addition to Scottish Fiddling, Joanna is also a violinist in the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and is concertmistress of the Wausau Symphony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Violin Concentration in 2013 from Crown College in Minnesota. Joanna continues to study under Professor Steven Bjella at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and has been teaching private lessons in classical violin and Scottish Fiddling for the past ten years.  In her Special Topic and Theme Pod classes, Joanna will explore 

Crafting the Perfect March / Strathspey / Reel Set
This 60-minute class will focus on creating top notch sets for competition and or performance. We will talk about how to choose a winning combination of tunes, followed by ways to add your own personal touch of variation to make the set unique and exciting. Finally, we will take a look at practice techniques for a polished, worry free (and enjoyable!) performance. 
Tune Writing and Basic Harmonization
This pair of 90-minute classes will offer building blocks for writing stellar tunes. Not only will you learn how to create memorable melodies, but you'll learn how easy it can be to harmonize them! We will have opportunities to write our own tunes and add our own chords.
Photo by Vince Elmhorst

Ralph Gordon:  Week 1 - Bass & Cello
Ralph Gordon is a uniquely versatile musician, bringing more than 45 years of musical experience to the bass and cello. He is equally at home in folk, old time, bluegrass, chamber group settings and all styles of music for dancers.  Ralph returns to Jink & Diddle in 2017 for his fourth year on faculty.  He brings a conservatory background and decades of experience to the assignment of teaching the accompaniment of Scottish dance music.  Ralph is more than a match for the task.  He is a Dance Musician Extraordinaire!  Ralph's Special Topic title for this year will be:
Harmonic Minor Scale ...

Ralph Gordon
Ralph Gordon
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse
Zach Lemhouse:  Week 1 - "Fiddle for the Less-Experienced Player"
Zach Lemhouse is a versatile, classically-trained musician who has diversified into the traditions of Scottish, Irish, Old time and bluegrass.  Joining us on staff for the fourth year in a row, he will utilize his zeal for teaching to make Scottish music accessible to beginning players - a task he has performed with much enthusiasm and to great acclaim at previous sessions!  In addition, it might be comforting to note that Zach is also experienced in violin set-up and repair and will be on hand prepared to deal with instrumental emergencies.  We are delighted to inform you and to congratulate Zach on his being awarded the Outstanding American History Teacher of the Year Award for the State of South Carolina by the Daughters of Colonial Wars.  For your edification in 2018, Zach's Special Topic class will undoubtedly be as interesting as ever!

Things You Want to Know about Scottish Fiddling but Were Afraid to Ask:
This will be an extension of Zach's daily group sessions in which he will look at basics not covered in regular classes as well as other tips, tricks and techniques.

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