Funding:    Provided by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts  

ASTA National Conference March 8-11, 2006   Kansas City, MO

 

With great appreciation, we sincerely honor and thank the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts for their generous grant of a $1000  towards this ground breaking project we have undertaken with an apprenticing middle school string teacher and students in Kansas City and ASTA's 2006 National Convention.                  -Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman

 

Individual Artist Mini-Grant Narrative Questions

1. PRIMARY GOAL

To increase opportunities for Dudley Laufman and Jacqueline Laufman, Two Fiddles, to develop their work and to reach a wider audience with their work.

2. SUMMARY

Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman, Two Fiddles, will be presenting New England fiddling and dance at the 2006 National Conference of the American String Teachers Association in Kansas City, MO, March 8-11. This includes mentoring a Kansas City area middle school string teacher who will teach fiddle tunes and dances to her 90 students, grade six to eight. Twenty of these students will join Two Fiddles during the conference workshop when conference participants, all string teachers, will take turns fiddling and dancing. The ASTA conference board found the Laufmans’ proposal to be exemplary and has since requested similar mentoring to be offered to local string teachers by other conference presenters.

Six years ago classical string teachers began to add fiddling styles and techniques to their curriculums when it was suggested by ASTA that their national membership should seek out local traditions to broaden their curriculum programs and thereby meet all of the National Standards of Music Education. Few teachers, however, knew enough about fiddling to teach it in a manner that maintains the authentic, essential sound of traditional fiddle music. Even fewer string teachers were aware that folk dances are the core inspiration for American fiddling, nor did they know the dances to teach them to their students.

It appears from further research that most string teachers have very few resources from which to teach authentic musical traditions. Most fiddling books and workshops, written and presented by classical violinists, currently present classical arrangements of fiddle tunes with some descriptions on fiddling techniques. After-school fiddle clubs are springing up around the country. It is questionable if there is encouragement or guidance to have the students truly fiddle and to play for social-community events or dances, as opposed to concerts.

The historical elements of folk music, an inherent part of all styles of fiddling, need to be available and taught to all string teachers. Janet Farrar-Royce, co-author with the Laufmans of the White Mountain Reel Companions book and CD sets for Violin, Viola and Cello/Bassline, is one teacher who is leading the way to keep the true sound and essence of traditional fiddling in mainstream string school programs. Through Ms. Farrar-Royce and the Laufmans’ efforts, teachers now have access to the real sound and to sheet written to truly represent that sound. Students can learn and dance to the same tunes that are in the string companion books by using the parent book, White Mountain Reel. Besides writing several feature articles for teacher journals about using fiddling in mainstream string programs and being a National ASTA Alternative Styles committee member, Jan has become a national and state conference clinician in high demand and teaches several graduate level courses on this same subject. The Journal of the American String Teachers Association, February 2005, described Janet Farrar-Royce as "… a leading authority on including fiddling in the mainstream string curriculum as a means to meet National Standards and create Rich Lessons. Her articles and reviews span professional, performing and educational concentrations. She gives frequent workshops for schools, colleges and conferences."

The Laufmans also want to promote community dance and folk music as an integral part of school string programs. It is their belief that as school and private studio string teachers include these into their curriculums, students would be drawn to play at community events beyond the concert setting, i.e., musical parties, festivals, coffee house sessions, jam sessions, festivals, fiddle contests, old home days, and old time square, contra and barn dances. Ms. Farrar-Royce concurs that the Laufmans have the ability to make a significant impact by making their unique and interactive presentation at the upcoming national conference. There is already evidence that by giving this workshop at this conference a new movement will begin toward greater understanding and focus among some of the best string teachers in this nation. It will spawn future invitations to do workshops at state conferences and for individual school systems. Therefore we see making this presentation as a short and long-term investment toward an assurance that New England fiddling music will continue in a manner that is true to its heritage.

ASTA provides no remuneration to presenters and all costs are the responsibility of the presenters. The Laufmans seek financial support toward this mission of mentoring and teaching New England fiddling and dance at the 2006 National ASTA Conference. Attached please find the conservatively estimated costs of Two Fiddles traveling to Kansas City, MO, to do workshops with Amy Sadler of Raytown Middle School, Kansas City, and making their presentation at the National ASTA Conference.

3. OUTCOMES

The Laufmans will be able to demonstrate that they have achieved their primary goal, to develop their work and reach a wider audience with their work (per narrative question #1) in several ways.

  1. Selecting a teacher to mentor requires working with the state ASTA president in Missouri who assisted by sending out an email to her state members explaining this project and seeking a middle school teacher who would agree to a mentorship with the Laufmans. Hundreds of string teachers received the email. Complimentary White Mountain Reel books are sent to the Missouri ASTA president and those teachers who replied before the deadline of August 20, 2005, thus identifying interested teachers for fiddling and dance in Missouri.

  2. The selected teacher will agree to write an article after the conference for publication in the ASTA Journal about his/her experiences working with the Laufmans and learning about fiddling and New England dance traditions.

  3. Anecdotal comments and reflections by the teacher and students will be posted during the project months of Sept-April on the Laufmans website at www.laufman.org.

  4. Other Kansas City area teachers will be invited via email to Missouri ASTA members to observe the Laufman’s session with students at the selected teacher’s middle school prior to the conference.

  5. Thousands of string teachers attend the National ASTA Conference, including almost all of the state string leadership, collegial instructors and music industry representatives. The Laufman’s work will be showcased to them in the following ways:

    1. Workshop on fiddling and dance: (see attached Session Proposal)
    2. Workshop handouts: Sheet music of six tunes for each instrument: violin, viola and cello/bass from the White Mountain Reel Companions; dance directions and calls for the Virginia Reel and Farandole dances; history of New England barn dances; links to barn dance groups around the country; ASTA’s review of the White Mountain Reel Companions in their Journal, August 2005 (attached); ordering forms for the books; the article, Violinists Become Fiddlers, from NHSCA New Hampshire Arts News, Summer 2004 (attached).
    3. Poster session: The Laufman will bring their display board, 3 ft x 4 ft., of the Virginia Reel dance and accompanying information and music.
    4. Silent auction: The four books in the White Mountain Reel series will be donated as a complete set to the auction.
  1. An evaluation using ten questions to be rated 1-5, (1 = not at all to 5 = very much) will be given to the selected teacher and students regarding the quality and beneficial aspects of this project:*
    1. Did you have fun fiddling and dancing during this project?
    2. How well were you able to learn to play the fiddle tunes within the mainstream string classroom setting?
    3. How well were you able to learn to dance the steps within the classroom setting?
    4. How did you benefit as a musician from the social and cultural aspects of fiddling and dance as presented?
    5. How did you benefit as a person from the social and cultural aspects of fiddling and dance as presented?
    6. How would you describe the experience of sitting in with the band at the conference workshop?
    7. Would you recommend this experience and curriculum to other middle school students and teachers? Please explain your answer.
    8. Before this year have you played your instrument at any social events that are not a concert setting?
    9. Would you now be interested in fiddling at other social events and dances?
    10. Would you consider getting friends and family together to play fiddle tunes with you just for fun?
    11. * Note: ASTA has their own evaluation form and does not allow presenters to distribute a second form, so workshop participants will not receive this evaluation.

4. Additional Questions for Individual Applicants only

How will this opportunity (showcase, conference, master class, exhibitions, etc.) advance your career? The Laufmans anticipate many ways that their careers will advance:

    1. Other national, state and regional organizations, colleges, music schools and school string instrumental music programs will be introduced to Two Fiddles and have a concept of their workshop value. Several years ago, Ms. Farrar-Royce began presenting workshops at her own expense. Her investment now yields almost monthly-compensated workshop opportunities.

    2. General music teacher conferences at all levels will be contacted through the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) website to have Two Fiddles present traditional dance workshops at their conferences. Again, there is no remuneration for these conferences. Eventually, the expectation is that MENC affiliates will hire the Laufmans as professional workshop presenters. General music teachers of America will include New England dance and history in their curriculum.

    3. Colleges and school districts will hire the Laufmans to present fiddling and dance workshops for staff development credits for general music teachers, string teachers and for physical education teachers, and will continue hiring them for school residencies and social events in their communities.

    4. Along with academic appearances comes the opportunity to coach or mentor other callers, musicians, teachers and dancers.

    5. It can be anticipated that sales for White Mountain Reel and White Mountain Reel Companions, a source of revenue for the Laufmans, will increase as teachers are introduced to the possibility of teaching authentic fiddling in a heterogeneous manner as they learn the tunes and dances from this series.

    6. Presenting a workshop at the National Conference will give Two Fiddles and the White Mountain Reel and it’s Companions exposure to major string text publishers and suppliers.

    7. The Laufman’s next dance book/CD, Sweets of May (August 2004) is successfully following White Mountain Reel. The Sweets of May Companions: Violin, Viola, Cello/Bassline are scheduled to be published August 2006. All of these would be included in major educational catalogues.

    8. International conferences, educational contacts and book sales are possible in the future. (When the Laufman were in Germany, May 2005, they learned that there are essentially no fiddlers to play for the contra and square dances of which there are many, perhaps hundreds, throughout Germany. The dance callers use CDs with very high tech equipment. When the Laufmans played for five dances while they were there, the dancers were delighted to actually dance to live music.) Professional fiddle training to string teachers in other countries will help establish a cadre of musicians for folk dances.

    9. By expanding the audience with a real understanding for the true essence of New England fiddling and dance by contact with a primary source master, this rich heritage is far more likely to continue as a viable and positive influence in our American society through many generations to come.