Violinists Become Fiddlers
NH Fiddle and Dance Instruction Booklet and CD is a Model
for Teaching Music
Janet Farrar-Royce, a music teacher based in Cheshire, CT is working with Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman of Two Fiddles to expand the vision and musical versatility of classical string players. Over the past year, Farrar-Royce developed companion instructional booklets for viola, cello and bass for the Laufman’s self-produced fiddle and dance instructional booklet and CD entitled White Mountain Reel, and found a national distributor. "Teachers are very excited about this. Everyone loves the dancing with the music." said Farrar-Royce. "The fiddling is helping me reach some children for whom classical music isn’t doing it and the Laufmans are reaching out to new audiences. It’s a win-win situation."
Although classically trained, Farrar-Royce was always interested in fiddling. Five years ago she attended the national meeting of the American String Teachers Association. They had gathered guest fiddlers from around the country and suggested that music educators look to local traditions to broaden their music programs. They further suggested that incorporating local fiddle traditions into the curriculum of string programs would help achieve goals in meeting national standards such as learning improvisation, harmony and chord structure, ensemble writing and composition, plus allow students to connect with culture.
Farrar-Royce returned to New England and sought out traditional New England fiddler, and NH Folk Heritage award recipient, Dudley Laufman of Canterbury. Her friendship and working relationship with Dudley and his wife, Jacqueline, is bringing New Hampshire’s traditional fiddle-based dance music to the attention of music educators everywhere. "They are the living art, the real thing, and traditional New England fiddling is so much a part of our heritage," she said.
For their part, the Laufmans are pleased to participate in this integration and are preparing another project. Says Farrar-Royce, " We are working on another collection of dance tunes for an instructional booklet called Sweets of May. We hope to have it ready in the Fall."
For more information, visit www.laufman.org.
Reprinted by permission of the New State Council on the Arts, 2 1/2 Beacon St., Concord, NH 03301
Visit the New Hampshire State Council's Traditional Arts website:
New Hampshire Folklife