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Fiddle Hell Massachusetts is on Nov. 7-9, 2014.

Fiddle Hell 2014 will be at the Westford Regency Inn, 219 Littleton Road, Westford, Massachusetts. Compared to 2013, this new location has more than triple the space, loads of free parking, $99 rooms if you wish to stay there, and great food both onsite and nearby. Sessions, workshops, the concert and dance, and late night jams will all be under one roof!

Our Saturday night concert, 7:00-9:30PM on Nov. 8, 2014, will feature an amazing lineup of traditional fiddlers, including Darol Anger, Eric Favreau, Matt Glaser, Alan Kaufman, David Kaynor, Tom Morley, Ed Pearlman, Andy Reiner, Dave Reiner, Lissa Schneckenburger, and Mark Simos. The concert is free if you’ve paid for Saturday or the Fiddle Hell weekend; walk-ins are $15.  Tell your friends!

The concert will be followed from 9:30-11:00PM by a Contra Dance - you can dance or sit in with the band.  The dance is free if you're at the concert; there are no separate tickets just for the dance.

There will be more than 155 instructor-led workshops and jams in 2014. The leaders and exact sessions are subject to minor changes as we fine-tune the schedule, and we'll fill in the missing details as the event gets closer.

Quick links to the information below:
Workshop and Jam Levels
Room Locations
Audio and Video Recording
Friday Schedule
Saturday Schedule
Sunday Schedule


Workshop Leaders and Accompanists:

Click on leaders' names to look at their websites. Those new to Fiddle Hell are marked with a '+' sign; they are most welcome!

Musician Instrument
Primary styles
Alan Kaufman Fiddle Oldtime (Appalachian), bluegrass and more
Andy Reiner Fiddle, mandolin Oldtime, Irish, bluegrass, Cape Breton/Scottish, Scandinavian, world ...
Art Bryan Banjo, mandolin, guitar New England, oldtime, Irish
Barbara McOwen Fiddle Scottish
Bethany Waickman Guitar, piano New England and more
Bob Alessio Fiddle, guitar New England, oldtime and more
+ Cathy Mason Fiddle Oldtime, Cajun
Cindy Eid Bodhran, banjo Irish, oldtime, bluegrass, swing, blues, Western Swing ...
Clayton March Fiddle, clarinet Irish, New England, klezmer and more
+ Darol Anger Fiddle New acoustic, jazz, jamgrass, oldtime, and much more
Dave Reiner Fiddle, mandolin Bluegrass, oldtime, Irish, New England, Western Swing, Texas, swing ...
David Kaynor Fiddle, guitar New England, Swedish and more
David Moultrup Guitar, mandolin Swing, bluegrass
Ed Pearlman Fiddle Scottish, Cape Breton
Ellen Carlson Fiddle Bluegrass, Canadian, swing, Irish, country, blues and more
Eric Eid-Reiner Piano New England, Cape Breton/Scottish, Irish, oldtime, swing, more
+ Eric Favreau Fiddle Québécois
George Fowler Fiddle New England, Maine, Irish
Jason Anick Fiddle, mandolin Jazz, Gypsy, swing, new acoustic, bop, and more
+ Jenna Moynihan Fiddle Scottish and more
Jerry Wile Guitar Bluegrass, oldtime
John Chambers Accordion, fiddle Scandinavian, klezmer, New England, Balkan, Scottish, more
+ John Lamancusa Fiddle Oldtime, Irish, Southwestern, tune transcriber, and more
John Robinson Guitar Bluegrass, Irish, oldtime, New England, and more
Laurie Hart Fiddle Québécois, New England, Irish, Scandinavian, ...
+ Lissa Schneckenburger Fiddle New England, Scottish, and more
Mark Simos Fiddle, guitar Oldtime, Irish, New England, French Canadian, klezmer, new traditional
Marshall Racowsky Guitar Texas, swing, Western Swing and more
Matt Glaser Fiddle Jazz, swing, bluegrass, and more
Michelle Kaminsky Fiddle Cajun, Oldtime
Paul Harty Guitar, fiddle Bluegrass, Irish, New England, Western Swing, Cajun, colonial, oldtime, blues, swing ...
Pete Anick Fiddle, mandolin Swing, bluegrass, gypsy jazz, world, oldtime ...
+ Rob Flax Fiddle, bass Jazz, bluegrass
Serena Eades Fiddle Cape Breton, jazz, gypsy jazz, latin, newgrass, bluegrass, and more
+ Shana Aisenberg Fiddle, mandolin, guitar Oldtime, Celtic, New England, Klezmer, Balkan, Nordic, blues, and more
Terri Lukačko Fiddle Oldtime and more
Tim Rowell Banjo Oldtime and more
Tom Morley Fiddle Irish, oldtime

Workshop and Jam Levels:

Beg = Beginner.  Knows 6 tunes or more; working on basics of rhythm, tone, intonation, bowing, repertoire, playing by ear; has fun!
ABeg = Advancing Beginner. Knows 15 tunes or more; working on rhythm, tone, intonation, bowing, repertoire, style, playing by ear, playing with others; has fun!
Int = Intermediate. Knows 30 tunes or more, can play up to speed (mainly from memory) in one or more traditional styles, working on technique, on going beyond the basic tune, and perhaps on jamming; has fun!
Adv = Advanced. Knows larger repertoire in one or more traditional styles, plays with nuance (from memory) within these styles, has generally solid technique, has a fair amount of experience playing with others; has fun!
All Levels = Appropriate for all players.

These levels are approximations that you can use as guidelines to pick your workshops and jams. Some sessions are for mixed levels, such as ABeg-Int. In that case, the ABeg fiddlers may find some parts of the workshop to be a challenge, and the Int fiddlers may find some material to be a bit slow-paced. We ask for your patience here, from both points of view!

Naturally, the session leaders pay attention to who shows up and how well they're absorbing the material, but they do try to teach or lead at the "advertised" levels. To give an example, even if an Adv player joins a Beg workshop, it will remain a Beg workshop.

Of course, if you find a session to be too difficult or too easy or are not enjoying it for any reason, please head off to a different one. Or take a break and relax. 

In the workshop and jam listings below, the sessions are listed in order of level for each time slot.  For example, you'll see a Beg-ABeg session before an Int session before an Int-Adv one.

Room Locations:

These rooms are all located at the Westford Regency.  These are much larger than the rooms we have had in past years, with more space to spread out. Between sessions, rooms can generally be used for informal jamming, which can also happen in the hallways of the Fiddle Hell area.  

Whittier - Registration, Vendors, CDs, Books, Flyers, Message Board, Lost & Found
Regency I

Regency II

Westford 2N - "Kenny Baker Room"
Westford 3N - "Liz Carroll Room"

Westford 2S - "Joe Venuti Room"
Westford 3S - "J. Scott Skinner Room"
Westford 4S - "Tommy Jarrell Room"
[Old Joe] Clark's Pub


Full Schedule

The schedule is subject to minor changes.
Our goal is to have sessions start and end on time. There is usually a half-hour break between each session and the next.
For an introduction to Fiddle Hell itself, click here.

Audio recording of Fiddle Hell workshops and jams is generally fine, for your own use only.  In other words, don't go posting them online. Of course, you could bring your old tape or minidisc recorder, but the state of the art has advanced, and compact MP3 recorders with integrated microphones can record a lot of material with generally very good fidelity.  Zoom H1, Zoom H2n, Roland R-05, Tascam DR-05, Tascam PR-10, etc.

Video recording
requires prior permission from the workshop or jam leader, and should also be only for your own use. Many of the leaders are professionals who make all or part of their living from music; please respect their wishes about recordings, and take a look at their CDs, books, and DVDs in the Fiddle Hell store in the Whittier Room.

Thanks to our sponsors! For many years, Fiddle Hell has been sponsored by CodaBow (maker of great carbon fiber bows) and by D'Addario (maker of responsive, fine-sounding strings). During the two common tune playthrough sessions Friday night and Saturday afternoon, we will be giving away TBD and TBD, thanks to these two sponsors. We also will give away TBD, and several fun giveaways from the Reiner family and other supporters of Fiddle Hell.

November 7, 2014 (Friday)

Fiddlers - plan ahead so you can take Friday off from work and come to Fiddle Hell!

11:00 AM
Fiddle Hell On-Site Registration Opens. Go to the Registration Desk in the Whittier Room near the right front entrance of the Westford Regency Inn. Sign in, get a stylish wristband and nametag, pick up a Program Book.  Then, look around for your fellow fiddlers everywhere around you.  To see Fiddle Hell fees for the weekend and individual days, click here. Saturday and weekend registrations include the Saturday night concert and dance for free.

T-shirts, CDs, books, flyers, bows and bow rehairing (Friday and Saturday), the Message Board, and Lost & Found are also in the Whittier Room.

12:30 - 1:30PM
Tom Morley: Drop-In Beginners’ Questions Answered [Beg-ABeg] Thoreau - Right hand, left hand, intonation, tone, tunes, and more (drop in for just a few minutes or stay the whole time).
David Kaynor: Gentle Welcome Jam [Beg-ABeg] Salem - Welcome to Fiddle Hell, beginners!  Here's a good place to start.
Cathy Mason: How to Participate in a Jam Session [Beg-Int] Baker - New to jamming?  Cathy will get you started out on the right foot. Incidentally, there are some good Jamming Guidelines right in the Fiddle Hell Program booklet.
Jenna Moynihan: Welcome Scottish Workshop [ABeg-Int] Skinner - Learn a good old traditional Scottish tune by ear. Sorry, no cranachan or clootie dumplings served...
Laurie Hart: Irish Workshop [Int] Emerson
- Start off Fiddle Hell in 6/8 time as you look for the lilt.
Andy Reiner: Welcome Multi-style Jam [Int-Adv] Regency I - New England, oldtime, Irish, bluegrass, Scottish, and the unexpected.  Mix and match to start your Fiddle Hell weekend.

George Fowler & Art Bryan (guitar): Frank Ferrell Jigs
[Int-Adv] Carroll - Jump right in and learn some jigs by this great “Down East” fiddler.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell, Venuti

2:00 - 3:00PM
Dave Reiner: How to Learn Tunes by Ear Workshop [All Levels] Regency I - Effective strategies and tips to make learning by ear easier.  This will help you at Fiddle Hell and for the rest of your life.

Laurie Hart: New England Contradance Chestnuts [ABeg-Int] Salem - Laurie will teach a great tune or two that you should know but perhaps never learned.

David Kaynor: Swedish Workshop [ABeg-Int] Baker - Fiddle is the most important instrument in Sweden! David might teach a polska, a vals, a schottis, a gånglåt, or another dance tune.

Pete Anick: French Breton Tune Workshop [Int] Carroll - While instrumental music from Brittany (or Bretagne) was played on the biniou and bombarde, now the fiddle has been re-established in the tradition by master players such as Christian LeMaître. Pete will teach a typical tune or two from western Breton.
George Fowler & Art Bryan (guitar): Learn a Fine Two-Step as Played by Simon St. Pierre of Maine [Int] Skinner Tune TBD; George is thinking it over.
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Int-Adv]
Emerson - Eric’s a master instructor of traditional Québecois tunes and techniques, and his classes are a lot of fun. He plays with Tidal Wave.
Cathy Mason: Oldtime Tune Workshop [Int-Adv]
Venuti - Details TBD.
Andy Reiner: Tasty and Amazing Chords for Fiddle [Adv] Thoreau - How to fit hair-raising intervals, unusual chords, and moving chord lines into your playing. Straight from the horse’s mouth!
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell

3:30 - 4:30PM
Dave Reiner: Common Tunes Learning [Level varies by tune, Beg-Int] Regency I - We’ll take a quick look at 7 or 8 tunes beginning with "L" - "Z" based on your requests. Get ready for the 8:00PM playthrough.

Tom Morley: Irish S l o w Jam [ABeg-Int] Salem - Some common seisiún tunes, at a  s l o w e r  pace.

Jenna Moynihan: Scottish Phrasing and Dynamics [ABeg-Int] Skinner - Tunes tell a story that goes beyond the notes.  Jenna will show you how to bring your Scottish tunes alive.
Lissa Schneckenburger: Playing Fiddle for New England Dances [Int] Thoreau - New England traditional music is strongly linked to contras and other social dances. What does that mean to you as a fiddler, with respect to tunes, styles, ornaments, nuances, and arrangements?  What does a caller want; what will animate the dancers?
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop
[Int] Emerson - Details TBD.
Jason Anick and Marshall Racowsky (guitar): Jazz Improvisation Workshop [Int-Adv] Baker - Using a classic swing tune like "Lady Be Good," Jason will help you get closer to that authentic swing sound achieved by jazz violin greats like Stéphane Grappelli and Joe Venuti.
Ellen Carlson: Fancying Up Your Bluegrass Fiddle Tunes [Int-Adv] Carroll - You've got the basic tune; now what? Ellen will teach a basic break to TBD and then show you how to fancy it up with double stops, slides, and variations.
Bethany Waickman: Backing Up Jigs, Reels, and Waltzes (for Strummers) [All Levels] Venuti - Bring your guitar, mando, banjo, ...

Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell

5:00 - 6:00PM
Alan Kaufman: Fiddle Tune Composition Lab  [All Levels] Salem - Details TBD.
Andy Reiner: Healthy Musical Attitudes [All Levels] Carroll - Andy's sage advice will help you make progress on your instrument while keeping sane!

Laurie Hart: Kids’ Easy Tune Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Baker - Details TBD.
Eric Favreau: Learn an Easy Fiddle Tune from Québec [Beg-ABeg] Emerson - Details TBD
Tom Morley: Irish Workshop
[ABeg-Int] Regency I - Details TBD.
Ed Pearlman: Scottish Workshop
[Int] Skinner - Ed played a central role in creating the Boston Scottish music scene, and he's a great teacher.
Ellen Carlson: Kids’ Tune Workshop [Int-Adv] Venuti - Ellen is the kind of fiddle teacher that every kid likes, and this’ll be a fun session. She’ll teach TBD and a second tune as well.
Lissa Schneckenburger: Some Challenging New England Tunes [Adv] Thoreau - The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Lissa is a master of both moods, and will teach accordingly. Look for her many CDs in the Fiddle Hell Store.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell

6:30 - 7:30PM
Dave Reiner & Marshall Racowsky (guitar): Making Sense of Chords [All Levels] Thoreau - This will help you to harmonize, play double stops, back up a tune or song, and play along with tunes you've never heard before.

Jason Anick & Pete Anick (guitar): Jazz Improvisation Workshop [ABeg-Int] Emerson - Work on the basics of improvising over simple jazz changes, and learn practice tools that will help hone your jazz skills. Check out Jason’s latest CD Tipping Point in the Fiddle Hell Store.
Paul Harty (guitar): Bluegrass Jam [Level varies by tune] Baker - Brown County Breakdown, anyone? Jerusalem Ridge?  How about Old Home Place?
Bring your fiddle (of course!) or other bluegrass instrument.
Ed Pearlman & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): Scottish / Cape Breton Jam [Int] Regency 1 - Are we suddenly in Northeast Scotland or a Cape Breton dance hall?  It's both.

Serena Eades: Brazilian Forró Tune Workshop [Int] Skinner - Forró tunes have two parts, each repeated, but with melodies and chords quite different from oldtime and Celtic tunes. There are some unique bowing techniques and integral percussion. Some may play choro, but here’s a chance to try forró.
David Kaynor & Bethany Waickman (guitar): New England Jam
[Int-Adv] Salem - Westford’s the perfect place for your favorite New England tunes.

August Watters: Mandolin for Fiddle Players (bring a mandolin!) [Beg-Int on mandolin] Carroll - It’s tuned the same, but mandolin is its own animal.  August will cover techniques across several levels.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell, Venuti

8:00 - 9:00PM
Andy Reiner & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): Common Tunes Playthrough [Levels vary by tune] Regency 1 - Tunes beginning with "L" - "Z". Some free fiddle items will be given away.

Alan Kaufman: Oldtime Jam [ABeg-Int] Thoreau - Low pressure and high enjoyment thanks to Alan.  The tunes go long enough to learn them by playing.

Ellen Carlson & Art Bryan (guitar): Tastefully Backing Up a Singer [ABeg-Int] Emerson - Backup is an important role for a fiddler.  Ellen will help you along the path using the KISS principle, in styles such as bluegrass, Irish, country and swing.

Lissa Schneckenburger: Scottish Workshop [Int] Skinner - Details TBD.
Jason Anick & Pete Anick (guitar): Gypsy Jazz Workshop [Int-Adv] Salem - This mysterious fiddle style, started in France in the 1930’s by Django Reinhardt, combines fiery passion with strong technique. Learn a Gypsy Jazz standard and how to achieve an authentic Gypsy sound and feel.
Laurie Hart: Learn a French Canadian Tune
[Int-Adv] Carroll - Learn a tune or two from Laurie's excellent book Danse ce Soir! Fiddle and Accordion Music of Québec. Her books and CDs are available in the Fiddle Hell Store.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Baker, Jarrell, Venuti, [and Clark’s Pub 9:00PM-12:45AM]

9:30 - 10:30PM
Serena Eades: Learn an Easy Cape Breton Jig [Beg-ABeg] Skinner - Cape Breton in Nova Scotia is home to the world’s largest fiddle and bow. Even better, it’s home to a driving, ornamented, fiddle style that draws on Scottish and Irish traditions and more.
Andy Reiner & Tim Rowell (banjo): Easy Tunes Oldtime Jam, Not Too Fast
[ABeg-Int] Salem - The year is what, 1925? Get back to your oldtime roots with some easy tunes, played not too fast and learnable on the fly.

Bob Alessio & David Kaynor (guitar): Waltz Playalong [ABeg-Adv] Regency I - Sheet music provided.  Play by ear or read the music to drift along through a 3/4 landscape for an hour. Dancers welcome. More waltzes on Sunday afternoon.

Dave Reiner & John Robinson (guitar): Learn "TBD" as played by Fine Fiddler [Int] Thoreau - Details TBD.

Ellen Carlson & Paul Harty (guitar): Round Robin Bluegrass Jam [Int-Adv] Emerson - Pick your favorite BG (but not always PG!) tunes to try out in this fast-moving jam.

Open for Jamming: Amherst, Baker, Carroll, Jarrell, Venuti, [and Clark’s Pub until 12:45AM]

11:00PM - Midnight
David Kaynor: Common Tunes Repertoire Jam [Beg-ABeg] Thoreau - Here's a chance for beginners to go through some of the easiest of our 52 common tunes.

Lissa Schneckenburger & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): New England Jam [Int-Adv] Regency I - A combination of classic and modern tunes.
You’ll want to look for Lissa’s many CDs and for Eric’s solo CDs and his latest CD with The Moving Violations in the Fiddle Hell Store.
Andy Reiner & Tim Rowell (banjo): No Holds Barred Oldtime Jam [Int-Adv] Salem - Pull those chairs in until you're knee to knee, change keys once in a while, and you're off.  Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom? 
Wild Goose Chase?
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Emerson, [and Clark’s Pub until 12:45AM]

Midnight - 3:00AM
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Emerson, Salem, Thoreau [and Clark’s Pub until 12:45AM] - Sleep is optional (but pace yourself, it’s only Friday!).


November 8, 2014 (Saturday)

Fiddle Hell On-Site Registration Opens for the Weekend or for Saturday. Go to the Registration Desk in the Whittier Room near the right front entrance of the Westford Regency Inn. Sign in, get a stylish wristband and nametag, pick up a Program Book.  Then, look around for your fellow fiddlers everywhere around you.  To see Fiddle Hell fees for the weekend and for Saturday only, click here.

T-shirts, CDs, books, flyers, bows and bow rehairing (Friday and Saturday), the Message Board, and Lost & Found are also in the Whittier Room.

9:30 - 10:30AM
Tom Morley: Really Easy Irish Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Regency I - Tom's got a passion for Irish tunes and is especially good with beginners.

Eric Favreau: Kids - Learn an Easy Fiddle Tune from Québec [Beg-ABeg] Emerson - Details TBD.
Ellen Carlson: Learn an Easy Bluegrass Tune
[Beg-ABeg] Baker - Ellen will teach you “Bluegrass Stomp,” written by Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass music. It’s short, fun, and a great jam tune.
Shana Aisenberg: Learning Fiddle Tunes by Ear
[Beg-ABeg] Skinner - Can most other fiddlers launch into tunes after hearing them just once?  Nah… But armed with Shana’s hints and helpful suggestions, you’ll definitely have an easier time learning tunes by ear.

Alan Kaufman: Oldtime Workshop
[ABeg] Venuti - Learn an easy tune with that oldtime Southern groove. Alan wrote the book Beginning Old-Time Fiddle,
and he’s a great teacher.
Michelle Kaminsky: Drop-In Workshop on Technique [All Levels] Thoreau - Right hand, left hand, intonation, tone, tunes, and more (drop in for just a few minutes or stay the whole time).
David Kaynor: Swedish Workshop [Int] Amherst - Learn some easy and pretty Swedish tunes: a schottische, a polska that would be danceable for hambo (with attention to that elusive rhythm!) and either a waltz or a walking tune. 
Darol Anger: Rhythm and Chop: Recent Technical Advances in String Groove [Int-Adv] Regency II - A noisy revolution has been under way the last 15 years in vernacular string playing. Invented by Richard Greene and developed and popularized by Darol, Natalie Haas, Andy Reiner and Casey Driessen, the Chopping technique has spread like wildfire throughout the string world. We will also analyze some different grooves and apply them to the technique.
Laurie Hart: Swedish Polska Workshop [Int-Adv] Carroll - Polskas from North or South Sweden or both. From Laurie's Scandinavian Fiddle Tradition project (CDs and books).

Ed Pearlman: Scottish Workshop [Adv] Salem - Ed has worked closely with many masters of Scottish fiddling, and has taught countless students this stirring style.

Open for Jamming: Jarrell

11:00AM - Noon
Mark Simos: Tune Writing Strategies [All Levels] Regency I - Mark will present exercises and techniques for writing new tunes in traditional styles, sharing some of his own secrets, and drawing from approaches described in his new book Songwriting Strategies: A 360º Approach (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard).

Dave Reiner: Common Tunes Learning [Levels vary by tune Beg-Int] Salem - Tunes beginning with "L" - "Z". Get ready for the 3:30PM playthrough.

Darol Anger: The Blues: North America's Musical Language [ABeg-Int (All may listen)] Regency II - The Blues, as a musical idiom and common language, pervades EVERY style of American music and is an essential communication tool for musicians. Like the fugue, waltz, and sarabande, it's a musical form. It's also a harmonic and melodic system with a very specific set of moves and skills. We will analyze and PLAY the Blues, focusing on the form, and the three crucial Blues Notes in the Blues scale and how to use them.
Tom Morley & Bethany Waickman (guitar): Slow Irish Jam [ABeg-Int] Baker - Tom leads many slow jams, from Alabama to Ireland, and Bethany's a sought-after and great accompanist.

Ellen Carlson and Marshall Racowsky: Intro to Swing Fiddle Playing [ABeg-Int] Venuti - Expressive and versatile, the violin is the perfect instrument for swing music.  Starting with a simple and classic swing tune (TBD), Ellen will introduce you to the style; you’ll loosen up and be swinging before lunchtime.
George Fowler & Art Bryan (guitar): Playing Waltzes for Dancers [Int] Skinner - George will start you with a simple waltz to convey the basic ideas, and then use another waltz or two to help you practice your new skills. A few dancers welcome as well as fiddlers.
Serena Eades: Learn a Fine Cape Breton Strathspey [Int-Adv] Skinner - Learn a fine tune, full of wild snaps and rhythmic lift. Serena has studied Cape Breton fiddle with Natalie MacMaster, Jerry Holland, and other CB greats.

Eric Favreau: Kids - Learn a Traditional Fiddle Tune from Québec [Int-Adv] Emerson - Details TBD.
Laurie Hart: Irish Reel Workshop [Adv] Carroll - Go beyond the notes to the essence of the Irish fiddle sound.

Tim Rowell (banjo): Oldtime Banjo Workshop [ABeg-Int on banjo] Amherst - The first banjo workshop ever at Fiddle Hell! Bring your 5-string banjo.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell

12:30 - 1:30PM
Dave Reiner & Paul Harty (guitar): The Secrets of Backing Up a Singer [All Levels] Salem - Hear and see exactly how it's done, and try it yourself. Examples in multiple styles, from bluegrass to other styles. Helpful handout, as usual.
Andy Reiner & Tim Rowell (banjo): Easy Tunes Not-Very-Fast Oldtime Jam [Beg-Int] Baker - Go with the flow of easy tunes at a relaxed pace. This facilitates learning new tunes by ear.
Tom Morley: Easy Irish Workshop [ABeg] Regency II - Tom's got a passion for Irish tunes and is especially good with beginners.

Lissa Schneckenburger & Art Bryan (guitar): New England Slow Jam [ABeg-Int] Thoreau - Revisit your favorite tunes and make progress on new ones.
Lissa’s fiddling is uplifting and lively; she’ll have a few helpful suggestions for you throughout the jam. 
David Kaynor & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): New England Up-to-Speed Jam [Int] Regency I - Play some local favorites and try a few tunes that might be new to you.

Alan Kaufman: Oldtime Workshop [Int] Amherst - Learn some basic oldtime fiddle tunes while paying close attention to the rhythmic and hypnotic framework of the tunes.

Ed Pearlman: Cape Breton Workshop: Buddy MacMaster Tunes [Int] Emerson - Details TBD.

Jenna Moynihan: Scottish Workshop [Int-Adv] Skinner - Learn a splendid tune by ear, and explore how to bring tunes to life by incorporating ornaments, feel, breath, and more into your playing.
Clayton March: Irish Workshop on Paddy O'Brien Tunes [Int-Adv] Carroll - Details TBD.
Serena Eades & David Moultrup (guitar): Jazz Improvisation Workshop [Int-Adv] Venuti - Tap into Serena's contemporary imagination for jazz improv, using techniques developed at Berklee College of Music by Matt Glaser. 

Open for Jamming: Jarrell

2:00 - 3:00PM
Mark Simos: New Tune Swap and Writing Clinic [All Levels] Regency II - Here's a chance to share your original tunes and learn more about how to write them from a renowned tunesmith and fiddler.
Andy Reiner: Bow Chopping Workshop [All Levels] Baker - A modern fiddling technique for both backup and leads, like playing drums on your fiddle. Nobody does it better.

Eric Favreau: Easy Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Salem - Details TBD.
Michelle Kaminsky: Cajun Fiddle Workshop [ABeg-Int] Amherst - Laissez les bon temps rouler!  Michelle’s got some fine Cajun tunes to show you, with the elusive Aieee! factor.

Lissa Schneckenburger: Scottish Workshop [Int] Skinner - Details TBD.
Laurie Hart & Bethany Waickman (guitar): French Canadian Jam [Level varies by tune; mainly Int] Thoreau - A wonderful style from the north that combines French folk music and Irish and Scottish fiddling, with great rhythm in the fiddle and the feet. Bring your favorite tunes and play along with some classics, too.

Clayton March: Klezmer Workshop [Int] Venuti - Clayton plays both fiddle and clarinet in Klezmer style, and will focus on techniques and a few tunes.
Darol Anger: Doubling Down on Double Stops [Int-Adv] Carroll - Darol offers a quick survey of double stops (across multiple strings), and helpful hints on getting them in tune and choosing when to use which ones.
Alan Kaufman & Tim Rowell (banjo) & Art Bryan (guitar): Up-to-Speed Oldtime Jam [Int-Adv] Emerson - Alan leads many local oldtime jams, and this'll be an epic one.
David Kaynor: Awesome Tunes and Techniques to Play for New England Dances [Adv] Regency I - Learn from a fine fiddler and contra dance caller.
David promises to reveal all (well, several) of his secrets.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell

3:30 - 4:30PM
Dave Reiner, Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): Common Tunes Playthrough [Level varies by tune] Regency I - Tunes beginning with "A" - "K" . Some free fiddle items will be given away.

Lissa Schneckenburger: Kid’s Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Carroll - Details TBD.
Pete Anick: Bluegrass Fiddler Basics [Beg-ABeg] Baker - Here’s a jumpstart for beginners on a time-honored and fun fiddle style, from tunes to songs. 
Mark Simos: Oldtime Tune Workshop [Int] Salem - While teaching a splendid tune or two, Mark will show bowing and phrasing concepts that you can apply to lots of oldtime tunes.
Laurie Hart: Sizzling Minor Tunes Workshop [Int] Skinner - Gems from Laurie's contradance, French, and East European repertoire. Not too hard, but very dramatic.
Darol Anger: Fiddle Backup: What to Do; What Not to Do [Int-Adv (Beg may listen)] Regency II - The ins and outs of playing behind a singer or other soloist. Not limited to Bluegrass, though that will be a main focus.
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Int-Adv] Emerson - We’re happy to have Eric (from the band Raz de Marée) all weekend. Learn tunes and techniques while laughing a lot.
Tom Morley: Irish Workshop [Adv] Thoreau - Tom wrote the book.  Really! Look for it in the Fiddle Hell Store.
His fiddle playing “evokes memories of players in the rich fiddling hotbed of western and northern counties in Ireland…”
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Jarrell, Venuti

5:00 - 6:00PM
Alan Kaufman: Yodeling 101 Workshop [All Levels] Amherst - Learn the basics of yodeling. No experience necessary; just bring yourself and your sense of humor :-)
Ed Pearlman: Easy Scottish Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Regency II - A simple Scottish tune can sound great - practical learning from Ed.

Terri Lukačko & Tim Rowell (banjo) & Paul Harty: Easy Oldtime Jam [ABeg] Thoreau - Terri leads oldtime jams in both the US and Australia.
Tim and Paul round out the easy jam.
Matt Glaser: Swinging Around the Cycle - improvising on Tunes in All Keys [Open to All Levels] Salem - Come for a transmogrifying torrent of ideas and exercises from Matt, a legendary improvisor.
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Int] Emerson - You never know what tunes and techniques Eric will show you.  He’s a super teacher with a wonderful repertoire. Don’t forget to tap your feet as you play.
Andy Reiner & Clayton March: Up-to-Speed Irish Jam [Int-Adv]
Regency I - The craic will be mighty!  It's a big space, and we'll fill it with lots of trad tunes.

7:00 - 9:30PM
Fiddle Concert (open to the public) in Regency I and II.
  This concert will feature great fiddling from Darol Anger, Mark Simos, Lissa Schneckenburger, Eric Favreau, Matt Glaser, Ed Pearlman, Tom Morley, Alan Kaufman, Dave Reiner, Andy Reiner, and David Kaynor.  It's free if you’ve paid for Saturday or the weekend at Fiddle Hell ; walk-ins are $15 (includes contra dance afterwards).  Tell your friends - this is the only part of Fiddle Hell that's open to the public.  Free parking outside.
Open for Jamming (but why miss the Fiddle Concert?): Amherst, Emerson, Salem, Thoreau

9:30 - 11:00PM
Contra Dance (open to the public) in Regency I and II. David Kaynor calling, Andy Reiner (fiddle), Eric Eid-Reiner (piano) and the Fiddle Hell sit-in band. Put down your fiddle and dance a few easy contras (no experience necessary). Or you can sit in with the band to play typical New England tunes for the dancers.
Paul Harty (guitar): Bluegrass Jam [Levels vary by tune, mainly Int-Adv] Emerson - If you're not at the dance for some reason, here's a bluegrassy alternative. Bring your fiddle; other bluegrass instruments (and voices) welcome, too.
No Leader: Irish Jam [Int-Adv] Salem - This seisiún ceoil na hÉireannan is also an alternative to the contra dance.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Thoreau, [and Clark’s Pub from 9:00 - 12:45AM]

11:00PM - Midnight
Andy Reiner: Free Improvisation [All Levels (really!)] Thoreau - No boundaries! 

No Leader: New England Jam [Int, more or less] Regency I and II - New England tunes, what else?

No Leader: Oldtime Jam [Int-Adv] Salem - Play just a few more hypnotic oldtime Southern tunes.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Emerson, [and Clark’s Pub from 9:00 - 12:45AM]

Midnight - 3:00AM
No Leader: Sleepless Beginner Meetup [Beg-ABeg] Thoreau - Chat or play.
No Leader: New England Jam [Int, more or less] Amherst - More New England tunes.

No Leader: Oldtime Southern Jam [Int-Adv] Salem - Jam continues as long as there are fiddlers left standing (sitting?).
Open for Jamming: Emerson [and Clark’s Pub until 12:45AM]


November 9, 2014 (Sunday)

Try the Westford Regency's brunch buffet from 9:30AM - noon. Or just sleep in!

All day
More jamming and workshops. Jam, learn, chat, trade tunes, buy CDs and fiddle books, buy a T-shirt or mug, wander around Westford.

Fiddle Hell On-Site Registration opens for Sunday.
Go to the Registration Desk in the Whittier Room near the right front entrance of the Westford Regency Inn. Sign in, get a stylish wristband and nametag, pick up a Program Book.  Then, look around for your fellow fiddlers everywhere around you.  To see Fiddle Hell fees for the weekend and for Fiddle Hell fees for Sunday only, click here.

T-shirts, CDs, books, flyers, bows and bow rehairing (Friday and Saturday), the Message Board, and Lost & Found are also in the Whittier Room.

9:30 - 10:30AM
Michelle Kaminsky & Paul Harty (guitar): Kids' Fiddle Tune Sharing Session [All Levels] Thoreau - Kids, do you have a favorite tune you like to play?  Or a new tune that you’ve written?  Here’s a chance to share those tunes.
Eric Favreau: Introduction to Québecois Fiddle Style [Beg] Emerson - Not too far to the north of Boston is a wonderland of Québecois fiddling.  Let Eric be your guide with a very easy introduction. 
Tom Morley: Easy Irish Workshop [ABeg] Regency I - Lilt your way amidst the jigs and reels, with Tom as your intrepid guide to an easy tune or two.
Shana Aisenberg: Klezmer Workshop [ABeg-Int] Skinner - Details TBD.
Terri Lukačko: Oldtime Australian Tune Workshop [Int] Amherst - Did you miss the Yarra Junction Fiddler’s Convention this year?  No worries, mate, Terri will teach you a rousing Australian tune or two. From EADG to G’DAE isn’t as far as you think.
Lissa Schneckenburger: Putting “Lift” into Your New England Playing [Int-Adv] Salem - Details TBD.
Dave Reiner & Jerry Wile (guitar): Learn "Great Tune" [Adv] Baker - This classic is a great tune, chock full of helpful techniques, variations, and bowings. Handout provided, as at most of Dave's workshops.
Laurie Hart: Irish Workshop [Adv] Carroll - Details TBD.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell, Venuti

11:00AM - 12:00PM
Andy Reiner: Kids' Session [Beg-ABeg] Amherst - Learn tunes and techniques.  Fun and fiddling surprises for kids.
Barbara McOwen: Scottish Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Baker - Barbara has a lifelong love of Scottish fiddling.
She’ll deconstruct Scottish birls (characteristic bowing ornaments), put birls into some already-familiar tunes, and teach you a classic tune with birls. Learning by ear, with sheet music available.
Laurie Hart & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): New England Jam [ABeg-Int] Regency I - Not too difficult, not too fast, draw your bow as the tunes go past.

David Kaynor: Learn a Great New England Tune [Int] Thoreau - By now you've heard David Kaynor's fine playing on all sorts of tunes.  Here he’ll focus on one or two quintessential New England tunes.
Clayton March (clarinet) & John Chambers (accordion): Klezmer Jam [Int] Salem - Crank up your fiddle - this was really wild last year!

Paul Harty (guitar) & Rob Flax (bass): Western Swing Playalong [Int-Adv] Carroll - Try some hot breaks on fiddle or just play melody and backup as Paul and Rob lead you through classic tunes like "Take Me Back to Tulsa."

Do you think “Time Changes Everything”?
Eric Favreau: Québecois Bowing Workshop
[Int-Adv] Emerson - Traditional bowing techniques really make the sound of Québecois fiddling, and Eric will be your right hand man to learn them.
Lissa Schneckenburger: Scottish Workshop [Int-Adv] Skinner - Details TBD.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell, Venuti

12:30 - 1:30PM
Andy Reiner: South Indian Rhythmic Solfege [All levels] Baker - Expand your rhythmic vocabulary and strengthen your sense of time through classical Indian subdivisions. Good karma.
David Kaynor:
New England Workshop [ABeg-Int] Thoreau - What delightful tune will David teach?  Whatever it is, it'll have that inimitable New England lift to it.

Dave Reiner & Jerry Wile (guitar): Fiddling in Layers (Bluegrass and More) [ABeg-Int (Beg may listen)] Emerson - A new way to think about learning and playing fiddle breaks and tunes. Dave’s never taught this session at Fiddle Hell before.
Darol Anger: Melody and Phrasing Workshop
[Int (Beg may listen)] Salem - Playing the melody and more, taught by an exceptional fiddler and teacher, known for his versatility, creativity and depth. It’s Darol’s first time at Fiddle Hell.
George Fowler & Art Bryan (guitar): Prince Edward Island Workshop with Tunes from Eddy Arsenault and Kevin Chiasson [Int] Skinner - The title says it all.  George teaches at Maine Fiddle Camp (a great camp).
Shana Aisenberg: Scandinavian Tune Workshop
[Int] Amherst - Details TBD.
Barbara McOwen: Scottish Workshop [Int-Adv] Regency I - We're lucky to have Barbara aroon' an' aboot again this year!   You’ll learn a pipe tune on the fiddle, and strategies for lifting tunes out of a pipe book. By ear, with sheet music available.
Clayton March: Irish Tunes in C Major [Int-Adv] Carroll - Details TBD.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell, Venuti

2:00 - 3:00PM
John Lamancusa: Tune Transcribing Workshop [All Levels] Skinner - What are the tricks and best practices for producing accurate transcriptions relatively quickly? See John’s handiwork at
Dave Reiner: Bowing Patterns Workshop [Int (Beg and ABeg may listen in)] Regency I - The rhythmic drive, flow of notes, and liveliness of a fiddle tune owe much to the often intricate patterns woven by the fiddler's bow.  Dave will impart this essential knowledge.

Andy Reiner: 5-String Fiddle Clinic
[ABeg-Int] Thoreau - What can you do with that beautiful low C string (EADGC)? How should you approach playing with a broader range? What are the differences in bowing and fingering? Please bring your own 5-string fiddle or just listen in.

Rob Flax: Kid's Jazz/Swing Workshop: Maximal Mileage from Minimal Notes [ABeg-Int] Carroll - Improvisation strategies that use rhythm to increase interest and danceability ("It don't mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing"). Plan to sing, dance, tap, scat, and then play.
Laurie Hart: Scandinavian Hambo and Schottische Workshop [Int] Baker - Essential repertoire and technique for the couple dances done at halftime at a contra dance.

Darol Anger: Jam Session with Darol
[Int-Adv] Salem - From his days with the David Grisman Quintet, through Montreux, the Republic of Strings, and the new recording E-and’a, Darol’s always been a fiddler to listen and learn from.  Here’s your chance to jam with Darol.
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Adv]
Emerson - Here’s a chance learn some dazzling tunes and techniques.
Paul Harty: Backup Guitar Workshop [ABeg-Adv on guitar] Amherst - Bring your guitar to learn just how it's done from Paul. He’s a master guitar backer-upper, from bluegrass to oldtime to Irish to country to blues to rockabilly and more.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell, Venuti

3:30 - 4:30PM
Barbara McOwen & Eric Eid-Reiner (piano): Scottish Jam [Level varies by tune] Regency I - Bring your fave Scottish/Shetland/Cape Breton tunes and we’ll incorporate them into spontaneous traditional-style sets. Session tunes and session-tune-wannabes welcome. Marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs, and even a slow air or two. Optional haggis.
John Lamancusa: Guachi Southwestern Tune Workshop [ABeg-Int] Carroll - Details TBD.
John Chambers (accordion): Easy Swedish Jam [ABeg-Int] Baker - Lingonberry?  No, a fun musical jam involving polskor, valser, polkor, schottisar and gånglåtar. John often shows up with written music for the tunes.
Bob Alessio & David Kaynor (guitar): Waltz Playalong [ABeg-Adv, depending on tune] Skinner - Sheet music provided.  Play by ear or read the music to help us gently wind down.
Eric Favreau: Québecois Fiddle Workshop [Int] Emerson - It’s Sunday, but Eric never runs out of great tunes.
Lissa Schneckenburger: Twin (Harmony) Fiddle Playing [Int-Adv] Thoreau - What rules, tricks, heuristics, and ideas can help you to work out harmony parts when playing with other fiddlers? Lissa knows (have you ever heard her with Halali?) and she’ll be your guide today to twin fiddling.
Andy Reiner: Kids’ Session [Int-Adv] Amherst - Details TBD.
Laurie Hart: New England Workshop [Int] Salem - Details TBD.
Open for Jamming: Jarrell, Venuti

5:00 - 6:00PM
David Kaynor: Easy Jam [Beg-ABeg] Salem - It's not quite over yet! David will guide you through a last jam at Fiddle Hell 2014.
Michelle Kaminsky: Cajun Workshop [Beg-ABeg] Emerson - Relax and learn an easy tune or two in Cajun style. Crawfish étouffée?
Bob Alessio & John Robinson (guitar): Waltz Playalong [ABeg-Adv, depending on tune] Skinner - Sheet music provided. Play by ear or read the music as this session continues.
Tom Morley & Andy Reiner: Up-to-Speed Irish Jam [Int] Regency I - Reels, jigs, and the occasional hornpipe.  You could be in the Cobblestone Pub in Dublin.
Cathy Mason & Paul Harty (guitar): Oldtime Southern Jam [Int-Adv] Thoreau - It's all about the rhythm, in a music "rich in cultural continuity" [wrote Mark Humphrey]. Help bring our Tenth Fiddle Hell Massachusetts to a traditional, oldtime finish.
Rob Flax: Jazz Workshop: Leap into Rhythm Changes [Int-Adv] Carroll - We'll dive deep into the harmonic structure of "rhythm changes," one of the most common chord progressions in jazz. You’ll learn several tunes and strategies for soloing over them.  These will last you until at least the next Fiddle Hell.
Open for Jamming: Amherst, Baker, Jarrell, Venuti

Fiddle Hell is officially over. Go to dinner, take in a live performance, make your way to Boston or Cambridge. Or head home, glowing with the aura of new friends, new tunes, and new experiences.

Next year’s Fiddle Hell will be on Nov 6-8, 2015. Mark your calendar now.


How about a CD or fiddle book?

Reiner Family Band CDHere are the latest CDs from the Reiner Family Band and from Eric and Andy, and classic and new fiddle books from Dave and Andy.

Want a Fiddle Lesson?

fiddleDave's been teaching fiddle lessons in the Boston area for years, and knows a lot of excellent tunes in bluegrass, oldtime, Irish, swing, and other styles. He can show you the best bowing patterns, demystify chords and theory, and help with variations, backup, and contests. Read More