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Fiddle I

Learn to play the fiddle by starting with some simple old tunes, no experience is necessary, coordination and a good ear are helpful. A fiddle is the same instrument as a violin, the distinction comes from the background of the music, and the rules (or lack of ) regarding how it is played. In an oversimplified way, fiddling is a lot like learning how to sing. You make a note sound and then move your fingers up or down a string to find the next. The bow is moved ( like pushing out breath ) and you can sustain the tone. However, don’t be in a big hurry, the coordination required to handle the bow well takes a long time. Speed is not the most important thing, critical factors are keeping the bow moving perfectly straight, and smooth– the way you move is the way you sound. If you already play mandolin ( they are tuned the same ) you will have some left-hand experience that may be useful, but you still have to deal with the fact that the fiddle has no frets!

For class, you must bring a fiddle (violin) and a bow in playable condition. If you are in doubt, we recommend that you have it checked by a reputable dealer. This course will be taught by ear with some written study aids provided.

Students are strongly urged to bring a recording device and something to write with. The instructor provides sample recordings of the tunes covered in class; these are downloadable in mp3 format.

Note to violinists: Often students with many years of violin training are interested in learning the subtleties of the fiddling style and wish to join these classes. I welcome the participation, but I will always maintain a pace that suits the beginners who may have only just started.

Level: Complete Beginner

If you have further questions about the course please contact Mark at

Classes are now being held at Winchester Thurston in Shadyside.

Your PayPal payment serves as your registration. You will be contacted with more information about the class closer to the start date.

Refunds, Pro-rates and Cancellation Policy: Refunds will only be issued if Calliope cancels a class due to insufficient enrollment. If that happens, you will be notified in advance and will receive a refund or credit within 30 days from the start of class. No refunds will be given to those who cancel their registration within 2 days before a class starts or after class begins. Classes may not be pro-rated; please plan accordingly. Confirmations will be sent approximately a week before a class starts via email (please specify if you prefer to be contacted by phone).

Class Dates

October 10, 2023 - November 28, 2023


Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45 PM


Mark Tamsula

Mark Tamsula plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin in the Old Time Country style and knows more than 700 tunes and songs, including a repertoire of music specific to the SW Pennsylvania region. Mark has been performing and teaching ... more





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555 Morewood Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213