Friday, August 11, 2006

Guy Reel #1 (Tuesday)

Richard and I spent this week as cormorants. At Maine Fiddle Camp, students are grouped according to instrument, level & ability, and age. We were at level 5 which was a bit of a stretch for us... we are comfortable playing familiar tunes at dance speed but still have a lot to learn as far as technique. For me, a big challenge is learning by ear rather than by printed sheet music. As cormorants, we were assigned a home 'nest' which means a tent under which we would meet for all classes... instructors would come to us. We'd start each morning with our home instructor. For us, this meant Guy (pronounced Geee) Bouchard would begin each day teaching us a tune and some technique for playing French Canadian fiddle music. Guy would return in the afternoon to review tunes and answer questions, essentially being our resource person. A bit of a challenge at times, because though Guy speaks great English there would be a phrase or a word now and then that would elude translation. Fortunately there were a few in our group who spoke French, and Guy's partner Laura spoke fluent English. I felt very 'close to the source' learning these tunes, working with bowing techniques, and also attempting to incorporate some foot tapping while playing... that sounds pretty easy, but it's a little trickier than you might think while you're trying to remember the tune, the bowing, a cut or roll now and then while all at the same time keeping the tempo AND tapping both your feet in rhythm!

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