Fiddling with life and learning with the occasional dad joke thrown in...  


The Surfing Fiddler

It’s humbling to learn something new. At the moment, I’m living in Bali for a month, updating and building a new course on improvisation. I’m also re-learning how to surf. Out on the ocean, it’s pretty clear that I’m a beginner. Struggling to paddle out, getting battered by oncoming waves, not gaining enough speed … Continued

Fiddle Around The World: Bali

Sometimes you just wake up and realize you’re somewhere else. Though I booked this trip to Bali a few months ago, I’ve been so busy with FiddleHed that I haven’t had time to plan anything or even look forward to it. The only thing I really did was book a flight. And now, I find myself … Continued

Dueling Banjos and the Great Folk Process

My friend and student Toby and I recently made a lesson on how to play the Fortnite song “Hootenanny”. Click here to take the lesson. The melody is also known as “Dueling Banjos”, also known as Yankee Doodle, which came from a medieval Dutch song with the lyrics, “Yanker, didel, doodle down, Diddle, dudel, lanther, … Continued

Make Friends With Your Doubt

I recently took a musical field trip to India to learn more about Hindustani classical music. I took lessons, learned informally by playing with people, went to a lot of concerts and even did a recording session with some local musicians. About halfway through the trip, I started to feel anxious because, compared to a … Continued

Practice Like A Master

A lot of people have written saying that they struggle with playing in tune. Do you also struggle with this? I wrote an article called Repeat A Thousand Times. The hero of this story is Earl Scruggs, titan of the bluegrass banjo. He wrote an instructional book on how to play the banjo in which … Continued

Hey, Play Us A Tune!

As a beginning fiddler, it’s exciting to learn your first tune. Once, you learn a few, you start to see how the process works and then you  want to keep charging ahead, consuming one tune after another. It’s great to be excited about learning, and I would never want to dampen the inspiration and pleasure … Continued

What Is The WORST Part Of Being A Musician?

Most of the difficult things about being a musician involve touring. For instance, I could point to the horrible flatulence that emanates from the bodies of my bandmates after they’ve loaded up on corndogs, cheetos and chocolate milk (my own farts smell like warm apple pie). Add to that the fact that our tour manager … Continued

Fisherman’s Blues

I recently did a lesson on how to play the solo from the song Fisherman’s Blues. My first girlfriend introduced to this magical album of the same title by The Waterboys. At the time I was a junior in college, learning jazz, playing in the university symphony and not doing any kind of fiddle music. … Continued

Play it clear

Towards the end of my trip I played an afternoon session in Galway at a place called Tig Choili. A lot of people were in town for Race Week and so it was crowded and noisy in the pub. I had a hard time hearing and picking up the melody.  One of the fiddlers was … Continued

Galway Girl

Some visionary FiddleHed out there suggested that I go to Galway and film a video on how to play the melody from Steve Earle’s song, “Galway Girl”. So I did it. I had a great time at this Irish pub in the heart of the city. There were two sessions with a sort of transitional … Continued