Welcome to the Irish Fiddle Course!

The Irish Fiddle Course is for Intermediate to Advanced level fiddlers who want to take a deeper dive into this popular fiddle style. 

If you’re unsure if you’re ready for this, then first check out these courses:

I made a self-assessment tool on the Getting Started page.

Find this page again from the main menu:


Here’s What You’ll Learn

In the Irish Fiddle Course, you’ll learn basic versions of tunes like The Butterfly, and then you’ll learn a second version with variations added. 

 

Here are some of the skills you’ll learn. You’ll first practice them on scales, and then on tunes. 

  • Triplets which you’ll practice on tunes like Rights of Man
  • Cuts which you’ll practice on tunes like Kerfunken Jig
  • Sixteenth note duplets which you’ll practice on tunes like Swallowtail Jig
  • Rolls which you’ll practice on tunes like The Banshee

Lower on the page you can see a full listing of lessons for the course. The higher level thing you’ll learn is how to practice adding variation to anything.

I’ll show you a key practice technique: Alternating between the basic version and the variation in a continuous loop.

This will help you to add variation and expression to any tune in any style of music: Old-time, Cajun, Klezmer, and even classical music. Once you can play the variation with flow on a small phrase, you’ll learn how to apply it to the whole tune.

The ultimate goal of the course is for you to be a creative musician through fun and productive practice.

 

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Irish Fiddle Course Outline

Below is a suggested order for you to take the lessons in this course. The last tab is an index which you can use to search for lessons by type of tune or skill.

Module 1: The Trill Is Not Gone

Core lessons

Core tunes

I’ll teach basic and variation lessons for core tunes. Think of these as old friends that teach us new things when we re-visit them.

Learn or review at least two of the following core tunes:

Bonus tunes

The bonus tunes will help to expand your fiddle vocabulary. They are also a way to experiment with adding variation on your own.

Module 3: On The Jig Swing

Core lessons

Learn or review at least two of the following tunes (or other jigs and slip jigs you know). Then try to add the jig swing variation.

Bonus tunes

Interlude 1: Renew With Review

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Irish fiddling, take some time to review and refine what you’ve learned. This attention to good sound will bring joy to your practice.

Use fingerprinting to help you remember tunes better. Learn more in this lesson: How to remember fiddle tunes. 

Remember, there are three phases of learning a tune.

  • Learning a basic version
  • Making it sound better
  • Adding expression

Learn more in this lesson: Three Phases of Learning a Tune

  • Review tunes learned in modules 1-4. Also, review any other Irish tunes you know.
  • Review all technique exercises: triplets, jig swing, trills, melodic variation.

Do you remember all the tunes you learned?

This review can be done in one or two practice sessions. What do you need to go over? Just be honest with yourself.

Interlude 2: Like Deja Vu All Over Again

How To Practice Sets Of Tunes

As you learn more tunes and variations, older things might start to slip from your memory. So take some time to strengthen things you’ve recently learned. Making and practicing sets of tunes is a good way to approach them with a fresh perspective.


You can also continue these other review practices. They’ll help you remember what you’ve learned in a fun and productive way.

  • Keep a list of tunes you’ve learned.
  • Practice “review sets” of 4-10 songs.
  • Practice “fingerprinting each song”.
  • If possible, transpose tunes to other strings.
    • This helps form a better mental map of the tune. (And it’s fun).
  • Learn more about his process: Renew With Review.

Review all the tunes that you liked.

Review all technique exercises: triplets, jig swing, trills, melodic variation. This can be done in one or two practice sessions.

Did you skip any of the core tunes? If so, consider re-visiting them.

What techniques are still difficult? How can you reinvent your approach to practicing them?

Index of Lessons

Here’s a listing of all the tunes in the course, organized by type of lesson rather than the suggested learning path of the Progressive Outline above. Some fun ways to practice using the index:

  • Play all the tunes you know of a certain type (reels, jigs, etc.).
  • Make sets of two or more tunes.
  • Play all the tunes you know with a particular drone note (D, G, A or E). Learn more about how this works in this lesson: The Dronopoly Game.

Variation Technique Lessons

This is a progressive series of lessons, starting with easier variations like jig swing and moving towards more challenging variations like rolls. We’ll start by practicing each technique very slowly and then gradually speeding up.


Reels


Jigs


Slip Jigs


Hornpipes


Polkas


Waltzes, solos, further journeys…


Tunes to play with D drone

D Drone

All of the following tunes can be practiced with the D drone track:


Tunes to play with G drone

G Drone

All of the following tunes can be practiced with the G drone track:


Tunes to play with A drone

A Drone

All of the following tunes can be practiced with the A drone track:


Tunes to play with E drone

E Drone

All of the following tunes can be practiced with the E drone track:


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Love your fiddle guarantee™ 

Try out the course, and if you’re not satisfied, just email us within thirty days of purchase for a full refund. No questions asked. ☺️


Frequently Asked Questions

How much time per day will it take?

I recommend that you play at least 20 minutes a day, six days a week.

The great thing about FiddleHed is that you can learn and practice at a time that best fits your schedule. Early morning, during a lunch break, after dinner or at 3 AM (use a practice mute if you have roommates!)  😎

If you’re unsure whether or not you’ll have time, start with just two minutes a day ⏲. Learn more about the Two-Minute Rule.


What’s included in an All-Access subscription?

You get full access to all courses (including this one!) and live workshops with an All-Access subscription. Yearly subscribers also get the FiddleHed Tune Book.


Do I need to know how to read sheet music?

The short answer is no. Our call-and-response teaching and color-coded tabs have helped thousands to learn the fiddle without sheet music.


What if I want to learn to read sheet music?

Being able to read sheet music is a great tool for learning. That said, if you are an absolute beginner, I recommend you wait to learn reading. Start by focusing on learning technique, tunes and having fun. You want to be able to play before you add the additional challenge of note-reading.

I created the course to help people read sheet music in an intuitive way. Students learn to tap into their natural reading ability without getting bogged down in rules and theory. You can either take these lessons as you work through the main course, or you can learn note-reading all at once with the stand-alone course.

Here’s what FiddleHed Joanne has to say about this:

I think your note reading course is fantastic, I can’t think of any improvements to make. I started from absolute scratch, couldn’t read a note and a sheet of music meant absolutely nothing.
I can now look at a new tune and work out the notes and play them (still takes me a little time), then work out the timing and rhythm.
If I look at the sheet music for a tune I know, I can see and hear the notes and rhythm patterns. I got a lot of encouragement & confidence from your mystery tune exercises.

To be clear, the Note-reading for Fiddlers course is included in the All-access subscription.


Can I download the lessons?

Paid subscribers can download audio and sheet music. At this time you can’t download most of the video lessons.

Download the audio clips by clicking the red down arrow.

You can download pdf files of sheet music by opening the pdf and then clicking the download button:


I know I want to sign up for a paid subscription now. How do I do that?

Click here to sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription. It will be good to meet you!


Can I go beyond beginner level with FiddleHed?

Where do you go after the Beginner course? The Intermediate Course, of course 🤓.

The journey doesn’t end there. We also have more advanced courses:

We also give live workshops which will help you to expand your knowledge and make new connections. My students find these to be super valuable. Sometimes I teach a tune by ear. Sometimes we dive deep into a skill like chord backup. And sometimes we take a “Practice Journey” in which we explore different ways to creatively practice a tune.

Click here to check out the replay of the Practice Journey With Bill Cheatham.

Got more questions?

If this doesn’t make sense, just email me. Don’t be shy! I love to hear from new students because it helps me improve the course.


Irish Fiddle Variation – Overview >>


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