Fiddles and Frost!
Friday and Saturday hosted two very different types of students and both traveled from far away. One came from Ohio and the other New Jersey. They emailed me, made plans, and paid online for a day on the farm to start learning this old instrument. I offer the whole package: violin, case, bow, lessons, and place to learn. They have to come with an open mind and a sense of humor.
I ordered them student fiddles and prepared the farm for long hours of instruction. It means doing chores earlier, making sure everything is okay for 6-8 hours away from me. But prepping the place for company is easy. It's the students themselves I am never sure about. Beside their left-or-right-handedness I know nothing about them.
Some new fiddlers show up and soar through the lessons from their first glide over the A string. Others struggle. They furrow their brows and try to understand why their wrists, brain, and fingers can’t dance together. Why they can’t make music out of this weird configuration of wood and metal? I try to hide my smile, because I know it is the ones who struggle that end up being fiddlers. Every squeak and squawk is a victory roar to me. And this farm is nothing if not a safe place to make mistakes. I am proud to say so far not a single person who came to my intro-to-fiddle workshops has left without playing their first scale, song, and understanding shuffling and droning.
I do apologize for not posting yesterday. I was spent. A full day private class here runs from 9AM into the evening if the players choose, but most students are too tired and finger-tip-sore by 3PM to play much longer. So we might walk around the farm, this scrappy little corner of a mountain. Maybe spend some time beside Merlin or the sheep - mostly go from strangers to acquaintances. It's really enjoyable for me - to meet some of you and share a little of this life. It's not a magazine spread or a vacation - more of a disheveled musical boot camp - but everyone so far has been game for the challenge and left with a grin on their face and an instrument in their hands.
Looks like rain for the rest of today and I hope to treat it like a Sunday. Temperatures are about to dip into the mid-thirties here so a frost is possible. I have wood inside to light a fire tonight and hopefully will order more soon. The goal towards winter has been a crawl, trying to make sales is tough, but once or twice a week I manage to sell a logo - which is a big help. I am remaining really optimistic about running into better luck soon. I'm due for some, for sure.
Thank you to the fiddlers who came this weekend. Thank you to the three folks who are scheduled to attend yet this fall (there are still open weekends before Thanksgiving) and to the trio of ladies coming to learn about soapmaking too. I'm excited to share my world with you for a bit.