I had a wonderful time during my fourth trip to the International Fiddle Camp at the Peace Garden on the North Dakota/Canadian border. There were many familiar faces, and the young kids from four years ago are now mostly grown up and becoming great musicians. There are also a number of parents who have taken up instruments, too! We focused this year on fiddle tunes written or recorded by Bill Monroe, and we also learned a few swing tunes.
I had the great pleasure of working with the 4th graders at Morris Elementary School last May. Our goal was to write a song about the joys and wonders of living in Morris, so I spent an hour with each of the three classes, singing, talking about how some songs tell stories, and doing writing exercises. What I came away with was quite a long list of the things the students enjoyed/thought about/found unique about Morris, and then I took that home and wrote and recorded the song for them. It was very satisfying for me, and from the looks on some of the faces, I think the students enjoyed it, too! (Photo courtesy of Morris Sun Tribune)
Here’s my first blog about teaching! I’ve been teaching since about 1970, when I taught guitar at William’s Music in Sioux Falls, SD as a high school student. Since then, I’ve also taught German, French and English at the High School and College levels, as well as continuing to teach music. I have since included teaching songwriting, clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, mandolin, mandola, mandocello, fiddle, dobro, bass and ukulele. I’ve also given workshops on harmony singing and arranging. I’m interested in sharing some of my techniques and things I’ve learned over the years which I find useful and helpful, and I’d love to hear from you about your challenges, successes, questions, etc about teaching and working with teachers.