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Practical Music Theory for the Traditional Fiddler with Amy Alvey

April 15, 2021 @ 3:00 pm

The Handmade Music School presents Practical Music Theory for the Traditional Fiddler on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:00 EDT. The workshop will be presented via Crowdcast as part of our Handmade at Home online series. Cost is $1 to $100 (suggested donation of $15).

Workshop with Amy Alvey 2021-04-15

Academic jargon isn’t important when it comes to an authentic old time sound. Though not essential, getting familiar with basic harmony can be useful for those newer to traditional styles. In this workshop we’ll define our major scale, and from there explore scale degrees, intervals, and chord building in Western-centric harmony. Understanding these concepts will help discern melody, chord theory, and improvisation in old time and bluegrass music.

Geared towards all performance levels who are new to music theory. Instruction in relation to the fiddle will be the primary focus, however, all concepts can be applied to banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass. Ability to read sheet music is helpful, though not required.

Amy Alvey started playing violin 22 years ago, playing in orchestras in Southern California until she discovered old time and bluegrass fiddling in college. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance, studying with modern innovators of acoustic music such as Matt Glaser, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Eugene Friesen, John McGann, and Mimi Rabson. Since then, Amy has dedicated most of her summers traveling to fiddler’s conventions, and has placed at prestigious old time fiddle contests, notably 10th place at Galax, 5th place at Mount Airy and 2nd place at Clifftop. She’s taught at camps and workshops across the country including Blackpot Camp, Dare to Be Square DMV, the Bellingham Folk Festival, and at the Dorrigo Old Time Music School in Australia. These days, Amy’s approach revolves around studying field recordings and 78 “hillbilly” records, attempting to grasp the spirit of different fiddlers’ styles and how one can incorporate it in their own playing. She also tours nationally and internationally (Australia, U.K., Canada, Europe) with her duo, Golden Shoals. While quarantining during COVID-19 she’s created a play along practice resource called “Tune Packs”, which include backing tracks at different tempos and a teaching video for students to improve their rhythm and feel. Find out more info at amyalvey.bandcamp.com and goldenshoals.com.


Please consider a donation to today’s teaching artist and The Handmade Music School (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization). Thanks!

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