Get ready for Mull Fiddle Week

Clock tower performance at Tobermory during 2021 Mull Fiddle Week

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Mull Music Makers are over the moon to be hosting the island’s second Fiddle Week this August.

The event builds on the success of last year when almost 40 young people came together from Mull, the Highlands and Argyll to take part.

The five-day course is open to school-age players from across Argyll and Bute and  begins in Salen on Monday August 1.

Expert tutors including Patsy Reid, right, will travel to Mull for the five-day event.

During the week, youngsters will be immersed in the spirit and energy of
traditional music as they learn to play rhythmically in new arrangements composed
specially for Mull Fiddle Week by lead tutor Patsy Reid.

‘After the wonderful inaugural summer school of 2021, I’m delighted to be returning to Mull this August to curate the second Mull Fiddle Week. With hand-selected, world class tutors and a unique tutor training programme, we are delighted to be working with Mull Music Makers again, building on their traditional Scottish repertoire and their ensemble and performance skills.

‘It is particularly important to me to maintain and celebrate the excellent foundations of good string technique amongst the young musicians, which have been conscientiously built over the past decade or so, and the results of which are a pleasure to see/hear and build upon,’ said top Scottish fiddle player and composer Patsy.

She added: ‘One of the things I loved most about last year’s event was the fact all the young players were able to spontaneously perform together at the clock tower in Tobermory with no music stands or sheet music. No matter the age or ability, everyone had a valuable part to play, from open strings to countermelodies and, of course, the traditional melodies that resonate with everyone and provide the fabric of island culture.

‘What’s more, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait.’

Workshops will focus on learning to play traditional fiddle tunes by ear as well as active learning through movement using Dalcroze techniques.

There will also be creative composition classes exploring traditional melodies, harmony, accompaniment and groove.

More advanced players will explore bowing techniques, articulation and ornamentation relevant to traditional style.

An expert team of tutors, led by Patsy, will travel to Mull and stay for the week. Patsy will also lead a training programme for experienced young players and/or local musicians wanting to grow their own teaching skills.

‘Last year we had a tuba player from Ardnamurchan, a multi-instrumentalist from Skye as well as young promising violin/fiddle players,’ said Mull Fiddle Week organiser Laura Mandleberg.

Musician Emily Goan, who took part in last year’s event, said: ‘It has opened my eyes to the possibility of arrangements and how they can allow everyone to feel they have an equal part and play together, regardless of level.’

Lucy Houston, who also took part in 2021’s Mull Fiddle Week, added: ‘This was one of the best weeks of my life. It was so much fun and such an incredible learning experience. It was wonderful to meet other music enthusiasts and learn how they teach. Although challenging, learning by ear is a great way to teach.’

This year there will be several performance opportunities to help develop performers’ confidence, including pop-up performances and informal sessions in island venues.

‘We are extremely grateful for funding support from Creative Scotland’s Recovery Fund for Arts Organisations and other grants, including the Scottish Sea Farms’ Heart of the Community Fund,’ added Laura.


Caption: A clock tower performance at Tobermory during Mull Fiddle Week 2021.