Why I teach – Fiddle as a metaphor for Life

I had an interesting interplay of communications today with regards to a couple of Facebook posts I made. One post was a quote from John Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933):

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will


Getting the feet wet … again

It seems I have a propensity to procrastinate. So many thoughts and ideas go through my head every day that I want to put down in writing. Instead, I end up spending my time performing, practicing, teaching, or (gasp!) dawdling…


Letting Go Redux – Fiddling as a metaphor 4 life

One of my adult students recounted a story tonight about attending the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Competition in California and being blown away by the effortless skills of so many youngsters.

“I’m watching their hands and arms, and they’re playing…


Skill & Generosity – Fiddle as a metaphor 4 life

Someone said to me recently, “One thing I’ve noticed time and time again: The more skilled the player, the more generous he seems to be.” He was complementing me on being very generous in a performance where I shared the…


Total Abandon and Vibrato: Fiddle as a Metaphor 4 Life

Have you ever had one of those days where you find you’re telling yourself, “Physician, heal thyself”? I’ve had that kind of day for the past several weeks.

Let me begin with a bit of background.

A long, long time…


Drawn in by the music

Mary Pat, one of our Tom Begin’s session attendees, made an enlightening observation after last night’s fun. She was talking to a gentleman who was “drawn in by the music”. He started by the bar at the other end of…


Trad Session guidelines at Tom Bergin’s Tavern

An interesting thing happened early this morning. Padraic Conroy, my co-host at the Tom Bergin’s Wednesday night trad session in LA, sends me a text message he received from the management of Tom Bergin’s Tavern. It seems that, after only…


Relevancy and Pete Seeger

I have so many topics running through my mind: Justin Bieber, The Grammys, the State of the Union, Kanye West, Same Sex Marriage, Racism, Misogyny, Justin Bieber ….

The truth is, I really feel the need to write something important…


Broke as hell, but I still feel rich!

The last two months of 2013 conspired to make me loathe Ramen noodles. I mean, I tried everything from adding hot peppers and Tapatio to adding brown rice.

The funny thing is, as broke as I am I still feel…


Reflections at Christmas time

Im sitting in my recording studio earlier this evening, relaxing after teaching a fiddle lesson. Suddenly, like a tsunami, I am hit with wave after wave of emotional distress. Feelings of sadness and heartache, loneliness, and depression. As the waves…


Old notions – Fiddle as a metaphor 4 life

Old notions can be detrimental.

Way back in the dark ages when I was in High School, I remember my dad telling me, Son, the best way to build your credit is to charge your credit card to the max…


Ornamentations in Trad Music: Fiddle as a metaphor 4 life

Over a month ago, well before Halloween, I walked into Costco and heard Christmas music playing over the loudspeakers. It depressed me.

Now, a week before Thanksgiving, we are well and truly into the holiday season here in the United…