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Making sweet music

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Providence (Feb 04/05) - Stella Pellissey gets great satisfaction from playing a fiddle.

She wants others to feel enriched by making music, but she lacked knowledge of how to impart her skills with confidence to others.

"Teaching is a whole different ball game. You have to learn that," she said.

By taking part in a fiddle teachers workshop in Fort Providence last week, she has started to acquire a better understanding of how to be a fiddle instructor. She reviewed the basics of proper finger position on a bow, how to hold a fiddle, how to take command of a classroom full of students, how to read music, play notes and teach the first elementary tunes to students.

"At first you have to model, then you actually teach it," she said. "I'm kind of new at it. I'm just learning."

Accomplished fiddlers Carolyn Hatch and Jaime Rokeby-Thomas, both of Salt Spring Island, B.C., and Hay River's Andrea Bettger gave the lessons Jan. 28-30.

Five advanced young students from Wrigley also attended the workshop. With up to four years of experience, those students need exposure to master fiddlers, Pellissey noted. "They're at that level where they can learn so much more from a far more skilled fiddler," she said.

Violet Landry, who instructs a small group of youth twice each week in Fort Providence, said she learned some new notes and new songs at the workshop.

"It went great," she said of the weekend event, adding that some of the more experienced young fiddlers are getting close to making the transition to novice instructor themselves.

"If I could supervise them and help them out, I'm pretty sure they could teach the beginners," said Landry.