“Brian Wicklund’s American Fiddle Method is an idea whose time has come. It’s well organized, correctly paced, and most importantly, it teaches the real stuff.”
–Tim O’Brien; fiddler, recording artist www.timobrien.net
“A delightful fiddle primer… the best I’ve seen.”
“This is a wonderful, user-friendly publication. The songs are well graded, the illustrations are helpful and fun, and the CD that accompanies the book is excellent… I would definitely recommend this fiddle method book for any young violinist who wants to fiddle!”
–Marilyn O’Boyle; Suzuki violin teacher trainer
"I like the combination of ear-training and sight-reading... This method combines all of the fundamentals of fiddling with a dose of humor."
–Stuart Duncan; fiddler, recording artist, International Bluegrass Music Association Fiddler of the Year, Nashville, TN
"This method is very adaptable to Suzuki private studio and public school teaching as well as do-it-yourself beginners. I am anxious to begin using it with my students!"
–Kristine Grandias; Suzuki teacher and Orchestra Director of Forest Lake Public Schools, MN
"The book is extremely user friendly; with appealing pictures and explanations that make learning the pieces easy and clear... My students are going to love this book."
–Nina Westbrook; Suzuki violin teacher, Burnsville, MN
5 out of 5 stars “A great place to start!”
“For the beginning and wannabe fiddler, such as I, this is an excellent book. It explains well and does not assume the user is already an expert. It is not a substitute for practicing, but if the fiddler is willing, this is book a big help.”
5 out of 5 stars “A Fun Way to Learn the Basics”
“I played classical violin for 8 years, then took a 20 year break. I tried taking adult violin lessons, but the music my teacher selected was so difficult I didn't enjoy it. I bought this book on a whim, and I can't stop playing it. I'm having so much fun re-learning how to play. The book starts off easy, and gets progressively more difficult, although all the songs are at a beginner level. The CD makes it easy to work on intonation and it's like having your own band to play with. The DVD gives visual reminders on technique that are really helpful too. I loved this set, and have just ordered Volume II.”
5 out of 5 stars “Good beginning book and class companion
“I bought this book so I could get a head start on an Intro to Fiddle class. I also got the DVD. I couldn't be happier. It's a great companion to my class and gives me some extra practice material when I get through the songs we learn in class. The author does a great job of explaining techniques and giving tips. It's like having a tutor in addition to the class teacher.”
5 out of 5 stars “Motivating Music for Beginning Violinists”
My 9-year old daughter started classical violin 8 months ago. I bought her this book so she would have something different to play than her Suzuki music. She's already mastered book one and is in to book two. She has so much fun with the songs and, though her teacher works on some of them with her, she has learned many of the fiddle techniques just by reading the text in the book and listening to the CD. My daughter's favorite selection is "Stinky Blues," which was written by Brian Wicklund. I was so pleased when my 14 year old beginning guitar student learned the chords to a few of the songs and now they occasionally play along together. My only question: When does book 3 come out?
5 out of 5 stars “Good Starter Book”
“I am just learning to play fiddle. I already know how to read music and play a little trumpet, French horn, piano and guitar. But fiddle is new to me and this book is a terrific beginner book. I really enjoy the CD play along, it makes it much more fun to feel like you are having a jam session. I don't have other musician's around to play with so I really like the CD. The book is easy to follow, and has served me well as my teacher, since there are also no fiddle teachers where I live. I would definitely recommend this book.”
5 out of 5 stars "The very best beginners fiddle instructions!”
“I wanted to learn how to play the fiddle, and had absolutely no knowledge about any instrument, and notes, and "how notes worked". I bought this book, along with a dozen other "beginner" books, but the only one I really ever needed to get started was this wonderful book, which shows finger placements, and "where" the notes are "placed" on the violin, and after only two weeks, I was playing a beautiful Irish song "The Arran Boat Song", which was easy to learn, after listening to the CD (Which by the way, is so beautiful, that I sometimes just put on the CD, as background music, at home). Can be truly recommended to any beginner (and intermediate) player of the fiddle!”
–Persson Anders "Fiddle Castro" (Sweden)
5 out of 5 stars “Awesome”
“We love this book and CD. My 5 year old is learning the fiddle and spends hours studying this book and listening to the CD. He just started the violin one month ago and can already play ‘shave and a haircut.’”
5 out of 5 stars “Fantastic”
“This is a great companion to the book and CD. When the kids and I disagree about technique, it is great to have this DVD to turn to and solve the problem. Very well done and easy to use and understand.”
5 out of 5 stars “Excellent for Beginners”
“I've recently begun fulfilling a forty-plus-year dream of learning to play the fiddle, and bought a couple of DVDs to support this wish. The first DVD lesson was nice, but the presenter/instructor seemed disorganized, flowing sort of "stream of consciousness...sort of "oh, and another thing...". The second was more organized, but featured the DULLEST person in the world talking to the camera as if his views already understood music theory, relying heavily on tablature, which is accompanies the DVD but is deuce difficult to hold while bowing. I also got an "old-time fiddle" instructional DVD which is nice, quirky, and simplified, but not satisfying by itself, and not useful without a good instructional DVD as a basis....then, I bought Mr. Wicklund's DVD.
Mr. Wicklund takes the viewer through the BASICS, from holding the instrument (get ready to tone a few unused muscles), hold and use the bow, tuning (so you don't break a string), how to stop strings for scales, all the stuff covered in the other DVDs I've seen...but, in a friendly, inviting, organized and easy to understand way. Not trying to sound dramatic, his DVD makes the learning of what can be an unforgiving instrument seem actually POSSIBLE. He then goes slowly through 22 songs, one or two strings at first and then progressively more difficult. He uses the songs to help the student work on and groove in points and skills he's covered. Then he stops, adds a skill (high and low positions of the second and third fingers, for instance, or drones), and then gives you more songs to practice. Each song is presented with a video window showing his fingering, then it's broken up and covered slowly, and then he'll stop and give you pointers on the song. Finally, he shows you how to play backup, as in bluegrass music, bowing chords to back up someone's solo. This part seems to require the book and a bit more detail than is given in the DVD, but the book's readily available and cheap, too, and I'd recommend getting it (I have yet to). The lessons are graduated and the DVD is conveniently broken up into chapters, making it easier to use for the casual or busy student as well as the rosin-addict. You can spend a week on one skill, going back to your week's (or month's) chapter, and see that progress can be made.
Finally, it's 2 hrs long, TWICE AS LONG as almost everyone else's DVDs.
I can readily believe, as Mr. Wicklund says on the DVD, that his students take 4-8 months to cover the material covered in the DVD. For a brick-head and ham-hand like me, it looks like it'll take longer, and yet this DVD leads me to believe that even I can do it. Mr. Wicklund has two books out, but only this DVD so far. I look forward to his producing another. I may be ready for it when it comes out. In the meantime, I'm hot to buy his books and get on with it. I say with no exaggeration that Mr. Wicklund's treatment of what might be a humbling subject -- learning through some of the most spine-shattering off-notes only the dog could hear (you wish), and controlling that bloody bow -- seem a perfectly achievable goal.
Thanks, Mr. W!
I just wanted to tell you that I'm very pleased with your American Fiddle Method: Volume 2 video. I actually tour with it in a backpack and watch it consistently. It's obvious that you paid careful attention to make the video very easy to work with as a student. Thanks for that.–Ryne Jackson
He created "The American Fiddle Method" to develop a quality, organized, and comprehensive instructional music program that now includes books for fiddle, viola, cello, piano and mandolin. All of the respective books have the elementary tunes in the same keys, and the page numbers all coincide with the same ones in the fiddle book. In this enchanting cello book, I was also impressed at their inclusion of a separate table which has the same tunes from the table of contents rearranged into an "order of difficulty" sequence.
The classic tunes include Angelia Baker, Arran Boat Song, Boil 'em Cabbage Down, Bonaparte's Retreat, Buffalo Gals, Camptown Races, Cindy, Crawdad Song, Cripple Creek, Girl I Left Behind Me, Grandfather's Clock, Old Joe Clark, Red Haired Boy, Red Wing, Shortnin' Bread, Soldier's Joy, Turkey in the Straw, and a few more. Various fundamental techniques taught include practice tips, positions, fiddle tune parts, introductions, slurs, bowing, staccato, double stops, slides, and beginning backup. For this book, Brian collaborated with cellist Faith Farr who performs with the Minnesota Sinfonia and teaches at MacPhail Center for Music.
I'm certain that classical music teachers will find the user-friendly "American Fiddle Method" to be a great motivational tool for student orchestras that need some fun diversions for their amusement, pleasure and entertainment. The most effective learning is that which is fun and inspirational, and Wicklund's well-paced method relies on a combination of ear training and sight-reading. Tune variations show how they can serve as a basis for improvisation. Ensemble skills are taught with chords and lyrics, basic music theory, and demonstrations of such skills as backup and lead playing. Nicely illustrated by Gary Meader and Brian Barber, the book also includes a word game, a review chart, and information on how to arrange the tunes. The accompanying CD has a band playing and singing the tunes. The cello is in the stereo's right channel, so a student can adjust the balance far left and play along with the band. –Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now
"Brian Wicklund's American Fiddle Method for Cello has it all –tunes, backup, lyrics, history, theory, technique, and most importantly, fun!!! With the help of this book, cellists will never have to hear the question 'Can you fiddle on a cello?' again!"–Natalie Haas, fiddling cello virtuoso, New York, NY
"An amazing volume of great tunes and techniques by two of my favorite fiddlers."–Matt Glaser, String Chair, Berklee College of Music
"The concept of this book - Ten Tunes, Ten Ornaments - is great! Fantastic organization, great tunes and a systematized approach... Overall a magnificent effort!"–Richard Greene, fiddler and recording artist
"I've always said that sheet music is just a road map...this book is more of a GPS because it gives you alternate routes to take. It shows you that there isn't just one way to play a tune. A great music book, indeed."–Calvin Vollrath, fiddler and recording artist
"I love this book! April and Brian – two wonderful fiddlers (one Canadian!) and teachers – have written a perfect guide to Canadian fiddle music, with all the tools to play it right. They present the history of the tunes, the barebones versions of the tunes, and then the traditional bowings and ornaments to challenge any fiddler. I think present fans of Canadian fiddling are going to find themselves joined by a new legion of fiddlers who'll have started with this book. With such a good start – they'll be welcome."–Liz Carroll, fiddler and recording artist
"I received the book a couple of days ago and I'm delighted with it. It answers many questions I had about different styles and the descriptions of the ornamentation techniques are excellent. In addition to playing the tunes, I'm playing the ornaments in made-up combinations that are great fun and help with my improvising.
Thank you very much."–Cathy Van Ruhan