Fiddlekids Summer Music Camp - for fiddlers and violinists
Now in its nineteenth year, fiddlekids is a unique, fun-filled summer day camp devoted to traditional fiddle music. We welcome young violin students and fiddlers, ages 7 to 15, with at least one year of playing experience. No previous fiddling is required. Camp is divided into skill-based groups of roughly 15 fiddlers, and each child attends classes with three of the camp's fiddle instructors.
The fiddlekids experience
Our camp is a great opportunity for children to explore and learn a wide range of traditional fiddling styles—bluegrass, American old-time, Appalachian, Irish, Scottish, jazz, swing, and blues—through tunes, songs, dance.
Boasting a superb teaching staff and a wonderfully supportive atmosphere, fiddlekids has introduced hundreds of youngsters to the lively and delightful fiddle repertoire. We’ve also inspired many of our alumni to enjoy a life-long relationship with their instrument, traditional fiddle music, and folk music culture.
By learning to memorize tunes on-the-fly without music notation, kids learn the traditional aural style of sharing and learning fiddle tunes. This skill points many kids on a new trajectory, preparing them to participate in folk music camps, jam sessions, and fiddle workshops, where playing by ear is expected. Ear training also provides a new level of confidence and performance proficiency, particularly for those who struggle with reading music. Read more about learning to play fiddle tunes by ear ...
In addition to fiddling, the camp offers dance and art classes in age-based groups that provide good old-fashioned fun and deeper connections with traditional music.
A day at fiddlekids summer camp
The fiddlekids concert — free admission
Camp culminates with the fiddlekids recital, an exciting public performance on the Freight & Salvage stage. This lovely show highlights the kids' accomplishments across a wide range of fiddling styles.
By the end of camp most kids have memorized three to six tunes, and they'll fiddle most of them at the concert. The performance also showcases dances learned from our dance instructor.
We'll have the kid's beautiful artwork, created under the guidance of our art instructor, displayed in the lobby.
When camp starts we'll email a link that provides access to the collection of instructor-made recordings for this year's camp. The collection includes fast and slow recordings for most tunes.
Please encourage your young fiddlers to listen daily, at home and/or during the commute to camp. They'll learn their fiddle tunes faster and more easily with repeated listening.
A brief nightly review will yield a much deeper grasp of the material, and a head start for the next day. Many parents say, "This is the first time I've seen my kid come home after any class and want to practice!"
After camp each fiddlekids family receives music notation for all fiddle tunes taught, plus some tunes that were recorded but untaught, usually about 24 tunes in all. The notation allows the kids to review the music, to understand it from another perspective, and to work on favorite tunes that the other kids learned.
The fiddlekids camp weekday classes are held at:
Berkwood Hedge School
The Saturday concert is at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.
Camp founder and history
Bobbi Nikles founded and ran fiddlekids single-handedly for 12 years, later continuing as director for an additional two years after fiddlekids became a program of the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. John Blasquez was fiddlekids director from 2012 to 2014, while Bobbi graciously continued to provide input and guidance.
fiddlekids preview video
— fiddlekids® is a trademark of the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse —
fiddlekids is made possible through the generous support of the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation.
Listen to sample tracks from upcoming artists.