Fiddlekids Summer Music Camp - for fiddlers and violinists

fiddlekids summer fiddle camp logo

Announcing dates for fiddlekids 2017!

fiddlekids - week 1

Weekday classes – June 26-30

9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Berkwood Hedge School
1809 Bancroft Way, Berkeley


Saturday Concert – July 1
Location: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison St., Berkeley


Week 1 Instructors:




fiddlekids – week 2

Weekday classes – July 10-14

9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Berkwood Hedge School
1809 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

Saturday Concert – July 15
Location: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison St., Berkeley


Week 2 Instructors:






Registration  for both weeks of camp will be open at the beginning of January 2017. 

To join the fiddlekids email list, or for further information, please email

click here to see the 2016 fiddlekids flyer


fiddlekids 2017


Now in its twentieth 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, Cajun, Balkan, Scandinavian, 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


  • Morning fiddle: Class I
  • Recess (10 to 15 minutes)
  • Morning fiddle: Class II
  • Dance/Art — half the camp goes to each activity
  • Lunch and lunch-time recess
  • Art/Dance — the kids that had art now go to dance, and vice versa
  • Afternoon fiddle: Class III
  • Recess, snacks, and pickup
  • NOTE: Each activity (fiddle, dance, and art) is roughly one hour long

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.

Camp materials


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
1809 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA.

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.


2016 Instructors

2015 Instructors 

2014 Instructors 
Previous fiddlekids instructors & fiddle resources
2013 Instructors


fiddlekids preview video


fiddlekids youth fiddle camp logo


— fiddlekids® is a trademark of the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse —

Logo design by Marlene Walters

fiddlekids is made possible through the generous support of the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation.



Freight & Salvage Calendar of Events

Listen to sample tracks from upcoming artists.