16 Easy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddle Songs
Seven-time national fiddle champion, Grammy nominated recording artist, teacher, singer, touring musician, and flatfooter, Megan Lynch Chowning, hasn’t forgotten the challenges facing a newcomer and transitioning fiddle student. This teacher has true talent in recalling the apprehension and desire newer fiddlers have on where to start, how to learn particular songs and practical ideas on to get to that next level.
Her recently released book, 16 Easy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddle Songs is designed to teach, encourage, and inspire the beginner fiddler as well as the intermediate player. Megan’s choice of tunes equips the fiddler for jam sessions while providing practical steps towards performance. The audio she provides enhances ear training and propels melody perception while clarifying the nuances and rhythm of each song.
Megan has a well-designed introduction to basic technique, fingerings, bowing, and music theory. Providing both standard notation and tablature, her style of teaching creates confidence and understanding in non-readers of music. This book would also be a great resource for mandolin players.
Each song has performance notes, a beginner version of the melody and an intermediate version with variations. Megan has included straight ahead fiddle tunes as well as vocal tunes where the fiddler can learn basic instrumental breaks. From “Arkansas Traveler,” “Big Sciota,” “Kitchen Girl,” “Squirrel Hunters,” and “St. Anne’s Reel” to “Banks of the Ohio,” “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and more, the beginner and intermediate fiddlers will appreciate her creative care and detail.
With intent design, Megan introduces and cleverly intersperses bluegrass licks throughout the book helping the student to understand the appropriate time and place to use these cool phrases. The inclusion of chords would have been appreciated and utilized for a broader understanding of what melodies are built on, and of course useful for those beginning and intermediate guitar friends wanting to back you up!
There is so much to learn and enjoy in 16 Easy Bluegrass and Old-time Fiddle Songs while taking you successfully to that next level. Definitely, a great resource, good tunes, and a whole lot of fun! Thank-you Megan!