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‘Fiddling is so much more than playing tunes….. just as fishing is so much more than catching.’

Fiddleheads with Dominique Dodge

Pick the group that matches you and your instrument…..

  • beginners: you’ve got an instrument and you’re taking lessons from someone, but you’re fairly new to playing fiddle tunes, Fiddleheads or learning in a group, you are just learning to play by ear, you are beginning to be able to hear and play a short sequence of notes you hear someone else plays slowly
  • advanced beginners: you’ve learned to play some simple fiddle tunes by ear either at Fiddleheads or from someone else, you can hear a short sequence of notes played slowly by someone else and reproduce them on your instrument after a few attempts, you haven’t had a lot of experience learning in a group setting
  • intermediates: you’re able to learn and remember fiddle tunes by ear, you are able to play tunes you have learned for others who are listening, you’ve had experience learning in a group setting, you can hear a bar or 2 of music played slowly and reproduce them on your instrument after one or two attempts

More info about Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads with Pascal Gemme

The primary goal of Fiddleheads is the enjoyment of traditional music and playing that music with others. Regular participation is encouraged for a residency series but not an expectation long term. Other than a suggested donation there is no cost associated with being part of the group.

When do sessions start and end? If there are multiple sessions on a single day, each session lasts not longer than an hour. Players who feel confident in an earlier segment can stay for the next one if they feel they can stick with the next level.

What will you learn? One or two tunes are typically taught in each session. If the session is part of residency or series by the same instructor, they may re-visit/re-teach tunes that have been taught previously. Sessions are also used to prepare repertoire for public appearances. The type of tunes learned depends on who the group leader is. Sometimes its music from Quebec, sometimes Ireland, sometimes Scotland….. typically from places and sources with an active fiddling tradition. Tunes are taught by ear. Sometimes sheet music is provided by the group leader, but not always. If provided, sheet music and recordings are most often sent via e-mail after the session is over.  If you’re new to the group and want those things, make sure you ask and we have your e-mail address.

Fiddleheads with Lisa Ornstein

All melody instruments welcome, not just fiddles. Fiddlers are in the majority at the sessions, but those who play harp, cello, banjo, mandolin, whistle, pipes and others have also been involved. Guitar, keyboard and other accompaniment-oriented players are welcome, but the teaching is mostly melody/tune-oriented.  Players of other instruments have participated and are most welcome, but they should be fairly comfortable with listening and being able to transfer notes they hear to their own instrument.  There won’t likely be anything like ‘put your 1st finger on the 2nd string’ as it applies to instruments other than fiddle.

Where? online or at the Burlington Violin Shop in Burlington

When? Most often Saturday mornings, usually mid to late morning. E-mail notices sent in advance of each session. Write to to be put on the mailing list.

1st generation Fiddleheads 2009

What to have/bring? Bring your instrument, a tuning device (if you use one) and a recording device as needed. Recordings of all tunes taught at each session are e-mailed after the session to those who attend.

What playing level? See the description of each section above.

What does it cost? Typically a $5 donation per session is requested. First timers or non-players are welcome to observe without contributing. Checks should be made out to Young Tradition Vermont (or ‘YTV’).

Fiddleheads in Vermont Life

You can just show up if you want to, but there’s room for a limited number of in person participants and online sessions. It is helpful if you can RSVP your plans with an e-mail to We also send messages about canceling if there’s not more than 4 or 5 confirmed. Best to let us know if you’re planning on attending.

Additional information about Fiddleheads is available on the group’s Facebook page.