Fiddle Classes

Two levels of fiddle instruction are available on a weekly basis at Pleasantview Community Hall, 10860-57 Avenue. Classes begin at 7:00 pm and run for approximately one hour at a cost of $5.00 per week. Non-members are welcome to try out a class for a week or two, and to become members of the Wild Rose Old Tyme Fiddlers Association if they wish to continue lessons.

Fiddle Lessons

This class is suited to people with some familiarity with music, although it is not necessary to read music. Students will acquire fiddle fundamentals of bowing, fingering, scales and arpeggios while learning old time music tunes in a group setting.

This hour long class is for beginners of any age who can play at least one simple tune on the fiddle, showing some knowledge of the strings and the bow. Teaching tunes is mainly done by ear, with sheet music provided as a reference, and students are encouraged to bring a recording device to class to use as further reference in practicing between lessons. The music selection is commonly played music, such as Log Driver’s Waltz or Redwing, with a set list of tunes to work through in class between September and June. Newcomers can join at any time, although will find it easier if they start in the fall, and will be provided with copies of the set list.

Beginners who want to supplement their group instruction with a private lesson immediately following the class are welcome to discuss arrangements for this at the class with the instructor, Laura Wallbank or phone her ahead at 780-973-5120.

Tunes Workshop (Intermediate level)

Intermediate players as well as “advanced beginners” looking to build their repertoire of old time tunes through a more “slow pitch” approach will enjoy this class. A booklet of 10-15 common tunes is provided to group members in September [or to new members who can join the group at any time through the season].

The class includes a few minutes of review of bowing patterns, scales and arpeggios, fingering patterns, reviews tunes from previous classes and works on the next new tune in the repertoire, building toward playing up to the actual tempo of the song. Instruction is both by ear and sheet music, with recording device recommended to help with practicing new tunes. Classes generally occur weekly from September to the end of June.

The instructor, Troy Gates, also leads monthly gigs at seniors’ facilities in the City of Edmonton. The gig group is fluid in membership, drawn from workshop students who are available and who have become reasonably proficient playing up to speed on tunes from a set list of songs.

What Our Students Have to Say….

As a newbie to the club I have found everyone to be very friendly and helpful, and I have enjoyed all the sessions.

SN, Beginners

Having little previous musical instrumental experience and being a late starter (50ish), I was a bit nervous about attending the Beginner Fiddle Lessons at Pleasantview Hall. I needn’t have worried as I was warmly welcomed immediately into the [fortunately] very forgiving group of fellow fiddle initiates. I really appreciate how the classes progress with a moderate, yet challenging pace, learning the first part of a song one week and following up the next with the second part and then putting it all together. We are taught the tunes via the traditional method of playing by ear back to the instructor, phrase-by-phrase, until each part of the song has been mastered. Our instructor, Laura Wallbank, is always ready to provide an opportunity for the students to capture an audio or video recording of the song played at slow tempo and then up-to-speed. Often sheet music is available for take home practice. Some of the songs are selected from the ASF song book which has the score and a companion CD with song sample recordings. Our contest- and award-winning fiddle instructor also has previous classical violin training and is very conscious of noting proper bow grip, posture, arm position, etc., and even includes an ergonomic stretch break at half-time. The fact that I’ve returned the Beginner class for a second year, to polish my skills and learn even more tunes, will attest to my satisfaction with the instruction and how much I enjoy the spirit of camaraderie amongst my fellow students and our patient leader.


Troy takes a fun and light hearted approach to teaching our (Tunes Workshop) class, while teaching fiddle technique and stylistic nuances. The class covers a broad range of repertoire within the old time fiddle genre that can be brought to fiddle jams and performances. Troy has extensive fiddling experience and takes what's on the page and puts it into real life context. I feel more confident playing in the jam circle because I can ask Troy questions and we have the opportunity to practice through the pieces by reading and by ear. It's easy to memorize the songs from class because Troy breaks down the pieces into building block patterns and points out how it's laid out in terms of repetition and contrasting sections. I appreciate the weekly review to help gel what we've covered in the past weeks and months.


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