7 Essential Techniques To Improve Your Celtic Fiddle Playing
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7 Essential Techniques To Improve Your Celtic Fiddle Playing

Tips And Tricks To Developing A Distinctive Celtic Fiddle Sound Based On Over Thirty Years of Colin's Experience
5.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
13 students enrolled
Created by Colin MacLeod
Last updated 11/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 33 mins on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Find out about learning tunes without sheet music
  • Apply 3 Celtic Fiddle Techniques and Decorations To Tunes
  • Hone your bow control
  • Bring It Altogether
View Curriculum
  • You should have your own violin and bow or have access to one
  • You should already be familiar with basic bowing and the placement of fingers on the violin strings

Course Description

Over the years, it has been wonderful to see musicians playing a few Celtic fiddle tunes with friends, perhaps at a house dinner or in a music session at a local bar.

Joining in with the music is probably the most fun part of all.

And this course has been created to help fiddle and violin players on their Celtic fiddle music journey and most importantly, having fun whilst playing Celtic fiddle music.

Take The Next Steps On Your Musical Playing Journey With The Seven Essential Techniques for Celtic Fiddle

  • Short Engaging Presentations
  • Simple Exercises
  • Learn On The Go
  • Ideas on how to create your own musical adventures are also included

Understand Some of The Secrets Of Celtic Fiddle Playing With The Seven Essential Techniques

There are many benefits to playing Celtic fiddle. You can develop the skill of learning to play a fiddle tune by ear and this skill alone makes it more fun to join in playing with other people at a music session!

And very often there is the question,'Where do I start if I want to take the next steps on my Celtic fiddle journey or improve my Celtic fiddle playing?'

Well, the Seven Essential Techniques, created by Colin MacLeod, provides you with that opportunity to take those next steps.

Contents and Overview

This course contains 11 segments and over thirty minutes of compacted teaching time, excluding the practice and application of the exercises.

The course is designed for someone who wishes to take the next steps on their Celtic fiddle playing journey and have fun whilst doing so!

In this course, you will learn the Seven Essential Techniques to take your Celtic fiddle playing to the next level.

You'll discover the art of learning a tune by ear, ways to bring a tune alive and ways to apply those skills.

You'll also receive bonus material that reinforces what you have learnt and will give you a few ideas of what to do next!

What are the requirements?

  • A desire to take the next steps on your Celtic fiddle playing journey

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over thirty years of Colin's Celtic fiddle playing and teaching experience crammed into this course!
  • By the end of this course, you will be able to join in with more musical conversations with friends, both old and new and play with more energy!
  • Your Celtic fiddle playing will sound brighter and fresher!
  • You will have the skills to learn a Celtic fiddle tune from scratch and colour it with your own voice!

Who is the target audience?

  • Fiddle players have are beginning their Celtic fiddle playing journey
  • Violinists who would like to learn more about Celtic fiddle
  • Someone who has been learning violin, has taken a break and is returning to playing again and would like to join in playing at Celtic music sessions

Who is the target audience?
  • This Celtic Fiddle course is for violinists, returning fiddle players and beginner fiddle players who are interested in taking their Celtic fiddle playing to the next level. No prior knowledge of Celtic fiddle playing is needed. This course is probably not for you if you are looking to learn more advanced decoration techniques
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Curriculum For This Course
Start Your Celtic Fiddle Journey Here
11 Lectures 32:59

Well, here we are.

Thank you for signing up for this course to take your Celtic fiddle playing to the next level.

In this course, through a series of videos, text and mp3 files, I'll walk you through some of what I deem to be 7 essential elements to take your Celtic fiddle playing to the next level.

So, let's begin!

I'll catch up with you shortly!


P.S. Make you have put rosin on your bow and tuned your violin before you begin!

Preview 01:13

Sometimes playing from sheet music can mean missing the moment for a tune to be played.

This can be a bit frustrating.

However, there is a solution, learning a tune by ear!

One method to learning a tune by ear is to watch another fiddle player's fingers as they play the tune.

Exercise 1.

Watch the video in the Resources section where I play a Scottish tune.

The video shows the fingering for the tune.

Set the video to play on repeat then play the finger patterns along with the video.

Believe it or not, you are learning a tune by ear!

Preview 01:34

Playing with a good sound enriches the tune playing.

How is this done?

Watch the video to find out more!

Note : One of the things is the partnership between the fingers and bow


- Remembering the tips in the video, practise up and down bows on an open string.

- Practise bowing on an open string with slow, long bows and then with faster, shorter bows.

- Notice the difference in sound.

Over a period of time, the outcome would to be able to play a faster paced tune with good sound.

Preview 01:30

There are various was to learn how to play triplets.

Watch the video to find out how Shivers MacRegal became a top triplet player.


Practise the triplets technique which Shivers MacRegal uses to create his unique triplet sound.

- Do this twenty times in a row.

- Stop and have a break.

- Repeat the exercise.

Preview 02:20

The Grace Note is a very unassuming way to decorate a piece of Celtic fiddle music.

It is a decoration where part of the value of a main note is given to the decoration note.

Watch the video for some ideas on how to incorporate the decoration into your playing.


Pick a Celtic fiddle tune or song which you like to play.

Play the tune and incorporate the decoration into the tune.

Perhaps record yourself playing the tune.

Listen to the playback to hear how you have incorporated the decorations into the tune.

Preview 01:20

Sometimes when this decoration is incorporated into a Celtic fiddle tune, the player's fingers move so fast that only the sound is heard!

This decoration is a great addition to any style of tune, whether it be a waltz, reel, jig, march, strathspey or polka.

Watch the video to find out more.


Practise the approach to learning the flick as per the video.

Let's say, do this five times in a row.

Have a break.

Then repeat.

Over time, this approach, is a great way to solidify the flick technique.

Preview 01:24

The art of Bow control is very important in Celtic fiddle playing.

Bowing alone can change the rhythm or timbre of a tune.

Enjoy the video! Learn about a technique to emphasis the first note of a bar!


With the tips in the video, practise the bowing on an open string.

Do this for five minutes.

Then apply the bowing technique to a favourite Celtic tune which you play.

Record yourself playing the tune.

Q : With the tips in the video, what do you notice about how the sound of the playing has changed?

Preview 01:28

Bringing everything together creates a unique sound.

Find out more by watching the video.


Take a tune or set of tunes which you enjoy playing and play these in different environments.

This could be with friends around a dinner table or perhaps at a session in your local town or city.

Go to the next section for some examples.

Master of Delivery : What Does This Mean?

The answer to the question, 'Can I Practise What I Have Learnt?' is Yes!

There is sheet music and an mp3 file for a set of three 3 jigs which can be downloaded.

The sheet music contains some of the decorations in the style which I would play the tunes.


Practise playing the tunes individually and then as a set.

This is a great excuse and very social way to get together with friends to catch up and play music!

Note :

1. The small notes are the decoration notes.

2. Two small notes after a main note represent the 'Flick' decoration.

3. The small notes before a main note represents a 'Grace Note' decoration.

4. Each tune on the mp3 file is played through three times.

The tips, tricks and philosophy of Celtic fiddle playing contained within this short course have been gleaned from over thirty years experience of playing Celtic Fiddle.

I hope you enjoy.

Colin MacLeod

Celtic Fiddle Guru

W : www.celticfiddleguru.com

E : colin@celticfiddleguru.com

Can I Practise What I Have Learnt?

The presentation covers some examples to provide ideas to apply what has been learnt.

The examples take in playing in Scotland and Australia.

Bonus : Examples Of How To Apply Learnings From Course

Just in case you are still wondering how you are going to learn new Celtic fiddle tunes on the go.

This video shows you how to slow down the speed of a tune using the software Amazing Slow Downer.


Pick a tune you would like to learn.

Note : This could be one of the tunes which can be downloaded from Lecture 9!

Use Amazing Slow Downer to slow down the speed of the tune.

- Approach 1.

Focus on learning a certain section of the tune, say the first five seconds.

Loop that part of the tune.

Play along ten times to the looped part of the tune.

Once you feel comfortable with this part of tune, move onto the next five seconds of the tune.

Repeat the process until you have learnt all of the tune.

- Approach 2

If you read sheet music, play the tune from the sheet music.

There may be a certain part of the tune which you would like to focus in on.

Locate this part of the tune on the mp3 recording.

Using Amazing Slow Downer, loop this part of the tune.

Play along with the loop, say ten times or until you are happy with playing that part of tune.

Note : Use the same approach for any other part of the tune which you would like to focus on.

Final Comments

There is more than one way to learn a tune.

Each approach can offer different insights of how to play the tune.

For example, perhaps learning a Celtic fiddle tune with friends will highlight a different emphasis on sections of the tune or possibly the use of shorter bows.

And remember, whatever approach you use, have fun!

Bonus : Learn By Ear - How To Use Amazing Slow Downer To Slow Down Tune Speed

The quiz is a reflection on the course which has just been completed.

7 Essential Techniques Review
8 questions
About the Instructor
Colin MacLeod
5.0 Average rating
1 Review
13 Students
1 Course
Celtic Fiddle Teacher, Coach


My name is Colin.

My musical journey started at the age of 7 when a music teacher asked a class of primary school pupils, 'Who would like to play the violin?'

Since then, I have played in orchestras and Celtic bands in both Scotland and Australia, with some musical adventures along the way in the USA and South Africa!

I am now based in Melbourne, Australia and regularly run Celtic fiddle workshops around Australia aswell as performing at festivals!

For the first time, with a couple of friends, I organised a Fiddle Festival in Scotland in September 2015 in Resipole, Argyll on the shores of Loch Sunart.

This was a dream come true and everyone who attended the festival went away inspired and energised .

Playing and teaching Celtic fiddle has been a passion of mine for as long as I am able to remember.

I would like to share some of the tips and tricks which I have learnt over the last thirty years to help you to take your Celtic fiddle playing to the next level.

If you would like to find out further information about me, search for 'Colin MacLeod Celtic Fiddle Guru' on Google.