Pathways to learning: the musical journeys of five adult fiddle players

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christen J. Blanton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
James Revell Carr

Abstract: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the musical journeys of five adult fiddle players, and to uncover the essence and meaning of learning to fiddle. Data were collected at the Swannanoa Gathering, a summer immersion camp for folk musicians, held at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Analysis of participant interviews, researcher observations, and fieldnotes revealed three main themes: (a) participants created and maintained personal learning curriculums that included using prior knowledge, noticing new or unfamiliar elements in fiddling communities, gaining insights from other fiddlers, and participating in jam sessions; (b) participants experienced fear, frustration, enjoyment, and excitement while on their personal learning pathways, and; (c) participants’ experiences learning fiddle connect them to communities of practice. The essence of learning for the five fiddlers in this study was the “Ah-Ha” moment, which was part of a larger cyclic model of community as curriculum. Further, the potential lifelong participation of fiddle players was conceptualized as a “ramble”, which honors the personal agency of learners as they move through and between different communities over the course of a lifetime. Recommendations are provided for music educators and researchers pertaining to lifelong participation and the role of the teacher in fiddle learning.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Adult music learning, Fiddle, Folk music, Lifelong participation, Music education
Violin $x Instruction and study
Music $x Instruction and study
Adult education
Folk music

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