Fiddle, Old Time, levels 2/3

Instructor(s): Suzy Thompson

In Suzy’s old time fiddle class, you’ll learn some wonderful new repertoire and build up your ear training chops too! Suzy will choose some of her favorite old time tunes from Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, etc. All material will be taught by ear; there will be time at the end of each meeting for participants to video the key components of the class. Source material will be made available in advance, in case you want to familiarize yourself with the material before camp. We’ll stick pretty closely to the source, learning bowings and some of the variations used on the original recordings.  Besides learning the melodies, we’ll go deeper into the tunes, focusing on bowing, groove, ornaments, variations, speed, etc.  If you have a particular tune you’d like to work on, please email Suzy ( and if she can work it into the class, she will!

Suzy Thompson
Suzy Thompson


You should have at least a small repertoire of fiddle tunes under your belt (any style is fine), be able to get around in first position comfortably, and be willing to try some things that may be unfamiliar at first (such as new bowings or open tunings or playing without written music.)

About Suzy Thompson

Suzy Thompson’s odyssey into old time fiddle music started fifty years ago, and hasn’t stopped yet!  She has played in many old time string bands, including some of the jug band and Cajun variety, starting with Any Old Time String Band, and including the Backwoods Band, Thompson String Ticklers, Suzy’s Floozies, Blue Flame String Band, Blue Diamond Strings, Todalo Shakers, Bluegrass Intentions, and Texas Sheiks.

Suzy has a strong background in Louisiana Cajun music, having studied with Dewey Balfa under an NEA Fellowship.  A founding member of the California Cajun Orchestra, her fiddling is featured on their Arhoolie recordings, including the INDIE-winning “Nonc Adam Twostep.” She currently plays Cajun music in the Aux Cajunals and with Ann Savoy’s Raggedy Ann Dance Band. Suzy has performed and/or recorded with many notable roots music artists, including Alice Gerrard, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Laurie Lewis, Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin,  Darol Anger, Maria Muldaur, and Del Rey.  She has been a CD reviewer for the Old Time Herald since 1996 , and in 2003 she founded the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, one of the West Coasts’ major old time music events.  From 2010 to 2016 she was Artistic Director for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes (Port Townsend).

Suzy has been a fiddle instructor at many music camps, including Augusta Heritage Center (Old Time and Cajun weeks), Alabama Folkschool, Montana Fiddle Camp,  Port Townsend Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Bluff Old Time Gathering, Centrum’s Blues Week, and Lark in the Morning. She’s been a favorite teacher at Walker Creek for years, teaching jug band and old time string band in the past; we’re pleased to bring her back to teach the old time fiddle class this time.