Fiddle, Focus on the Groove, Levels 2/3

Instructor(s): Natalie Padilla

In this class, we will focus on finding the groove and improving your rhythm on the fiddle. We’ll work with tunes in the Texas, Swing, Bluegrass, and Old Time traditions. I love sharing helpful tips and tricks, encouraging healthy and effective practice routines, and helping you get the best sound from your instrument. Classes will be taught by ear, but sheet music may be provided at the end of camp as a remembering tool or as needed.

Natalie Padilla


Students will want to have experience learning by ear and be able to play a handful of fiddle tunes (any genre!) at a moderate tempo.

Bring a recording device; a notebook may be quite helpful too.

About Natalie Padilla

Natalie Padilla, born into a family of acclaimed roots musicians, was immersed in fiddle and violin music from a very young age. She has grown into a musician of astounding depth and breadth, as well as a performer and educator fluent in a wide variety of genres.

Natalie initially studied Texas-Style fiddle under the tutelage of her mother, award-winning fiddler Nancy Padilla, and began winning contests on her own at the age of 6. She was named Montana State Pee Wee Fiddle Champion and soon went on to become National Small Fry Fiddle Champion at the National Old Time Fiddler’s Contest (1994), National Young Adult Fiddle Champion (2015), National Twin Fiddling Champion (2015), Rocky Mountain Regional Grand Champion (2015), RockyGrass Fiddle Champion (2015), and is the current Kentucky State Fiddle champion (2022)!

Steeped in the traditions of Old-Time, Bluegrass, and Texas-Style Fiddle music, Natalie also has deep roots in classical violin. In 2011, after winning several prestigious student awards, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Natalie has continued to explore her love of classical music and has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Opera Colorado, Boulder Philharmonic, Fort Collins Symphony, and was associate concertmaster of the Greeley Philharmonic for 6 years. Continuing her career in Montana she is a member of the Bozeman Symphony and joined the Bravo! Big Sky Arts festival Orchestra in 2021.

Building on her Old-Time roots and her rich background in classical music, Natalie has devoted herself to creative roots music in recent years by writing original music. In 2017 she released her debut album Paths & Places, produced by Joe K. Walsh with special guests including Darol Anger. Recently her 2019 release Fireweed has received positive reviews worldwide.

In 2015 she founded the original new acoustic band Masontown and has since been composing and singing for the group, as well as playing fiddle and clawhammer banjo. Masontown has played extensively throughout the mountain west, released a debut EP in late 2015, full length album In This Time in 2017, and another EP in 2020. She can currently be found playing with Vermont based trio Low Lily.

Natalie has performed internationally in every setting from intimate house concerts to Red Rocks Amphitheater, touching on nearly every form of fiddle music imaginable. She has recorded in a variety of settings around the country, and shared the stage with such revered talents as Elephant Revival, Peter Rowan, Caleb Klauder, Eli West, Frank Solivan, Pete Wernick and many more.

Throughout her deep and diverse musical career Natalie has always been a devoted educator and has maintained an active studio of private fiddle and violin students since her early teens. She has also been in demand at fiddle and violin camps around the country, teaching for several years at the Montana Fiddle Camp, Brian Wicklund’s Fiddle Pal Camp, and Nashville Acoustic Camps among others.

As a past adjunct fiddle professor at the University of Northern Colorado, 2017-2022, she taught and led ensembles in the Folk & Bluegrass program alongside revered local Colorado talents Eric Thorin, Martin Gilmore, and Ron Lynam.

Natalie lives in Northampton, MA and spends almost every waking moment honing her art, craft, and musical pedagogy. We are excited to be bringing her to Walker Creek for the first time, and offering this class for the first time also!