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Blackford Fiddle Club

21 January 2013

Blackford Fiddle group is an active local music group and was set up in 1996. The group believe learning can and should be a very social activity, and their regular Friday sessions are at the core of this ethos. The slogan is “Be your own good teacher”, as the group believe that people learn by playing and the best thing to do is play regularly. The aim of the fiddle group is to nurture interest and talent of Blackford’s younger community members and in turn encourage more Blackford families to join in with and benefit from the clubs activities.

The fiddle group draws over 40 regular payers of mixed ages from Blackford and surrounding areas. The group meet every Friday in Blackford Village Hall and practice a repertoire for mixed ability players. The group has received grants from the Blackford Community Fund, which includes Blackford’s share of funds from EDF Burnfoot Hill Community Fund, to assist with professional tutor workshops or classes.

The group sought a grant of £1,000 to establish and run a weekly fiddle club in the Primary School, aimed at Primaries 3 – 5, but which will operate independently of school activities or curriculum work. The project was seen as a practical response to ensure the growth and sustainability of the fiddle group and ensure it has relevance across the wider community. If awarded the grant, it was believed that the group would become relatively self-sustaining were this project to lead to increased membership amongst local children and their families.

The group has no tutors; members learn from each other and are self-taught. Members can teach each other tune, but a professional tutor is required for any more technical tuition. Where tutors had previously been brought in, this had proven successful, and the group therefore asked for funds to enhance this provision. They also knew that bringing in tutors had been well received by members and attracted new members to the group. This would keep the momentum of the group’s activities going and provide continuity by enabling it to offer additional sessions to members.

The grant awarded by Foundation Scotland, on behalf of the EDF Burnfoot Hill Community Fund, has allowed a year round programme of events which the group has reported as making a real difference to the standard of playing, and a real difference to the confidence of members too. It is very encouraging that each year the group provide for a new activity, rather than simply repeating the same activity year on year.

The project has also given local people the opportunity to be introduced to sound systems, recording and performance. In addition, the project gave the hope of concluding the workshops and evening sessions with local public performances which would allow the community to see what the group do and encourage more people to get involved.

Andrew Bachell, Treasurer for the Blackford Fiddle Group, said: “The club is doing well. We have 10 kids (two groups of five) which is great. They all performed at the school Christmas concert and at the Fiddle Group Yuletide social in December. The parents came along too and everyone is thrilled with progress. The tutor is working on new tunes so that the club members can join in at the Fiddle Group Friday evening sessions too and all being well we'll start to get a bit wider community interest and even get some more adult players. There is no shortage of interest. The next step is a family ceilidh in the village.”


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