Led by a star-studded instructor team, the Inaugural Texas Fiddle Clinic took place December 17th, 2023 in Bryan, Texas. Founder and Fiddler Wes Barlow created a truly exceptional teaching seminar for aspiring violinists/fiddlers.
"As a full time fiddle player, I've witnessed firsthand the high demand for fiddle players across the state of Texas," said Barlow. "It seems like every band is looking for one, but there aren't enough to go around."
Fiddle is an integral key to getting that true Texas sound, and the best of the best have staple fiddlers. For example, Randy Rogers, Flatland Cavalry, George Strait, Shane Smith & the Saints, frickin' BOB WILLS!!! all come to mind immediately when pondering that two-steppin' twang.
"The vast majority of talented orchestra students quit playing violin after high school because they have no avenue to continue playing once they are out of orchestra," said Barlow. "The inspiration behind the Texas Fiddle Clinic is to captivate and teach these students before they graduate high school and provide a new perspective using foundational knowledge and skills they already have."
Texas Fiddle Clinic provides attendees an opportunity to learn first hand from some of the best players in the state, as well as meet other instrumentalists from around Texas that share similar interests. The 2023 board of instructors included Bennet Brown (Shane Smith & the Saints), Brady Black (Randy Rogers), Brendon Anthony (Pat Green), Damien Green (Aaron Watson), Haydn Vitera (Rick Trevino/George Strait/Asleep at the Wheel), Jody Bartula (Cody Johnson), Katie Shore (Asleep at the Wheel/2023 Ameripolitan Musician of the Year), Nick Worley (Cooder Graw/Jason Boland/Cory Morrow), and Wes Barlow (Dolly Shine).
"Each instructor prepares a lesson plan of what they believe will be the most impactful for the students and teaches the group for 45 minutes," said Barlow. "Sheet music, t-shirts, custom pencils and lunch are provided, along with a few other items from sponsors. The lessons are video and audio recorded and will be available to students to view in the coming months via an online portal on the clinic website."
With enthusiastic instructors and top tier curriculum, it's thrilling to see older and newer instrumentalists take up the torch and keep excitement for the violin alive.
"It meant a lot to see my friends and colleagues come together for this cause and [be] so motivated to teach and share their knowledge," said Barlow. "Both students and instructors were completely captivated by the whole day and eager to soak up as much as they could."
In fact, TFC was so successful that Barlow is already prepping for this year's clinic. Thinking long term, Barlow plans on arranging smaller clinics throughout the year in major music city hubs like DFW, Lubbock, Houston, and Austin for better access to the outpouring of violin education.
Barlow said it best: "Helping grow the next generation of fiddle players will help bring back this incredible instrument, the heart of many genres of music."
For more information on the Texas Fiddle Clinic, you can check out https://txfiddleclinic.com/. There you will find complete instructor biographies, FAQs, and more!