by subscribers at Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy
Mia’s site is simply one of the best sources of online fiddle instruction I have ever seen. I signed up for a month initially to try it out and then converted to a longer term subscription because there was way too much material to absorb in a short time.
On the surface it appears to be for fiddlers interested in Scandinavian music, and certainly that’s the focus, but I found that the resources she calls “Concepts” and “Technique” were useful across styles. I’m mostly an American old-time and Irish fiddler, and Mia’s tips were as helpful for those styles as they were for the tunes she concentrates on.
The many Scandinavian pieces featured on the site include both traditional tunes and her own compositions, and run the gamut from easily approachable to quite challenging. Her own pieces have been uniformly great and I haven’t scratched the surface of them yet.
Worthy of specific mention, I think, is her teaching on bowing techniques, which as almost anyone reading this knows, are vital to achieving an authentic sound in a given style. I am particularly struck by how sophisticated her command of English is, because a lot of what works when teaching bowing, at least for me, is best communicated in metaphors. Let’s just say there is the opposite of a communications barrier; her presentations are genuinely enthusiastic and literate.
In short, I expect that practically any fiddler or violinist, except maybe a complete beginner, will find a wealth of engaging and productive resources on Mia’s site, and, if you’re like me, your only disappointment will be that you didn’t discover it sooner.
– Jeff Hollingsworth, Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy is a fun and beautifully focused study tool.
It took me a while to dig in, but now that I have, I am finding so much vital stuff to instruct me and to enjoy! Thank you so much for the extremely clear and pleasant teaching. Having all these materials in one place with information about how they connect or contrast, and the word of a real Scandinavian expert, is well worth the cost of a membership. I enjoy being able to work at my own pace and following my own interests each day, and revisit the same lesson if necessary, without feeling “on the spot” in front of a teacher or other students. No Zoom workshop can deliver that!
You’ve almost made me glad for Coronavirus lockdown! (…and that’s very high praise indeed.)
Groovy Fiddle Academy is like “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Scandinavian Fiddling…But were Afraid To Ask” (with a nod to Woody Allen). I wish I had had your fiddle academy available in Fall 2017 when I first decided to play Scandinavian fiddle…it would have been the most tremendous help.
– Lise Nau, Violinist/Fiddler, USA
When I found out that Mia Marine was starting an online fiddle academy, I was ecstatic with joy. For a long time, I’ve wanted to get access to her pedagogical ideas and playing techniques, which she has formed during her many years of teaching players of all levels and ages. I already knew her to be a wonderful person and a fantastic folk musician and violin player, but I’ve been longing to get the opportunity to really dig into her exercises and material.
The website really is as great as I was hoping it would be. Mia describes many of the aspects I have thought about myself, being a teacher, but she does it with such clarity and precision. I find it really developing to listen to her thoughts about nordic folk music and fiddle techniques. I’ve used her technical exercises from the website both for my students and myself, and gotten very positive and fast results.
In addition to all the available tunes, Mia also generously shares her thoughts and ideas about arranging music. You can learn how to make second voices, work on your phrasing and melodic variations or practice improvisation. Another thing I really appreciate about this website is that there are exercises which can be played ”together” with the films, where I can be a part of Mia’s great groove when I’m practicing.
And best of all: I’m having so much fun on her website. Mia is a true source of inspiration!
– Nina Perez, musician and fiddle teacher, Sweden
Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy is the best thing that happened to Swedish folkmusic since polska came to Sweden. It’s like having Mia in my own livingroom. She’ll teach me new music, how to hold my bow and how to stay ergonomic. Whenever I want to. She is a super pedagogue in a class of her own!
– Kristine, Sweden
This is the best platform for learning that I have ever seen!
I joined to learn some tunes, but I’m staying for the material helping me to structure my practice process. SUPER! PDFs with all kinds of helpful tips and suggestions for me to add when I feel ready. It feels as if I can stay here for years, and the material will grow as I do. I also love the fact that I can wish for specific tunes or exercises in the fiddler’s forum.
– Sarah, France
When I discovered Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy thanks to a friend who recommended it to me, I was very happy. I had already heard several people say that Mia is a great teacher, and now I can see it with my own eyes!
What I think makes Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy absolutely unique is the wide range of aspects that she develops in her videos and documents. It covers everything that I would want to learn about playing music: technical exercises for the fiddle, how to make my music interesting, how to start/sustain/adapt my learning process, how to play for dancing, even how to create second voices and how to improvise.
Another thing that I find important is the opportunity to share and discuss things about Scandinavian music or fiddle playing. The forum and, most of all, the monthly Zoom meetings, where we have the opportunity to share a video of ourselves playing and get valuable feedback from all the participants, are a huge source of joy for me. I was longing for a space where I could find very precise nerdy information and people who enjoy it, so I am very pleased:-)
I think that learning how to play the fiddle is not just about learning new tunes, and I have been disappointed sometimes in workshops where the teacher only taught us a melody. This is definitely not going to happen if you join Mia’s Groovy Fiddle Academy. Prepare to be amazed and challenged in your playing!
– Rébecca, independent French teacher and fiddle enthusiast, 29, Switzerland
I’ve had the chance to participate in workshops and lessons with Mia for many years. Among all the teachers I’ve had, she is my absolute favourite! I’ve never met a teacher as organised, passionate and enthusiastic as Mia.
Since I’m living in Belgium and there are some borders to cross it’s not easy having lessons or workshops with Mia. Especially in these corona-times when travelling isn’t self-evident and many cultural events are cancelled. This “Groovy Fiddle Academy” came as a gift of God to me!
As a regular student on this online academy I can guarantee that ALL of your questions about you and your violin in Swedish folkmusic will be answered, either by the clear and detailed videos or on the Zoom-meetings once a month or on the “Fiddlers Society” button.
It doesn’t matter if Mia teaches 30 students at the same time or just in front of a camera and her dog, you won’t see any difference!
I hope to see you soon at this corona-proof Academy!
– Femke, Belgium
You´ll get hooked on this platform!
The best thing is that the academy is ”alive” in many ways!
I really like the process of designing and revising my own course. The platform allows me to do this by providing a huge variety of different kinds of lessons to choose from. From “just playing a tune today“ to working thoroughly on a technical or musical issue for a long time- everything and any combination is possible!
Mia is such a fantastic musician and I´m so glad and thankful that she is sharing her wide knowledge of Swedish folk music with us! The videos become alive through her charming, inventive and humorous way of teaching.
I just have to smile- such a nice way of learning in this wonderful atmosphere!
I especially love the idea of adding a lot of visual support to the clips. The pictures, images, written tones and scales or portrayals of movements and sounds make it much easier for me to follow and understand.
On this “living“ platform we subscribers can influence the direction of its development with our wishes and needs. It is growing for us and with us! And hopefully this will go on forever…
It is great to say that I was a part of this from the very beginning!
– Maja, Germany
Working with themes for the Zoom meetings is a good idea. It gives us an indication of what to concentrate on next. My system is: I look at everything I’m curious of plus the themes for the next meeting, depending on how much time I have.
If I compare the site with workshops I attended, it turns out that I feel more at ease with the site. We can learn things in our own tempo and add on ornaments, bowings, double strings etc. in a later stage. Really nice. When I’ve attended workshops I’ve left the ornaments out, now I tend to go for it.
I must say I didn’t expect this. If my holiday plans had all taken place (jam sessions, travelling) I might not have become a member, because I was quite fed up with living life on-line all day, given that we are teleworking and connected the whole day. But the fiddle academy is more fun than expected.
It’s the first time that I clearly start to see differences between Swedish dances, whereas before I left that aspect aside. Before I had a vague notion, whereas now I would recognize a Halling.
– Elisabeth Derksen, viola player, Belgium
Celtic musical lover crossing over.
I have been in Mia’s groovy academy for a year now and have learned so much. She is an amazing teacher who uses her exuberance and love for the Swedish music that hooks you in. I have been interested in the Swedish music for about fiver years now but never really could get with the various swedish tunes due to the complexity of the various polskas. She totally explains it and i have a much better understanding now. This class is very thorough and when she shares a video, it is informative, engaging and really makes you think. She is an amazing fiddler who is humble and it feels like she is playing or talking directly to you.
What is most amazing is that for each tune, Mia will do a version ‘the way I usually play it’, then a slower version then a tutorial about the tune. She also explains how the music intertwines with the dance that goes with it. She posts concept lessons and technical exercises that are each approximately fifteen minutes and explain a topic that is engaging or explains a part of the tradition. I am a wooden flute and guitar player and most of the lessons and exercises are explained in relation to the fiddle but I find them useful and adaptable to the flute. I have learned so much from these lesson.
Once a month Mia also runs a Zoom meeting. In this meeting, we discuss a topic that the group suggested the previous month and Mia treats everyone with respect and a genuine interest in their views. We then listen to submitted recordings of people in the class and we give them feedback. First, what we loved about the video and then any constructive ideas we might have.
Lastly, what I love the most about being a part of this groovy academy is Mia’s openness and views toward the traditions of Swedish music. She basically takes the stance that you must respect the tradition but also feels it is important to make it your own and feel freedom within the tradition rather than constricted by the tradition through the view of there is only one way to play a tune. If you are interested in the tradition and have any level of expertise, I would highly recommend that you join groovy Mia and her dedicated students. It is a great experience.
– Glenn, flutist, New Zealand