This course has concessions available

NEW: Folk Fiddle

Acclaimed fiddle player, John Dipper will lead you through the intricate techniques of bowing, tone and genre specific ornamentation allowing you to develop your own style while studying tunes from around the British Isles and further afield.

Who is this course for

This course is for students who have about a year of playing and are able to use 4th finger and slur between notes. Carefully selected material will be used to enable students to play basic melodies and become competent while also giving them room to improve and develop their playing ability.

The class will also be able to accommodate more advanced students who will be shown techniques including bowing, ornamentation tone and phrasing, as well as identifying new material, varying the melody and the possibilities of composition.

Each session will involve new melodies being taught by ear each time, with sheet music available afterwards. Students are encouraged to bring a recording device to help them refer to techniques and examples during their practice between sessions.

What does this course cover

Each week, new tunes will be demonstrated, taught by ear in small sections, and examined, to show how ornamentation, phrasing, tone control, ornamentation and bow control can enable a player to perform the piece in a stylistically accurate way. The course is aimed to enable the student to develop their own voice/style with the instrument. We will also look at identifying ideal repertoire for your ability and technique, and how to adapt material to suit your playing style.

By the end of the course students will be able to perform many pieces in a stylistically accurate manor, and use ornamentation, bowing, bow control, tone control, phrasing and variation to develop their own style of playing and communication of the music into a performance that conveys their understanding and passion for the music.

What will it be like

Each week pieces will be taught by ear, broken down into very small sections, with all techniques described, demonstrated and checked. Sheet music will be available after each session. During each session the tutor will be constantly making sure that each student is understanding and able to reproduce each technique or section of a piece, with the pace of the session being varied accordingly.

What else do you need to buy or do

A violin, case, bow, shoulder rest and rosin are essential. Also a method to record audio examples, such as the voice recorder function on a smartphone.

If you are considering purchasing a violin for this course, it is recommended to buy a kit that will get you started, but not to buy one for less than £80 as the quality below this price threshold will hold you back. Regular practice between sessions is essential, and will enable you to develop and improve.

While each session will teach separate melodies, concepts and techniques, pieces and techniques from previous weeks will be revised during each session, so it is ideal for students to practice the material already covered between each session.

What this course could lead to

Improved performance ability, the possibility of playing in local music sessions and or bands. Being able to identify, create, and perfect new repertoire with the techniques and tools demonstrated and taught during the course.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre and a library of prospectuses for other London colleges to help you continue your studies. If you need more detailed advice, please ask a member of reception staff, and a half-hour guidance interview can be arranged for you.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: tel: 0800 101 901, and from the following websites:;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

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Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’