Have Geoff come to your school or organization to teach the jamming
ways directly! We have a variety of programs and residencies to fit your
scheduling and budgetary needs!
"There's nothing like the ear to ear smile on a kid jamming the Blues for
the first time!"
is a Fiddle Jam Clinic for?
Ultimately, ANYONE interested in the joys of the jam! Geoff has been
known to be able to get someone who's never even played the violin
before to jam the Blues with less than 2 minutes of instruction!!
Though any particular proficiency is NOT a requirement to get started
with improvisation in general, Fiddle Jam works optimally when the
student knows at least their first 3 open string-based major scales (G, D,
& A for violin, and C, G, & D for Viola/Cello). This usually is achieved well
within the first year of instruction.
Fiddle Jam Clinic programs are completely flexible and can be designed
to precisely fit the needs of your organization. Most usually Geoff is
called to work with an elementary or middle school string orchestra of
20-50 students, though he has worked with groups as large as 250 at a
4-school combined string orchestra festival! Sometimes the group has
learned one of Geoff's string orchestra compositions ahead of time
(which always feature improvisation of course!) and then perform it in an
evening concert with Geoff as a guest artist. (Contact us for more info
Over the years, Geoff has developed special techniques to help coax
even the most improv-phobic into jamming with glee, like:
All of these (and other) methods greatly help to crack open the door to
the truly creative side of music making!
- "Call & Answer" - The whole group tries their hand at copying
Geoff in unison, one E-Z riff at a time (to a hip drum beat). This
helps develop student's "ears" & introduces them to the stylistic
possibilities with some fun "alternative" techniques like slides &
- "Chaos Theory" - Everybody improv's at once!… a fun gentle "low
impact" way to get young players used to the idea of creating
something of their own without any peer pressure.
- "One Note Improv" - Fun! Everybody jams on the same note but
gets to choose the rhythm themselves, releasing the common
myth that your improvisation has to be an "amazing" flurry of
notes to be "great." Most are surprised at how non-chaotic & good
- "Small Group Improv" - 3 or 4 at a time simultaneously, going
around the orchestra to a cool accompaniment, gives everybody a
chance to improvise while still minimizing the "scary-factor"!
- "Break-Out Solo Line" the more adventuresome volunteers get to
come out in front of the orchestra and take a solo chorus each!
Also typically covered in a Fiddle Jam Clinic:
- Electric violin demonstrations: Learn about plugging in and rocking
out! Pick-ups, amps, electronic effects (like distortion and wha-wha
pedals!) and info on how to DIY electric instruments if your budget is
- Appropriate stories from Geoff's 35-year career experience about the
in's and out's, and up's and down's, of being a professional musician.
- Also thrown in, where appropriate, are philosophical reminders about
what music is for and why we should play it for life... Answer:
Recently a "20-something" came up to Geoff after a Babik concert and
said that he had "changed the whole trajectory of his life" after Geoff
had done a Fiddle Jam Clinic for his elementary school! How cool is
Contact us for prices and availability.
Not part of a group or school? Check out the Fiddle Jam Institute to
learn the jamming ways directly!