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Betse Ellis


Teaches fiddle workshops, camps, and private lessons – including previous instruction at Targhee Music Camp, Fiddle Tunes at Centrum, Folk Alliance International Winter Music Camp, Musique Acoustique (Belgium), Augusta Heritage Center, Montana Fiddle Camp, Earful of Fiddle, Old Town School of Folk Music, Dusty Strings, St. Louis Folk and Roots Festival, Ozark Folk Center, Walnut Valley Music Festival, Wintergrass, Kansas Bluegrass Association’s Winterfest, Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter), Kluane Mountain Music Camp, and more. Betse has a B.A. in music and in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas, and has more than four decades of experience on the violin/fiddle. Additionally, she has received old-time fiddle instruction from Violet Hensley, Suzy Thompson, Brad Leftwich, and Art Stamper.

Focus on technique
-Right Hand: Communicating with the bow, three-dimensional bowing, iconic elements, tone production, bow conservation
-Left Hand: Knowing the fingerboard, efficient fingering, ergonomic hand position, tone coloring, relative pitch
-Timing, theory, expressiveness, respecting the source, metaphorical approach, the journey of a fiddle tune and fiddler, supporting development, tenets of practice

Workshop Topics include
-Help for Frustrated Fiddlers
-Singing with the Fiddle
-Fiddle Phraseology
-Ozark Heroes
-Iconic Bowing Elements
-The Tenets of Practice
-John Hartford’s Favorite Tunes & Fiddlers
-Howdy Theory for Fiddlers
-Fermenting a Fiddle Tune
-Seconding and Backup Techniques

Performance Highlights: co-founder of Betse & Clarke (2014-present), US and international tours (Canada’s Home Routes, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland)/co-founder of Short Round Stringband (2017-present)/ solo US and Canada tours 2012-2014/ co-founder of The Wilders, touring internationally until 2013; past performances at Celtic Connections, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Folk Alliance International Conference, IBMA Fan Fest, Walnut Valley Music Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Grey Fox Festival, Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Blackpot Festival, Portland Old Time Gathering, and plenty more from 1996-present…REMEMBER ONE THING… DON’T FORGET THE LOVE!