Teaching Physics of Music at Cornell

Playing the fiddle is more fun than you can possibly imagine. You can do it too!

"I've got nothing but praise for Kathy's teaching. Each lesson was packed with well-organized information, explained in such a way that I could really use it. She has great knowledge of characteristic rhythms and ornamentation of many fiddle styles, and intelligent exercises that helped me approach them. On top of that, she's altogether a lovely person! When she moved to New York I was bereft." Judy Jennings, Berkeley, CA.

"I studied with Kathy Selby for more than three years. During that time we studied a wide range of fiddle styles. Kathy is able to tune into problem areas and was able to help me understand and correct the problems. She has a keen understanding of the technical and acoustical differences in fiddle styles and is able to communicate this well. Plus she has a great sense of humor and is truly inspiring!" Peter Van Arsdale, luthier, Berkeley, CA.

"Kathy's class... sets science on a joyous collision course with art and eccentric "British" humor." Paul Hine, Physics of Musical Sound student at Cornell.

Kathy has been teaching private fiddle lessons and workshops to adults and children since 1996. Lessons for adults are tailored to support and guide students in following their individual interests, whilst teaching the technique, musicianship and repertoire that will allow them to best accomplish their aims. Children are also encouraged to express their interests and preferences, and these are incorporated into a well-structured lesson plan. Lessons are taught mainly by ear, but include sheet music reading skills such as sight-reading and transcription of tunes. Kathy especially enjoys teaching "the good stuff" that cannot be written down: rhythm in the bow, lift and swing, ornamentation and different regional styles. Lessons often include some music theory (e.g. scales and chords) which helps the students to develop their improvisation skills.

A background in classical violin, followed by 20 years' immersion in traditional fiddle playing, give Kathy special insight in teaching classical violinists who are exploring fiddle music. She can guide violinists in their foray into traditional music, whilst "speaking their language" and helping them to best use the skills and experience they bring with them.

Rates and Location: $40/hr for individual lessons. For group lessons, $20/hr for each additional attendee. Kathy teaches in her home studio near Ellis Hollow, 8 miles east of downtown Ithaca, NY.

Teaching Experience
Private fiddle lessons (1996– present)

Instructor, Winter Village Music Camp, Ithaca NY (2014)
Instructor, Folk College with Simple Gifts, Huntingdon PA (2011, 2012)
Slow Jam leader, Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp (2007, 2009, 2010)
Tunes coaching and Slow Jam leader, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle School (2000 – 2006)
Lecturer, Physics of Musical Sound at Cornell University (2004 - present)
Irish fiddle workshop at
Fiddlins' Fun Fest, Binghamton, NY (2007)
Scottish and Irish fiddle workshops, Ithaca, with Laurie Hart (2003)
Workshops and concert repertoire coaching for San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers (1996– 2002, 2009)
Technique and music theory articles in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers newsletter (1996– 2002)
Slow Jam session leader, San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers (1996– 2002)