Brian Wicklund began his journey of fiddle love at the age of 7 and hasn’t looked back. Early on he realized the value of having a village of friends to commune with, and learn from, and how it enhanced his passion. This passion turned into a career revolving around touring bands, studio work and eventually, the development of his “American Fiddle Method Online School.”
When Dan Miller, the managing editor of Bluegrass Unlimited, asked me, a new stumbling fiddler, to take a look at Brian’s American Fiddle Method (AFM), I was a bit shy and apprehensive. I have played in and managed a bluegrass band for 25 years, along with my other two bands, a Cajun band and vintage country band. I have taught music for 20 years for beginners and intermediate players, coaching vocals, guitar, mandolin and piano. Then why the apprehension?
I am not new to playing or performing music, but I am new to the fiddle. Every new player experiences insecurities as they listen to the awkward and strange noises coming out of that new instrument. Even with a more experienced player there is hope mixed with self-doubt you will ever be capable of giving the instrument the respect it deserves. And, then there is always some apprehension about the teacher and the method because, let’s be real, there are a lot of amazing players out there that just aren’t the best at teaching and communicating the skills you are yearning to learn.
Well, Brian, with his warmth, confidence, humor and background in education, is the alchemist we all hope for. He knows how to take our simple, unlovely beginnings and transform and guide us into unleashing the fiddler inside of us. He is articulate, specific, and detailed, but not in a scary overdrive sort of way. His methods are relatable for any learning style. I personally have a strangely wired brain that is prone to running in the other direction when things become too theoretical, but Brian doesn’t let us run away, or maybe it is that we just don’t want to leave. We want more and more of this good stuff. And the best part? With this mingling of beneficial challenges, you truly hear yourself getting better and better as you apply his method.
The American Fiddle Method Online School is an inspiring, high quality, friendly method representing many tunes and topics ranging from basic posture to double stops to improvising rhythm and slurs. With a variety of memberships available and a qualified, impressive staff of teachers, he also offers a course in Scottish Fiddling, a Fiddle Camp Online Community promoting camaraderie with other players, books, DVDs, and a soon to be released course in Bluegrass Fiddling. Whether you are a confident learner at any level, or a new, terrified student like myself, you won’t regret becoming a member of Brian’s online village.