Mark O'Connor video from The New Yorker

International MusicianFiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor has been showing up everywhere of late.

He is on the cover of the September 2009 issue of Strings Magazine, and received a profile in the September 7 edition of The New Yorker’s Talk Of The Town column. Mark also graces the cover of this month’s International Musician, the monthly publication of the American Federation of Musicians.

All these articles focus on O’Connor’s upcoming instructional book series, the aptly-named O’Connor Violin Method, which he describes as follows:

“The music that I have collected for the O’Connor Violin Method includes some of the most endearing melodies in American music as well as some of the great folk fiddle tunes that have endured our 400 year-old history of violin playing. I have made it a specific feature of the Method to include musical literature that represents all of the Americas -Mexico, Canada and every region of the United States ‚Äì and all musical styles ‚Äì classical, folk, Latin, jazz, rock and ragtime. I have chosen and arranged material that will be both instructive and artistically enriching, and will help create the future classical violinist, folk fiddler, jazz musician – or all three!

The Method takes into consideration that, even at the beginning levels, learning music possessing a timeless quality is a healthy vehicle for engendering a lifelong love of music-making. Beginner tunes can be great tunes, and could very well stay with the student for a lifetime of playing and performing. In my own experience giving classes around the country, I often tell students that I have professionally recorded three of the first fiddle tunes I learned as a child. All three –  Soldier’s Joy, Arkansas Traveler, and Fiddler’s Dream, are presented early in this Method. I believe there are no throw-aways. The beginning tunes are built to last, providing a sturdy foundation and core for the novice. The tune that I have arranged to provide the most rudimentary studies for a beginning violinist – Boil’em Cabbage Down – is the first fiddle tune I learned as a child.”

The New Yorker also posted this video of Mark talking about the books.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.