Once upon a String: Fiddle Fundamentals by Shamma Sabir

Raise your hand if you are the parent or grandparent of a youngster who received their first violin over the holidays. Perhaps you are even the ones who gave the gift.

There is often a feeling of helplessness that accompanies such a gift. You want to be helpful and supportive, but if you aren’t a musician yourself, you may not understand what to do.

Canadian fiddler Shamma Sabir has released a book for just this situation. She is not only a highly-ranked fiddler and an experienced instructor, Shamma is also a clinical psychologist who researches the interplay between music instruction and brain development in young children. She has combined her skill and knowledge in both spheres to produce Once Upon A String: Fiddle Fundamentals.

The book combines a look at the most important elements of technique with helpful checklists to help parents and new students keep an eye on what they should be focused on. Sabir wrote it to be a manual for someone who is brand new to the instrument, and the parents who will be assisting their learning. Material is presented in a step-by-step fashion with helpful photos, basic instruction for two scales, and rhythm patterns for playing waltzes, jigs, and reels.

It should also be of interest to teachers working with young children eager to know more about Shamma’s research.

Published by Hal Leonard, Once Upon A String sells for $14.99. It runs to 56 pages and can be purchased from Saber’s web site or the Hal Leonard site.

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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.