Tes Slominski: Biography and Class Description
Welcome to Fiddle Boot Camp! In this class, we will use several tasty but accessible tunes to work on the basics, from how to hold the fiddle and the bow most effectively and ergonomically to understanding the different rhythms used in Irish dance tunes. We will also spend a portion of class time working on listening skills, including refining our ability to evaluate our own playing and gaining strategies for picking up tunes from recordings or in sessions.
Despite being the granddaughter of an old-time banjo player and the descendent of a Scottish immigrant who came to the U.S. as a ship’s fiddler in the late 1700s, Tes Slominski got incurably bitten by the Irish music bug as a teenager. In her early 20s, she founded the Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville, Virginia (now in its 15th year of operation) and was a member of the contradance band Roaring Mary. During those years, Tes spent as much time in Ireland as she could manage, where she regularly played with fiddlers Connie O’Connell from Cill na Martra, Co. Cork, and Donal O’Connor from Brosna, Co. Kerry. She taught fiddle at the Maoin Cheoíl an Chlár in Ennis, County Clare, and got an MA in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick. Upon returning to the States, she went back to graduate school, wrote a dissertation on women musicians in the early twentieth-century Irish nationalist movement, and received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from New York University. Tes currently teaches in the music department at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she leads the college’s North Atlantic Music Ensemble.