FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Top Four

What will I learn from/at Fiddle Jam Institute? Maybe it’s easier to state what you will NOT learn at Fiddle Jam Institute!  Fiddle Jam Institute is not for absolute beginners at this time (but as soon as you know the open string-based D, A, & G major scales you’re “in”), nor is it for a “classical” music education (this you can get anywhere)… Fiddle Jam Institute is where you can learn all the cool stuff, the “alternative” string stuff with the primary focus on improvisation, or “jamming” as we call it.  Blues, Jazz, Rock, Country, Fiddling and all their many hybrids will be addressed, as well as the background know-how you need, and what you do NOT need to waste your time on, and why, is pointed out too!

Does one need to have previous improvising or alternative style experience to get the most out of Fiddle Jam Institute?  Absolutely not.  The Fiddle Jam Method particularly specializes in coaching the absolute jamming beginners (which can include the near beginner as listed above, or a seasoned symphony pro).

How do I get access to the lessons? Once you sign up, simply go to the Fiddle Jam Institute website, login, and the lessons will be available for your viewing 24/7.  Note: broadband internet access is a requirement, though we will have a few modestly priced options for getting some of the same lessons mailed to you on a DVD, or downloaded as an e-file in the future.

Who will teach me? Currently, our founder Geoffrey Fitzhugh Perry is the one and only teacher at Fiddle Jam Institute, though if things grow to the point of it being too much for one human being to handle, we will bring on other qualified teachers who are versed in the Fiddle Jam method.  We are also planning on doing interviews of known violinists in the near future as the opportunities come up so you can learn from others as well.

Curriculum

I already have the Fiddle Jam book & CD.  What further will Fiddle Jam Institute membership give me?  “Taking it beyond the book” is what inspired us to start the Institute in the first place!  Video lessons have been created that work with each lesson in the book, taking it much further, working with many detailed techniques Geoff developed after the book came out.  Also, vocabulary building exercises (called “Atoodz”) will help you get these styles physically under your fingers.  Also covered are lessons on music theory, jazz improvisation, music philosophy, gear reviews and demonstrations, and much more.

I’m a classical-only player that has never played “off-the-page.”  How does Fiddle Jam Institute address my skills specifically?  Different from other students, the accomplished classical-only student usually gets the recommendation to study written “wild-style” blues & rock influenced vocabulary building exercises we call “Atoodz,” that bring in all the double stops, slides, blue notes, licks, and tricks you’ll need to get you well on your way to being a proficient jammer.  Once your ears and fingers are used to this new language, improvisation is brought into the mix though gentle coaxing techniques Geoff has developed with students over the past 10 years since the book came out, and 30 years since he first started teaching.

I’m an absolute beginner.  Are the basics covered in Fiddle Jam Institute materials? Though we may expand to this at a later time, absolute beginning lessons are NOT covered in Fiddle Jam Institute lessons at this time, as we feel it is important to have a real flesh-and-blood teacher help you physically get into good playing habits so you will not harm yourself long-term.  That stated, it should not take you more than a few months to be ready to take full advantage of Fiddle Jam Institute membership.  Once you know your 1st 3 “open string-based” major scales, G, D, & A on violin, you’re ready to start jamming!

I play cello.  Will Fiddle Jam Institute work for me Yes.  Though the lessons currently are created on and for Violin, there are Cello and Viola fingering conversion charts for all of the Fiddle Jam improvisation lessons that use our “EZ Zone” system.  Mandolinists can also benefit from Fiddle Jam Institute membership.  Many of the lessons like music theory, music philosophy, and electronic gear info, are more universal and can be applied to any instrument.

I haven’t played a note since High School.  Can I use Fiddle Jam Institute to re-start?  Yes, and go much further into areas that your High school teacher probably never dreamed of!  Maybe consider some private one-on-one video sessions with Geoff (see our school store for more info).

I’m a school string teacher and have never improvised before.  Can I learn enough to give my school students a lasting experience and support the new MENC Standards for improvisation and alternative styles Yes!  Geoff has been a school string orchestra director himself and knows first-hand how hard it is to retain students interest.  Much of the Fiddle Jam Method came directly from that experience!

Note: we are currently developing materials for a special section of Fiddle Jam Institute just for you!  These lessons will be released in the near future.  In the mean-time, you can learn to jam yourself and get tips on how to apply jamming to your school curriculum.  Geoff is also available for in-person Fiddle Jam Clinics at your school.

I’m a parent.  What age is appropriate for a Fiddle Jam Institute membership?  Students of any age are welcome at Fiddle Jam Institute of course, though we recommend adult supervision for students under age 12.  We also recommend still having a qualified private teacher who can guide the student into forming good physical habits for at least the first couple years of study so you will have less chance of developing muscular-skeletal problems later.

Note: Coming soon to Fiddle Jam Institute will be a special and unique section devoted to training PARENTS of young students (under age 10) on ways to “home school” using the Fiddle Jam Method.  As you may know, Suzuki parents are actually required to learn right along with their young children, so this will be right in-line with that philosophy… but in a much more fun, cool, and creative way!  This is a great alternative for parents who can not find a suitable (fun and not-too-strict) teacher in their home area.

Do Fiddle Jam Institute materials conflict with any other methods?  Not unless those other methods believe that they are the ONLY way to play violin well and enjoy music for life!

Does Fiddle Jam Institute provide info & lessons on going electric?  Yes.  There are gear demonstrations and reviews that provide info on electronic effects, amplifiers, accessories, and instrument design, as well as specific lessons on how to use these tools musically.

Is it possible to get a real-time one-on-one lesson with Geoff?  Yes.  Geoff is currently living in the Gainesville, Florida area if you live in the area or are up for a road trip.  An alternative to travel would be arranging an internet meeting via web cam/Skype.  See the school store for more details and pricing.

Is Geoff available in person for large group Fiddle Jamming Clinics? Yes!  Geoff has done Fiddle Jam Clinics nation-wide… why do you think his nick-name is “the Johnny Appleseed of Jamming”?!  Let Geoff take over your school orchestra for the day!  A Fiddle Jam Clinic in your school is great way to get all your students exposed to the wonderful alternative string world and all its life-changing potential!  Other options include having Geoff be a guest soloist at a concert featuring his compositions that include student improvising!  Please contact us, and tell us about your school.  We will be happy to work something out specifically for you and your needs.

I’m not sure what style I want to learn yet.  Is there a particular focus of Fiddle Jam Institute lessons? Fiddle Jam Institute tries to touch on all the non-classical styles, but especially focuses on the art of improvisation within those styles, with Blues, Rock, Country, and Jazz being cornerstones to the Fiddle Jam Institute curriculum.

Payments

How much does Fiddle Jam Institute membership cost?  The Fiddle Jam Club is FREE and includes our eNewsletter, special sneak peaks at our newest lessons, and other discounts and perks!  Our full “All Access Pass” is $29.95/month and includes access to all the Fiddle Jam Institute materials (video, audio, charts, text instructions, etc…) site-wide!  Click here to get info on alternative payment options (quarterly/bi-annual/annual/lifetime/check/cash).

Will my payments and info be secure? Yes.  We have the proven security of PayPal behind all Fiddle Jam Institute transactions.  NEW! > no PayPal account needed!  You can now pay directly with your own credit or debit card (the transaction is just handled by PayPal).

How are payments made? Payments are made automatically by an electronic charge to your credit or debit card.  You can cancel this at any time.

Can I be billed later for membership?  No.  Except via means of your own credit card billing agreement with your bank.  Once payment is received by us, you will have full access of all Fiddle Jam Institute materials.

Are there any other costs involved with Fiddle Jam Institute membership?  No.  Your monthly membership fee will cover everything you need.  Depending on your learning style and preferences, there will be some opportunity to purchase products associated with the materials (like purchasing a physical or electronic copy of one of our books, CD’s, or one-on-one video cam lessons, or intensive courses), but purchase of these items is not a requirement to learning at Fiddle Jam Institute.

Is there a discount for me if I refer a friend to Fiddle Jam InstituteYes.  Current Fiddle Jam Institute members can refer a friend to receive a month free membership (equal to their current membership level).  Contact us for details.

Is my satisfaction guaranteed?  Yes.  If you are not completely satisfied with your learning experience at Fiddle Jam Institute we will gladly refund your payment within the first 30 days of membership.

Can I purchase Fiddle Jam Institute memberships as gifts for othersYes.  Simply contact us via email and we can easily make the arrangements for you.

I’m a school string teacher & want to use Fiddle Jam Institute lesson materials to inspire & retain my students.  Are there any special group-use discounts or licenses available We would be happy to work with you for your unique situation.  Please contact us to work something out.

Membership

Will I get personalized instruction?  Not directly, though there will be numerous opportunities to post your own playing and questions for the enrolled students and Geoff to see and comment on.  As an option, personal video exchange coaching and one-on-one via web cam lessons are available for an extra cost through our school store.

What exactly do I get with membership in the free Fiddle Jam Club? Here’s a quick overview: FJ Club: free, free download of special Fiddle Jam jam-along book tracks that were not included on the book’s original CD, e-Newsletter, fiddle & jamming related info and product reviews, access to sneak peaks of new lesson videos,  “Riff of the week” lesson materials, special prices and discounts on related products.

Where do the lessons take place? Fiddle Jam Institute lessons are viewed online, on your computer, in the comfort of your own home (or any location you choose) 24/7.

When do I get to view the lessons? Anytime 24/7 after your first payment!

Does Fiddle Jam Institute membership bring me any other benefits?  Besides being the coolest kid on the Fiddle Jammin’ block and the envy of all your friends, discounts on select Outlaw Fiddle and Fiddle Jam products and services will be offered.

Do I have to have broadband internet connection to view Fiddle Jam Institute lessons?  Yes.  A broadband internet connection will be required to view the video lessons properly.  As an option for the connection-speed-challenged: We will also, for a modest price, be offering select lessons on DVD and digital downloads in the near future too.

Will I need a webcam to participate?  No.  But you will need one if you are interested in the video exchange or one-on-one lesson features found in the Fiddle Jam Institute store.

Student Profile

Will other members be able to view my info? Only your screen name and your profile picture, if you choose to upload one, much like you may already be used to on social media websites.  Options to upload samples of your playing and progress for all members to see and comment on will be a voluntary option on our school blogs.

Is my personal info secure at Fiddle Jam Institute? Yes.  All your personal info (like your address and credit card number) is kept completely confidential, secure, and will never be sold to a 3rd party.

Will I be able to communicate with other Fiddle Jam Institute members?  Yes.  The social media aspects of Fiddle Jam Institute are set up much like you may be used to on Facebook or other similar websites.  Nearly every page in FJi has a comments blog below it where you can safely post not only comments, but also video of yourself performing the lesson!  This is highly encouraged to build community.  Note: These will be monitored and we reserve the right to remove anything we deem as inappropriate or discouraging to others.

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