Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle with Patrick M'Gonigle


Bluegrass fiddle seems increasingly difficult to define… And that’s good! This class will explore the merging of traditional bluegrass fiddle styles (Kenny Baker, Bobby Hicks, Benny Martin) with modern sounds (Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie and YOU! among others) and in the process, help you find your voice and work towards stylistic playing and improvisation techniques. We will split our class time into segments exploring new repertoire (both songs and fiddle tunes) and improvisation (again on songs and tunes).

I love double stops! In this class we will workshop movable double stop intervals through chord progressions in several keys as well as how you can use this amazing sound in your own music for both soloing and accompaniment.

Speaking of accompaniment, the fiddle is uniquely suited to be an accompanying instrument, counterintuitive as that may seem. We’ll develop varying techniques and concepts to apply to your fiddle playing beyond melodies and solos to elevate the potential of not only yourself, but those you’re playing with as well. I think that this is as important as any element of bluegrass! You’re only ever soloing about 25% of the time, and backing others up can be as rewarding as a great solo break…

We will not only work on the musical “expressive” elements of bluegrass fiddle, but we will also develop your practice routines and approach to technical exercises. Balancing technical with creative practice and identifying weak areas in your playing can be a challenge. In this class, we’ll talk about how you can create your own customized and ever-evolving system of practice and time allotment in order to maximize the effectiveness of your practicing… While also having more fun.

            Be sure to bring a recording device and a pad of paper and pen as I teach mostly by ear. I’ll also provide a playlist of musical examples to note as we go. See you soon!

Can’t wait to play some music with you all!

Patrick M’Gonigle began playing violin at the age of 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied classically with Suzuki-trained violin teacher Yasuko Eastman in Victoria, BC and during this time won several awards for his classical music as both a soloist and member of several String Quartets and small ensembles.

After several years of touring in Canada with an acoustic dance band, Patrick moved to Boston in 2008 to study at the Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation in 2013, he immediately began a Masters degree in Music from the New England Conservatory, graduating Summa Cum Lauda in 2015 with a performance degree from the Contemporary Improvisation department.

In 2012 Patrick formed the Lonely Heartstring Band, a modern acoustic string-band quintet. Since 2012, the band has released an acclaimed record, “Deep Waters” on Rounder Records with a second album “Smoke and Ashes” released in early winter, 2019. In 2015, the Lonely Heartstring Band was awarded a “Momentum Award” of “Best New Band” by the International Bluergass Music Association (IBMA) and in both 2016 and 2017, the group was nominated for the IBMA award for “Emerging Artist of the Year”.

Since 2008, Patrick has toured with the Lonely Heartstring Band, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Lindsay Lou (formerly Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys), the Fretless, and more. Within these groups he’s performed at a top-tier level playing bluegrass, honky-tonk country, traditional Irish music and swing.

The Lonely Heartstring Band