Some of Canada’s most famous fiddlers – like Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac and the Rankin Family – hail from Cape Breton Island (home of the Celtic Colours International Festival) where you can step dance, toe-tap and do the highland fling to the region’s distinctive Celtic fiddling music. You, too, can learn to play like the masters at a host of Eastern Canadian fiddle camps held each year from the Ottawa Valley to Prince Edward Island.
The Sheryl Fitzpatrick School of Traditional Fiddle teaches “Canadian, old-time, Irish, Cape Breton and Québecois styles of fiddle.” The school holds annual Ottawa Valley Fiddle Camps for ages eight and up, taught by professional fiddlers and violinists, in Manotick, Ontario.
The Ship’s Company Theatre Fiddle Camp combines classes in fiddle, guitar, piano and mandolin with local adventure in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, where you can watch the world’s highest tides break records in the Minas Basin.
The Annual Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival received the 2011 Premier’s Award for Tourism, and sets the east coast of PEI alive with summer concerts, square dancing and free camping.
The Mark O’Connor/Berklee College Summer String Program is a five-day program where intermediate and advanced students have the chance to study jazz to bluegrass, classical to Celtic with some of the world’s top string players.
Fiddle camp graduates can compete at the annual Maritime Fiddle Festival in Dartmouth, NS, which has been proudly protecting the heritage of old-time Celtic and Acadian fiddling in Canada since 1950.