How I got started

Gail Reese discusses her journey..

by: Gail Reese

I have been playing the fiddle for 6 years. The thing that inspires me the most is hearing great improvisation. It’s like watching magic for me. The first time I saw people jam, I immediately knew that I wanted to be able to do it, but I thought you had to have some special gift or talent.

After playing for about 6 months I went to the CBA Music camp. I took a workshop with Chad Manning, where he explained how to improvise. First he said to find the melody, and then he demonstrated various devices (ie. slides, doublestops, etc.) to embellish the melody. Wow, I thought, I can actually learn to do this!

From that moment on I have been on a mission. I have taken lots of lessons, mostly from Jack Tuttle (including his jam classes) and Chad Manning. I have also taken a few lessons with Megan Lynch and most recently Annie Staninec. I use Band in a Box and Transkriber (computer programs) religiously. I have gone to many music camps including: CCMC (California Coast Music Camp) 6 times, CBA Music Camp 3 times, Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp twice, Wintergrass Academy twice, and once to each of the following: Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, Augusta Heritage, BCBW(British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop), and Fiddlestar Fiddle Camp.

In July I will be attending Camp Bluegrass at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. I have been a teaching assistant at the CBA Music Camp for 4 years. My dream is to be in a band that plays at festivals. I have already played with 3 bands. The first group came out of Jack’s jam class. We called ourselves Bluegrass Addiction. The next band was Briarwood, and we actually played at the Brookdale Bluegrass Festival twice. The last band I played with was ‘Bout Time. We played mostly at the Sr. center, and farmer’s markets. I am currently playing in a newly formed all female band with Jennifer Kitchen of Kitchen Help, called Pearly Blue. We hope to start playing out soon.