I offer private tuition to all ages & abilities from my home in Sheffield. I currently teach fiddle/violin, voice & music theory lessons, and have a full DBS check (formerly CRB) from my time working as a choral animateur. If you live nearby, I might be able to come to you, otherwise I also offer lessons via Skype, Zoom etc.
I also offer tune-learning lessons to players of other melody instruments who wish to broaden their repertoire of Irish, English, Oldtime, and/or Swedish folk music...
Please contact me directly to find out more, ask questions, or arrange a consultation.
"I am so happy to have Rowan as my fiddle teacher! I have only played the fiddle for 2 1/2 years, but Rowan has made me more confident in my playing and he is very inspiring to learn from. I am from Denmark and it is very valuble for me to have lessons from Rowan via Skype since I’m not able to travel to Ireland or the UK to learn folk music. There are so many subtle things in the music that are difficult to pick up from just reading the sheet music and listening to records, so having a great teacher to guide you is essential." – Tanja S.
"I’ve found Rowan to be a truly inspirational violin teacher. After many years of learning the violin as an adult I had felt frustrated by my lack of progress. During lockdown I remembered attending a couple of fiddle workshops that Rowan ran at Sidmouth Folk Festival and realised I could have lessons with him online. After just a few lessons I feel much more in control of my bow and I am at last making real progress. Rowan has a very wide field of knowledge from classical to various different styles of folk music and draws on his knowledge to help me bring out the best in a tune. He is very good at explaining the best ways to solve my problems and is always encouraging and good to talk to." – Anne G.
"Rowan is a great teacher and a great player, with heaps of awesome tunes to show you, as well as great technical instruction and helpful advice about strings, rosin and bows. I would highly recommend him for fiddle lessons!" – Guy H.
"Having had regular lessons with Rowan for around a year, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better fiddle teacher. Although I had played the cello at school, I had never had any violin lessons and had never learnt any music by ear.
Rowan instantly made me feel at ease and I quickly gained confidence in my own playing to the point that I was able to pick up tunes much more easily and even join in at sessions. Being able to listen to Rowan’s amazing playing while learning new tunes was worth the lesson price in itself! He really is a fantastic musician, but even more importantly is also a hugely patient and encouraging teacher." – Emma B.
"My experience of taking lessons from Rowan is a happy one! He understood right away my skill level and tailors the lessons based on the best way to help me improve. He is patient and supportive. His enthusiasm is contagious and the interesting stories
that he shares (from his family’s great musical tradition) give each tune a deeper meaning. Aside from traditional Irish tunes, I am thrilled to be learning from Rowan Scandinavian tunes as well.
He is extremely knowledgeable and an amazing player of this style as well.
He shares a recording of each tune, along with the sheet music and a recap on what I need to work on each time." – Anna W.
"Rowan is a fantastic teacher. We highly recommend him. Our daughter has been having lessons online. Rowan is so knowledgeable about folk music and the related techniques for violin like bowing and ornamentation. Rowan is also patient and understanding to his students. His thoughtful, reflective and encouraging approach combined with his knowledge makes him a truly great teacher." – Jacob C.
"Rowan is an excellent teacher with a very broad knowledge of tunes and a master of his instrument. When I first came to Rowan I was a frustrated player. I wanted to not only improve my technique but to also shift from playing a classical violin style to a more relaxed fiddle style. I had attended a fiddle workshop with Rowan a few years earlier so I was really excited to actually be able to take lessons with him. On my very first lesson Rowan had shown me how to loosen up my bowing arm and create the more relaxed sound that I had been trying to do for many, many years. 5 years of playing and he'd transformed my sound in a single lesson!
I loved Rowan's relaxed and informal teaching approach right from the start. Instead of having me stood bolt upright, reading from music books, we actually learned the pieces by ear in a seated position, which was far more enjoyable for me. He broke the pieces down in to small chunks by demonstrating them himself. Once I'd got the hang of a piece we'd perform them together with him adding in harmony lines and extra frills which really made me feel like a more accomplished player. He even let me record him playing certain pieces so I could hear how they were meant to sound and could perfect them at home.
I'd initially come to Rowan to learn Irish fiddle which is really Rowan's speciality. However, in our time together he introduced me to Old time American tunes which are now some of my favourite pieces to play. His knowledge of tunes not only from celtic backgrounds but also Swedish and Old time are second to none and he always offered a background to virtually every tune he showed me. I learned more with Rowan in 6 months than I had in the previous 5 years with my classical teacher.
I would thoroughly recommend Rowan. His relaxed, friendly and patient approach makes it a real joy to learn with him. I consider myself very lucky to have gleaned some of his very extensive knowledge which I use in my playing every single day." – Claire B.
Warwick Folk Festival 2022:
Different Styles of Jig
Sidmouth Folk Week:
Swedish Polska / Irish Hornpipe
Lewes Folk Festival: Explore rhythmic feel, bowing styles and ornamentation across a range of traditional musics.
Warwick Folk Festival: European Fiddle Styles – similarities & differences...
Soundpost Singing Weekend: Lilting
Schools Project (for Southdowns Folk Festival)
I have just finished working with Anna Tabbush, teaching children in local primary schools in an exciting music programme on the theme “Songs from the Sea”, which culminated in a special Schools Concert in Bognor's Alexandra Theatre on Saturday 23rd September. Have a listen below!