Tes Slominski

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About Me

I have taught Irish fiddle off and on for 23 years. Raised in Lynchburg with deep roots in Halifax County, I fell in love with Irish fiddle as a teenager and spent a great deal of time in Ireland (including doing an MA in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick). I co-founded the Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville, and then went to NYU to get a Ph.D. in music with a dissertation on gender in Irish traditional music. My book, Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music, was published by Wesleyan University Press in early 2020. As a player, I specialize in the style and repertoire of Sliabh Luachra--and as a teacher, I focus on giving students the basics for any Irish style. I also won a 2nd place medal in slow airs at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (All-Ireland) in 2001 and was a member of the band Roaring Mary, which was active from about 1998-2001. I taught music at Beloit College from 2012-2019, and directed the North Atlantic Music Ensemble, which became a vibrant community for a surprising number of Beloit students.

Teaching Style

Because American students often do not have the nuances of Irish style in our heads when we begin playing, I help students focus on techniques that will help them learn the style as well as the tunes. I believe in the adages "practice makes better" and "slow and steady wins the race"--patiently working with students to help them get tunes sounding good and "lift-y" when played slowly, and working up to session speed. For me, success means that a student (1) finds joy in the music and/or its community; (2) plays with solid, danceable rhythm; (3) reduces the chance of pain from repetitive strain injuries or tension; and (4) cultivates a generosity of spirit in sharing tunes, time, and help with others.

Although I have taught students as young as 6, I am more adept at teaching students 10 and up.

Available By

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Payments Accepted

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Some Supplies You Might Need

Fiddle (violin) and a way to record and play back mp3s and videos.


*TRAIN is a free service offered by the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, which receives no proceeds from instruction. Our mission is to connect artists directly with students, and all instructional arrangements and financial agreements are made exclusively between the artists and the students. The Virginia Folklife Program does not assume responsibility or liability for these arrangements.

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