Sarah Comer

Old time fiddle
Available: Monday and Thursday
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: Adult
Call for rates

Across America, fiddling has its own regional accents and repertoires; Sarah specializes in Northwest fiddling, so along with the southern hoedowns that people tend to think of when they hear “old-time,” she also teaches Irish jigs, Canadian reels, and Scandinavian waltzes that have been here for generations and become part of the regional repertoire. As a dance musician, Sarah teaches students how to fit tunes to the dances they were written for, and although she enjoys working with students of all ages, she particularly likes helping adult beginners discover it’s not too late to learn.

As someone fortunate to learn from the previous generations of old time fiddlers, Sarah's mission is to pass on not just tunes, but an understanding of the genre and its history as a whole to a new generation of tradition bearers. The fiddle can be equal parts fun and frustration at times, but, with some help identifying your goals and the practice habits that will help the student achieve them, it can be a gratifying and exciting journey. She believes in building a firm foundation in ear learning before reading music (just as you learned to speak English before reading it) and making sure all students know enough music theory to understand how music works and provide the vocabulary to talk about it with others.

Sarah has entertained audiences across the Northwest, taught for the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association and Pierce College, and was listed in the Top 10 Musicians in The Best of the Northwest.

Dan Kahane

Fiddle, classical violin and viola, clawhammer banjo, guitar, and mandolin
Available: Monday - Wednesday, Saturday - Sunday
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: All
Call for rates

As an instructor, Daniel transmits the teachings of his teachers—the seminal folk and blues musicians of the 1950s and 60s—while adding his own unique flavors. He strives to connect and collaborate with each student, meeting and guiding them in their musical journey. He is well versed in traditional folk music styles, from Ireland to the hollers of Kentucky, and teaches this music on fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. Daniel strives to create and maintain a learning environment that supports growth and achievement and enjoys witnessing the accomplishments that students achieve when they work hard and practice diligently.

Daniel grew up in Southern California and cut his teeth learning to play musical instruments from respected folk musicians like Frank Hamilton of The Weavers and fingerpicking guru Bob Baxter at McCabe’s in Santa Monica. He competed at the venerable Topanga Canyon Banjo and Fiddle Contest in the 1970s and ’80s and won First Place in Advanced, Professional, and Band Divisions. He’s been a music teacher for over thirty years and most recently worked as a master teacher with Santa Rosa Symphony’s “Simply Strings” where he provided musical instruction to an underserved community. He’s also taught environmental sciences in Spanish and English for all ages.

A founding member of the eclectic forty-year-old six-piece ensemble, “Hot Lips & Fingertips” in California, Daniel also records and performs with the trio, Youkali. A student and assistant instructor of Aikido, Daniel holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt).

Allan MacDonald

Scottish and Irish fiddle
Available: Tuesday
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: 5+
Call for rates

Practice, fun, and tunes—that's what it’s about! Allan is comfortable teaching by ear or by sheet music, and selects his approach according to the student’s preferences and needs.

Allan grew up in Scotland and first learned fiddle tunes from masters such as Angus Grant, Alisdair Hardie, and Tom Anderson. He played in orchestras during his teens and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. However, the jigs and reels of Irish pub sessions proved to have a greater pull than symphonies and concertos, and he soon was playing Scottish and Irish fiddle regularly, including a performance at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival with Sheena Wellington.

Later, he worked as a Scottish fiddler at Fort Michilimackinac in northern Michigan, appeared on local television in San Francisco playing Scottish fiddle with guitarist Dylan Schorer, and transcribed the Martin Hayes CD, Under the Moon, for MelBay Publishing. He taught violin to grades 4-8 in a Waldorf school for two years and has taught privately for 15 years. In San Francisco, he played many a late night pub session with great players including Brian Therioux, Tina Ley, Flynn Cohen, and Dylan Schorer. Since moving to Seattle he has played in sessions at Molly McGuire’s, Conor Byrne, and the Irish Emigrant, as well as several house concerts and other appearances.

Stuart Williams

Old time fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, mandolin, and tenor banjo
Available: Monday
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: All
Call for rates

Stuart plays and teaches the old time fiddle music of the Greater Northwest: Missouri and Southern hoedowns, Canadian jigs and reels, Scandinavian waltzes, and more. Having studied the details of the personal and regional styles, as well as repertoire of the older masters of this art, he is eager to pass this knowledge on to you.

Stuart is eminently interested in matching his approach to your best learning style and interests. He also enjoys teaching fiddle tunes and fiddle and song accompaniment on mandolin, guitar, and tenor and clawhammer banjo. Music theory that you can understand and readily use permeate his approach to teaching, but the most important thing is to help the student develop his or her musical ear, a feel for the music, and find their personal style and way into this wonderful social and dance music.

Stuart focuses particularly on details of style and bow work that characterize the individual and regional styles, having learned first-hand from experienced dance fiddlers in rural Michigan and the Pacific Northwest since 1972. He plays throughout the Pacific Northwest for contra and square dances, including stints with Flash in the Pan in the 1970s and Pleasures of Home in the 1990s, among others.

He also has extensive experience documenting the older generation of fiddlers and presents this music through recordings and written works. Stuart has taught full time since 1993, both privately and in workshops through the Washington Old Time Fiddlers’ Association and other Northwest organizations. He was featured in the summer 2014 issue of Fiddler magazine.