The Dueling Fiddlers (Adam DeGraff, violin and Russell Fallstad, violin/viola) play many styles of music including classical, rock, pop, and blues. Their video of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” has received almost 30,000 views on YouTube. Now, The Dueling Fiddlers (TDF) is presenting The Rockin’ Fiddle Challenge, an educational contest which shows violinists how to rock out on the traditionally classical instrument.
Contestants can download an arrangement of Guns ‘n Roses’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and watch Adam DeGraff’s instructional videos on his YouTube channel. Participants practice what they have learned, upload a video of themselves as a response to the YouTube video, and post a link of the video on TDF’s Facebook page. DeGraff and the other participants will leave constructive criticism, tips and encouragement on the Facebook page.
The contest began in June, but potential participants can sign up anytime before the competition closes in fall 2010. To date, more than 1000 people across the world have joined the challenge. A jury of musicians and music industry professionals will choose a winner and two runners-up. The grand prize is a violin made by Jan Van Rooyen worth $17,500. The two runners-up will each get a carbon fiber bow from Shar Music, worth $700. Although professional musicians are welcome to enter, the top three prizes will be awarded to amateurs/students, as the spirit of the contest is educational.
If you are interested in signing up for the challenge, please click here.
After receiving the introductory e-mail, participants may download an unedited version of the sheet music. Subsequent e-mails will include PDFs with excerpts of the piece which include fingerings, bowings, dynamics, and articulations. DeGraff will post instructional videos for each section of the music. The sheet music is quite difficult, but DeGraff’s videos do a wonderful job of breaking down the technique into manageable parts so that students can master the challenge.
I’m including three videos below. The first is DeGraff’s introduction video. The second is a video by a contestant. The final video is DeGraff performing the piece in its entirety.