Fiddle Lessons

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Fiddle lessons for 12 year old

March 2012

Fiddle teacher wanted for 12 year old to learn, ''from scratch''. She had 2-3 years of piano but wants to learn to fiddle. In Berkeley area.

Lila Sklar taught my daughter fiddle for many years until she went away for college. Lila did insist on classical positioning and scales but also taught her a wide variety of folk music styles from Irish fiddle tunes to the Middle East. My daughter always came home from her lessons excited and inspired. At one point Lila even introduced my daughter to some electronics and improvisation when my daughter spoke with her about joining a band. My daughter still remembers her lessons with Lila fondly and is now playing in a band at her college on the East coast! When she first started with Lila, she was coming from another teacher and was burned out on the classical Suzuki track. Lila rekindled her love for music and now she has a skill that will serve her for the rest of her life. Lila teaches out of her home in South Berkeley her # is 510-282-5452 mom of a happy fiddler!

The Fifth String darlin! right there on Ashby and adeline. Its a world of fun! Reenie

Hi, we love Catherine manning. She teaches kids and her husband, chad, teaches adults. He also plays with the David Grisman band and Laurie Lewis. They teach at the tannery buildings on gilman street. She's pretty busy but might as well check in with her and see if there's a slot! Catherine manning: 415-596-5961, chadandcath [at], Maria

I can highly recommend Catherine Manning, who offers fiddle lessons to children from her studio in Berkeley. My daughter has been taking lessons from her for about a year and Catherine is a wonderful teacher: Kind, patient, positive, and encouraging. She also offers regular jams with kids playing together. Part of the enjoyment of learning from her is that she accompanies the children with guitar or another instrument so that even simple tunes sound good. She can be reached at: chadandcath [at]

Fiddle Teacher for kids in North Oakland?

Nov 2011

can anyone recommend a good fiddle teacher for kids near north oakland? mom of 7 year old

Kaila Flexer lives in Oakland and accepts students of all levels and works with both children and adults. She works with people interested in exploring folk and fiddle styles, jazz and improvisation. Google her or write to Kaila [at] Shay

Rosie Steffy teaches my son fiddle in North Oakland. She is fantastic with kids. My son is 5. He can already play some nice sounding notes, and is learning basic rhythm. She teaches in a folk style, strictly by ear. Her number is 510-547-4824. Su

Fiddle Teacher for adults

April 2011

I am looking for a fiddle teacher for a beginning adult. Thanks! Mare

I highly recommend Kaila Flexer. She's amazing as a musician and a teacher for any age. Dashka

I highly recommend Lila Sklar in Berkeley When I first started taking lessons with her I was in my early 50's and had not played since I was a child. She was patient and inspiring and encouraged me to play what I liked to listen to! She is very thorough about things like position but she has a very free flowing attitude about style. (One of her specialties is Balkan and middle Eastern music.) She helped me with reading and ear-training and now I play in a chamber music group as well as a Turkish Folk Music band! I would still be with Lila if I had not moved to the East Coast. Marie

I see a great violin/fiddle teacher (Lila Sklar) in Berkeley. I picked up the instrument at 34 years old with ZERO experience and am happy with the progress I've made over the past two years with her. Lila, who's been playing since she was 5, is patient and has respect for us adults trying to learn such a challenging instrument. In addition to technique and reading music, she puts emphasis on relaxed and proper body mechanics (so that we won't tire out as players and can enjoy our music for a long long time!) Check out her web site: Sierra-maria

Nov 2009

Re: Violin teacher for preschool-age kids?
There is an excellent fiddle teacher for children in El Cerrito -Catherine Manning. Some of her students are very young children and she teaches traditional, bluegrass, folk, fiddle tunes. She has a monthly kids jam where her students are invited to a jam session at her house. My husband takes mandolin lessons with her husband, Chad (a great fiddle player and teacher who plays with David Grisman's Bluegrass band)and has helped out at a few of the kids jams playing mandolin. He tells me Catherine is terrific with the kids and as a group, they play great and have a good time. Her contact info is: Catherine Manning email: chadandcath [at] phone: 510-734-0910

March 2009: Fiddle Lessons for 10 year old

My son wants to learn fiddle. I looked on the archives and saw lots of violin teachers, but no fiddle teachers. Anyone know of a fun, affordable fiddle teacher in the Oakland area? My son reads music well and has studied piano for 3 years. I'd like him to try a couple of lessons before deciding whether to switch instruments. music mama

I know just the person for your son! Amy Hofer is fabulous--fun, patient, good sense of humor, an excellent teacher, and terrific fiddler. Contact her at: 510) 213 0702 E-Mail: hoferamy [at] She lives in Oakland, too! --an Amy Hofer fan

Kaila Flexer is an amazing fiddle teacher, performer, and composer. My 10-yr-old daughter has been taking lessons from Kaila for 4 years, and she loves it. Kaila is fun, inventive, and creative. She and my daughter laugh A LOT during the lessons, and my daughter is inspired both to play songs she already knows and to stretch with new material. Highly recommended! You can check out her website at for more info, and to hear the music she plays and performs with her band, Teslim, You can contact her directly at kaila [at] Janet

Irene Sezar is a wonderful teacher who does fiddle as well as other styles. She's in Berkeley.510-418-1965 Sarah (another violin teacher)

Contact Kaila Flexer through her website, She is great and fun, a mom herself, an accomplished musician and experienced teacher. And I'm sure she would be happpy to teach your son to fiddle!! Former Fiddler Myself

Hello- I would like to highly recommend my daughter's fiddle teacher, Catherine Manning. She is so wonderful with our daughter and with all the kids she teaches. As well as the lessons she also has monthly fiddle jams for her students where they all get together and play. Really fun! You can email her at: cath_manning [at] Fiddle Mama

March 2008: fiddle teacher for myself and my son

I am looking for recommendations for a fiddle teacher for myself (a beginner) and my son (who has taken a year of violin lessons). Preferably someone closer to the Pinole area. Sharyl

I just joined so I don't know what your original post said but if you are looking for some great fiddle teachers I highly recommend Chad and Catherine Manning. My daughter and I have been taking lessons from them for several years now, Chad is spectacular with adult beginners, he also performs with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience and Catherine is wonderful with kids. They are located in El Cerrito, Chad's website:, their email: chadandcath [at] Happy Fiddlin!

June 2005

I haven't played the violin since I was a kid and now I'd like to start over but play fiddle instead of going the classical route. Can anyone suggest a teacher. Thanks. Stefanie

I highly recommend Chad Manning, he specializes in teaching adults (beginners, intermediate or advanced) - teaching all kinds of fiddle styles: bluegrass, jazz, swing, improvisation etc. His website: Phone: 510-528-1311 Have fun fiddling!!!

I take fiddle lessons from Robin Flower. She is the best! I didn't know a thing about violins or fiddles and because of her I am able to play many many tunes and even participate in her Once a Month String Band - we are performing this Saturday. She teaches in Oakland. You can contact her at 510-482-9479. Check out her website at Sandy


May 2003

In past summers, somebody offered ''Fiddlesticks'' a half day violin class on what else, but fiddling. I think this person was located in Richmond. Is this program still happening? We are looking for a fun strings experience for a 12-year old with 4 plus years of violin, that is local (Berk/Alb, EC,Richmond, N.Oakland), that would last 1-2 weeks. I searched for Fiddlesticks on the web site and came up with no hits. Does anyone have previous experience or a name/phone number to contact them by? Thanks for the help! (Cazadero won't work for us this year.) Lissa

Question was: Is Fiddlesticks still around?
Answer: YES! I am the director of FIDDLEKIDS and I assume this is what you are looking for. FIDDLEKIDS is a one-week intensive day-camp providing instruction in traditional fiddle styles with accompanying art and dance. One year minimum on the violin is required prior to camp and the camp is for kids ages 7-13. Further information can be found at: or email me at bobbinik at
Bobbi Shearn Nikles