Trish Horrocks was my first fiddle teacher. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her inspiration and guidance!
She co-runs Fiddelium with her husband Geoff Horrocks. Together they run Cross Canada Fiddle in Nanaimo and teach individuals as well as a wide range of groups.
Q: What’s your favorite type of music to play?
A: That depends on what day you ask me, because I’m most excited to play the music that I’ve listened to that day. I organize my iTunes playlists by style, so if I listen to the Quebec Pur Laine playlist then I’m totally stoked to play classic french Canadian tunes. If the Scandinavian list comes up then I want to grab my fiddle and go through some Frigg or Vasen tunes. But my desert-island fiddle music is definitely Quebecois or American Old-Time.
Q: Is anyone in your family a musician?
A: Not in my immediate family, although all 7 kids in my family had music lessons as children. However I do have second cousins in County Clare (Ireland) who are professional touring musicians. Hopefully I will get to meet them some day to play a few tunes.
Q: What inspired you to pick up the fiddle?
A: Not a story I’m proud of, I’m afraid…. my elementary school was part of a pilot project studying the effect of music education on the development of math skills, and I was given a choice between math or violin class. That was an easy choice for me because I hated math! It was a Suzuki program, and our teacher encouraged us to explore many styles of music, so I go to learn a few fiddle tunes early on. Perhaps because of my father’s Irish background, it was a style of music I was drawn to right away. By the way, violin lessons did not help my math skills.
Q: Do you prefer to teach, perform or write music?
A: The idea of performing is exciting, but it’s not something I’ve ever learned to enjoy. I really do enjoy teaching, and I think it’s something I’m meant to do. During the school year I’m too busy to devote time to writing original tunes, which takes time and requires that I have access to lots of silence. I love the challenge of creating ensemble arrangements of my favourite tunes, and it’a always thrilling to hear those arrangements played by our student groups.
Q: Do you have any tips for new fiddle players?
A: Be patient and careful while learning essential skills like bow grip, left hand position, tone production and accurate intonation. Building those foundations correctly from the start will save you months of frustration (and possible injury) down the road. Also, listen to as much music as possible (and not just fiddle music or classical violin repertoire).
Q: What other instruments do you play besides fiddle?
A: It depends what you mean by “play!” I studied both violin and viola in university; I have some training on piano; I play cello a little bit; I can play acoustic and electric bass enough to get myself in trouble.
Q: How long have you been playing fiddle?
A: 37 years
Trish will be one of the instructors at the Nanaimo Fiddle Society Camp in August 2016. For more information or to register www.nanaimofiddlesociety.org