If you've had me as a teacher, I'd love to hear from you. I'll put your testimonials here.
I wanted to take a minute to thank you for giving me the gift of fiddling. I've enjoyed the classes and the experience immensely. I've advanced beyond anything I had hoped for and I can't wait for level two.
James doesn’t just teach you how to play the fiddle, he introduces you to a new world of fiddling culture. He has a unique way of teaching by ear that includes the fundamentals of good Irish traditional playing. The mix of class instruction and his videos for reinforcement between lessons is a great balance, and his tips and stories are priceless. His friendly personality puts the beginner at ease: he makes you believe you’ll quickly learn to play, and you do.
James is a patient, friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable teacher. I've taken classes with him at the IAC for several years, starting from the first time I picked up a fiddle as an adult. I would highly recommend taking his classes, at any age.
James is very patient & listens to what the student needs. He pushes you along so you surpass your own expectations! He also keeps students informed about related events to help us develop. A great experience!
James somehow made every minute of our one hour class count without ever seeming to rush. His patience made me much more confident.
He explains basic musical concepts well, such that even the least experienced musician can grasp the ideas. Working with him as a beginner was great - he's patient, knowledgeable, and so darn nice :)
James is an excellent teacher! I took his class for absolute beginners this spring. The class was enjoyable, and I ended it feeling like I had a great base for continuing my practice. James was patient, knowledgeable, and more than willing to answer questions. In addition to teaching the basics of fiddle, he shared a lot of information about the history, context, and different styles of the instrument and what we were playing, which I loved. I will definitely be taking classes with him in the future and highly recommend you do too!
James Cleveland is an extraordinary teacher for fiddlers of all levels. He conveys concepts with unusual clarity, breaks down tunes into manageable chunks, and follows up with array of suggestions on listening to tunes played by a variety of musicians. His basic kindness and support has inspired countless students of varying abilities learn to play and develop themselves.
I take the intermediate fiddle class at the Irish arts center with James and he is such a patient and fun instructor! His classes are peppered with funny anecdotes and little tricks to sound great on the fiddle. The selection of tunes that he chooses to teach is wonderful too.
James Cleveland was a fantastic teacher. I highly recommend him to you. My overall experience was excellent! He was organized, patient, and accessible for questions. He created a relaxed environment to learn, and provided all the materials, such as videos and notation to review the tunes.
James is an enthusiastic, clear, and supportive teacher. His love for Irish music is a great motivator for the beginning fiddler, like myself. By the end of the class, I had five Irish tunes under my belt! His teaching and, subsequently, my learning exceeded my expectations.
James puts a great amount of effort into selecting the right tunes and then teaching multiple ways of playing them. While he teaches by ear he always hands out the sheet music with the variations that he has taught at the end of class. I found this very useful in compiling a compendium of his taught tunes.
James is truly a wonderful teacher. I have been playing classical violin since I was about 10 (I’m currently 30), and have always wanted to get into playing in Irish music sessions. James was the perfect person to help me make the shift into Irish fiddling-- he teaches you how to use your ear, and offers great insights into the style and tradition behind session playing with genuine patience and kindness. I now regularly see him at sessions, and he is very encouraging and welcoming! Both myself and my aunt, who picked up a violin for the first time in her 50's, had terrific experiences with him. I highly recommend taking lessons with James to students at all ages and skill levels!
I began playing the flute at age 10, and studied classical music seriously into my teens. The local public school system in Cincinnati, Ohio didn’t have a string program, and I truly wish that it had! Years later when I came to Manhattan, I bought a used fiddle at a silent auction and although I had never played a stringed instrument before, I was determined to learn it. And I was in my late 50s. After taking classes at the Irish Arts Center, I began taking lessons with James Cleveland.
I truly appreciate his patience and approach to teaching Irish fiddle. In just over two years and a lot of practice, he’s helped me to come a very long way. There is still a bit more to go, but with James’ encouragement and steady hard work, I expect to do even better.
I have loved Irish fiddle music all my life and have attempted on my own to play for fifteen years. As traveling nurse, I found myself in New York city about 2012. Through the wonderful New York Irish Center in Long Island City, I discovered James Cleveland's fiddle teaching. James to me is the most generous, kind, unassuming Irish fiddle expert and teacher. He is able to get through to those who learn easily by ear, but also older people like me who learn visually from sheet music. He has an authentic Irish style, and he painstakingly notes the slurs and ornaments in a simple manner easily understood. His kindness enables even the most timid soul to play in public with others. James is a favorite with young pub session players as well as older folks who play at afternoon sessions at the Irish center. He is also a wonderful, warm singer who inspires others to join in the chorus. I highly recommend James to any aspiring Irish fiddle player. My husband is a semi-professional jazz fiddler who has noticed an improvement in my playing due to the influence of James.
James' encyclopedic knowledge is an inspiration for both the novice and the experienced, and he is able to welcome his students into a deep affection for the culture, history and spirit that is essential for playing Irish music.