Way back before Jen and I were married, I was touring a lot.

One day she asked me what my dream job would be. I told her I would love to teach music all day; to pass on the tunes my heroes passed to me, and with the same patience.

A few weeks later in March of 2008, we opened The Front Room, our working music and art studio.

At that time we heard so many students asking for an online resource.

They wanted breakdowns to download and stream.

They wanted tablature.

They wanted to dig deeper at their own pace and on their own schedule.

But building up a whole website takes time, money, and tech skills that we just didn’t have.

In 2014 we were awarded an ArtSpark grant from the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and with that, we were able to create this website- by far the web’s most comprehensive teaching tool for students of Cajun fiddle.

Years of experience working one-to-one and in group settings with students at all levels gives us insight into the needs of developing fiddlers and the gaps in the available online resources.

From breakdowns of tunes to careful explanations of technique and theory points, we’ve been able to meet those needs and continue to find new ways to do so.
It’s been a dream come true...


Biography

I am a multi-instrumentalist, traditional music instructor, and storyteller. Born in Bayou Vista, raised in Lafayette by musicians and storytellers from Mamou, at 15 I began playing the fiddle and studying traditional Cajun and Creole music. By 17 I toured as a cultural ambassador in Smithsonian Institution Office of Folklife Programs, and have continued to work with them since 1989. 

During my career, I have played alongside Louisiana greats such as Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin, Charles Neville, and George Porter. I have performed on four Grammy Nominated albums, and in 2009 I was awarded a Grammy with BeauSoleil for the album “Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”. Over the years I have built an extensive repertoire and learned an old style of playing which is evident in my sound today.

5 years ago I retired from 11 years on the road as the bass player and second fiddler with BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. Two years ago I moved from Louisiana to Maine with my wife and our family. These changes helped me continue passing on the unwritten tradition of Cajun and Creole fiddling and storytelling while exploring the connections between the musical traditions of Acadia and Acadiana.

 


Curriculum Vitae


TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Owner, MitchReedMusicLessons.com — 2014-Present
Online fiddle breakdowns, master classes, and instructional materials available online at MitchReedMusicLessons.com

Teaching Artist, 317 Main; Yarmouth, Maine — 2018-Present
Group and private lessons in a variety of styles and instruments for students of various ages and abilities

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor,  Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp; Olivebridge, NY – 2001 to 2006, 2017, 2019, 2020
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music, as well as band labs

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor,  Augusta Heritage Fiddle Camp, Elkins, WV – 1994 to 2001, 2019, 2020
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor, Swamp in the City; Brooklyn, NY – 2019, 2020
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor, Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp; Nevada City, CA – 2020
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor, Fiddle Hell; Westford, MA – 2019, 2020
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor, Fiddle Tunes; Port Townsend, WA – 2019
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Owner, The Front Room; Scott, Louisiana — 2008-2018
Group and private lessons in a variety of styles and instruments for students of all ages and abilities

Adjunct Professor, University of Louisiana; Lafayette, Louisiana — 2013-2015
Cajun Ensemble Director under The Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music

Cajun/Creole Fiddle Instructor, Big Sur Fiddle Camp; Big Sur, CA – 2011
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun and Creole music.

Advanced Fiddle Instructor, Louisiana Folk Roots Cajun & Creole Summer Camp for Kids; Lafayette, Louisiana – 2009 to 2018
Instruct students ages 8-14 in traditional Cajun music at a week-long day camp

Beginner/Intermediate Fiddle Instructor, Louisiana Folk Roots Dewey Balfa Cajun & Creole Heritage Week; Ville Platte, Louisiana – 2009 to 2018
Instruct students ages 8-14 in traditional Cajun music at a week-long day camp

Cajun Fiddle Instructor, Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp; Charleston, SC – 2008-2009
Instruct students of all ages in traditional Cajun music

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
This American Life, National Public Radio – 2013
Featured with Jen Reed in Episode 494, Hit the Road by Jay Allison

Smithsonian Institution Office of Folklife Programs, National Council for the Traditional Arts; Marathon, FL – 2011 & 2012
Performed with Michael and David Doucet to spearhead an American roots music festival

Local Learning Lafayette, The National Network for Folk Arts in Education; Lafayette, LA –  2009-2012
Partnered with teachers at L.J.Alleman Middle School to incorporate folk arts in formal education

Festival of American Folklife, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; Washington, DC – 1998
Performed for two weeks with Dewey Balfa as a representative of contemporary Cajun culture on The National Mall

Masters of the Folk Violin North American Tour, National Council for the Traditional Arts – 1994-1995
This tour highlighted Irish, Cape Breton, bluegrass, jazz/blues, Cajun, and Western longbow fiddle styles and featured artists such as Brendan Mulvihill, Natalie McMaster, Kenny Baker, and Michael Doucet

AWARDS
Best Music School; Times of Acadiana – 2018

Best Guitar Teacher; Lessons.com – 2018

Appreciation Award; Cajun French Music Association – 2015

ArtSpark Award Grant; Acadiana Center for the Arts – 2014

Grammy Nominee; Alligator Purse, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet – 2010

Grammy Nominee; From Now On, Michael Doucet – 2010

Grammy Recipient; Live at 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet – 2009

Grammy Nominee; Racines, Racines – 2008

Award for the Preservation of Traditional Cajun Music; Cajun French Music Association (CFMA); McCauley, Reed, Vidrine – 1992

CAJUN BANDS
Racines; Bass & Second Fiddle  2005 to Present

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet; Second Fiddle & Bass – 2006 to 2017

CharivariBand Leader & Lead Fiddle – 1997 to 2006

Mamou Prairie Band; Bass & Second Fiddle – 1996

Balfa Toujours; Bass & Second Fiddle – 1995

TassoLead Fiddle – 1992 to 1994

McCauley, Reed, Vidrine; Lead Fiddle – 1990 to 1991


FAQs

-Is it me or are you tuned down?
Yes, good ear! My breakdowns are tuned Cajun (DGCF), which is one whole step down from Standard tuning (EADG). Check out my post in The Vlog called Talk About Cajun Tuning for more on that.

-Do you recommend a 30-minute lesson or an hour-long lesson? 
I normally recommend a full hour. For students under 12 years old, I generally recommend a full hour for the first lesson, and a half-hour lesson once a week after that.

-How much do you charge for private lessons?
I charge $30 per 30 minutes of private instruction.

-I'm having trouble with Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. 
CLICK HERE for help with Zoom
CLICK HERE for help with Skype
CLICK HERE for help with FaceTime

-Can you help me with my Vimeo on Demand purchases? 
Sort of. I can’t see who buys what on Vimeo, but I can tell you my students have had a lot of luck after reading this page in their Help Center: https://vimeo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/235696528-Watching-your-On-Demand-videos

-When should I expect my mail order?
Your order typically goes out the next business day. I’ll email you when it’s on the way, and it should arrive in about a week.

-How can I get in touch with you?
Call or text 833-337-MRML or email, mitch at mitchreedmusiclessons.com

-What about those who can't afford lessons?
If you find yourself short on time, budget, or both, our free resources can keep you fiddling. The more you play, the more progress you make, so even when things are tight, this info will keep you fiddling away to your goal.

It's also important to note that although Cajuns and Creoles are rich in culture, they are historically marginalized and impoverished communities. Since 2008, Mitch Reed Music Lessons has offered scholarships to students in need, and with the help of patrons from all over the world, has been able to offer free instruction to students who otherwise would not be able to afford lessons or instruments. If Cajun or Creole music has been like a gift to you, consider paying it forward and helping to keep a culture alive and thriving.
CLICK HERE to apply or to make a donation

 

 

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