Fid­dle me this North River woman has a pas­sion for play­ing and teach­ing oth­ers

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - BY LYNN CURWIN lynn.curwin@truro­daily.com

From the time she was a child, lis­ten­ing to the mu­sic at the fire­men’s pic­nic, Julie John­stone wanted to play the fid­dle.

To­day, she plays at events around the area and teaches oth­ers to play.

“I thought fid­dling was the coolest thing,” she re­calls.

“At the age of eight I started play­ing clas­si­cal, but didn’t like it very much. Then I met Lloyd Tat­trie. I would lis­ten to him and play things back. I learned a lot from him, and oth­ers, like Carl El­liott.”

Growing up in Tata­m­agouche, she didn’t know any other chil­dren her age play­ing fid­dle, but that didn’t cause a prob­lem.

“I think it pre­vented bul­ly­ing, in a way,” she said. “I had two record­ings and had been on TV by the time I fin­ished school, and I think it gained me a bit of re­spect.”

John­stone took busi­ness cour­ses in col­lege, teach­ing fid­dle lessons to pay her way.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, she worked in an of­fice for about four months, and didn’t en­joy it.

Her fa­ther en­cour­aged her to quit and teach fid­dling to more peo­ple.

“I love teach­ing,” she said. “It re­ally lights my fire see­ing peo­ple do things they didn’t think they could do. I’m ex­cited when brand

new peo­ple, who’ve never played, take lessons.

“Some of them have a fid­dle that be­longed to a par­ent or grand­par­ent, and they say they al­ways wanted to play but never had time to learn. Some peo­ple played when they were young and are go­ing back to it.”

The ma­jor­ity of her stu­dents are fe­males, with all of the adult stu­dents at this time be­ing women.

John­stone en­joys per­form­ing and, al­though she’s known as a fid­dler, she some­times plays clas­si­cal vi­o­lin.

She owns a few fid­dles, in­clud­ing two that Lloyd Tat­trie gifted to her and one her hus­band made for her.

“The fid­dle is some­thing I was drawn to, and I can’t ex­plain it,” she said. “It was just some­thing that spoke to me.”

More in­for­ma­tion on John­stone’s mu­sic can be found at https://juliejohn­stone.ca/

LYNN CURWIN/TRURO NEWS

Julie John­stone was drawn to the fid­dle from the time she was a small child. She now plays at events and teaches adults and chil­dren to play fid­dle.

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