Cathy Clasper-Torch

Fiddle/Violin/Erhu Classes

Cathy teaches both PRIVATE LESSONS (from her home) and GROUP CLASSES (at the Blackstone River Theatre). Her approach to teaching beginners is 'classical' in fundamentals, form and technique. The repertoire, however, is folk/fiddle from a wide variety of cultures, styles and eras.

Cathy has been the fiddle/violin instructor at the Blackstone River Theatre (BRT) since 2006 , teaching beginning levels through advanced, for ages 16 - 80! The spirit of group classes is that of engagement, fun, support and community. Please feel free to call/email Cathy with any specific questions you might have about private or group lessons, or method approach.


  • Total Beginner Fiddle Classes (ADULT)
    This course is for true beginners just starting out on their fiddle journey! The beginner class includes: fundamentals of playing the fiddle (fingering and bowing technique), instrument care, tuning the strings with confidence, and learning simple tunes and exercises by both ear and notation. A recording device is recommended for each class along with a music stand. Students need to bring their fiddle and bow to first class!
  • Continuing Beginner Fiddle Classes
    This class is the next level after you have completed a Beginner level class at Blackstone River Theatre (or elsewhere). Often times a student will take the beginner class twice before moving on. Placement at the discretion of the instructor.
  • Intermediate Fiddle Classes
    This class (or classes) is for those who have taken four or more 6-week sessions at Blackstone River Theatre, or have equivalent experience, and are continuing to build their fiddle skills and repertoire of fiddle tunes (American, Celtic and more).
  • Advanced Intermediate Fiddle Classes
    This class (or classes) is for fiddlers who have played for two years or more, or by discretion of the instructor. General fiddle proficiency (intonation, bowing, fingering) as well as comfort with sight-reading or reading notation is needed. This class includes: learning a broad repertoire of fiddle music (American, Celtic and more), playing by ear, performance skills and comfort, beginning ornamentation of tunes, session and jam etiquette. A recording device and music stand are recommended for each class.
  • Advanced Level Fiddle Classes (two levels)
    These classes are for independent fiddle players who are comfortable with notation/sight reading, and have a general mastery of their instrument. The advanced classes includes: ear training and memorization of tunes, as well as exploration of improvisation and harmony. Placement in this class level will be at the discretion of the instructor and there are two levels to allow us to place "like" levels together. Recording device and music stand are recommended for each class. Players at this level will, on occasion, also learn tunes/repertoire for performance at Blackstone River Theatre events such as the Blackstone River Theatre Craft Fair and the Summer Solstice Festival.

Cathy Clasper Torch is a multi-instrumentalist whose primary focus is fiddle/violin and piano. She combines her early classical training with love of improvisation and music of all genres and cultures. Cathy records and performs in the area with numerous bands and musicians including the Atwater~Donnelly Trio and The Gnomes and released her first solo CD in 2011. Visit


So we can be assured of meeting the minimum needed to hold any of our class offerings, BRT NEEDS PRE-PAYMENT AT LEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE THE START OF ANY CLASS (and hopefully sooner!) or we'll need to cancel at that time.

For class fees and registration/payment information, please...

  1. E-mail to pre-register and then,
  2. Put a check payable to Blackstone River Theatre in the mail ASAP to: Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad Street, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864


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Providence, RI 401-272-3942