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Karen Celia Heil, a skillful, fun and enthusiastic teacher, is an expert fiddler and guitarist with a special love of Old~Time Southern American fiddle music.

In a class or private lesson format, Karen creates a relaxed and fun environment for her students. She emphasizes learning by ear, and learning how to practice.  The sources of the music are mined, usually from old field recordings, current respected fiddle players, and scratchy 78s.  Attention is paid to the rhythms that give Old~Time music its distinctive yet elusive sound.  Classes are held in Berkeley, and at Karen's home studio in Bernal Heights.  Private lessons are held at the studio, or in home visits can be arranged.


Karen has been on the teaching staff at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Swannanoa Gathering Old~Time Week, Ashokan Southern Week, Augusta Old-time Week, NimbleFingers, Austin String Band Festival, the Gainsborough Festival in the UK, Grass Valley CBA Camp, the Berkeley String Band Class, Lark In the Morning Music Camp, the Minnesota BG and OT Festival, the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival, and 2019 will mark her 8th year teaching at the Freight & Salvage's Fiddle Kids Camp.

Karen performs with the Bucking Mules, KC & the MooNshine Band, Plaid Strangers, the Knuckle Knockers, and with many luminaries of Old~Time and Roots music, such as Eddie Bond and Rafe Stefanini. She has won awards for her playing, at Clifftop with the Bucking Mules (First, First, Second and Fourth), also at Clifftop for her fiddling (Second), and at the Santa Barbara Fiddler's Festival (First and First). Karen also can be found playing Cajun music with Suzy Thompson and the Aux Cajunals, and Ann Savoy and her Raggedy Anns.

Past projects include the the Creole Belles cajun band, and Axel Eeph.  Her performing experience includes being cast in the award winning production of the musical “Fire On the Mountain” (2015) and the Kate Weare Dance Company production and recording of “Brightlands” (2011).  A natural livewire, she brings lots of spark and current to her teaching practice, and to Old~Time music at large!

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