Cathy Clasper-Torch

Fiddle/Violin/Erhu Classes

Cathy has been the fiddle/violin instructor at the Blackstone River Theatre (BRT)  since 2006. She teaches adult group classes to beginner, intermediate and advanced level players, ages 16 and up.

Cathy's 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 encourages "ear-playing", but also uses notation (written music), finger numbers and note-names when teaching new material. The spirit of group classes is that of engagement, fun, support, and community.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays starting April 2nd
with instructor Cathy Clasper-Torch
549 Broad Street
Cumberland, RI
Note: All fiddle classes will now be held on the 2nd level
of Blackstone River Theatre.
Please enter building through front doors and walk upstairs to classroom on the right.

  • 7-Week Total Beginner (Adult) Fiddle - Tuesdays at 5:30 PM
  • 7-Week Continuing Beginner Fiddle - Tuesdays at 6:30 PM
  • 7-Week Advanced Intermediate Fiddle - Tuesdays at 7:45 PM
  • 7-Week Advanced Fiddle - Wednesdays at 6:30 PM
  • 7-Week Advanced Fiddle - Wednesdays at 7:45 PM
  • 7-Week Intermediate Beginner Fiddle - Thursdays at 6:30 PM

Minimum needed to hold each class is six. Students must bring: own fiddle and bow, a music stand, and a recording device. Both playing by ear and some sight reading will be included. Players will be placed in all classes by the instructor's evaluation of skill level. Prepayment necessary!


  • Tuesday Fiddle Class dates (7 week session):
    April 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th; and May 21st, 28th
  • Wednesday Fiddle Class dates (7 week session):
    April 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th; and May 1st, 22nd; June 5th
  • Thursday Fiddle Class dates (7 week session):
    April 4th, 11th, 18th; May 2nd, 16th, 23rd, 30th


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Intermediate Beginner 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).

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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© Copyright 2012-2019 Cathy Clasper-Torch. All rights reserved.
Providence, RI 401-272-3942