Rhiannon: General Info
Education & Playing Experience • Inspirational Teaching • Supporting Musicians • Awards • Music Shop & Other Involvement • Personal Life
Fiddleheads' Owner and instructor Rhiannon Schmitt (age 28) is a Selkirk Professional Music College (now the Selkirk College Contemporary Music & Technology Program) graduate with honours in Violin Performance (Nelson 1997).
Rhiannon has played many styles from classical violin to country fiddle, celtic to rock, world-beat to jazz and is a versatile and well-rounded performer. Her classical roots bring her back for frequent house and public concerts with Victoria pianist/composer Anna Höstman and Salmon Arm pianist Anita Liebich.
Rhiannon’s playing has earned her distinctions such as the 1995 Bank of America Achievement Award in the Field of Music and many "Superior" marks in the SCSBOA Festivals in California. She is featured on several albums, including harpist Caroline Mackay's "Tidings of Light," Bill Olsen's Take Me There and a forthcoming audio book of short stories by award-winning outdoor writer James Murray.
Rhiannon’s focus in business and teaching is “inspiration." She is known in the Shuswap and beyond to provide excellent guidance to her students in the traditional forms of theory, technique, reading and performance skills, the essentials in learning music. But what makes Rhiannon's lessons exceptional is her report with her students and the enthusiam and energy she puts into her teaching (see Student Testimonials).
Knowing everyone is a unique individual, Rhiannon personalizes each lesson to suit the player's learning style and personal interests in music. She connects to her students by focusing on their strengths and gently encourages changes in places which need improvement and keeps an open mind to all forms of music, working with the student as they learn the music they love.
Respecting the ever-changing and growing music community, Rhiannon strives to improve the way she teaches and shares ideas, which results in much personal research and study of varying teaching methods and techniques. What has resulted is a method she hopes to publish when she feels satisfied it is complete.
Rhiannon's approach to inspire works. All of her students who entered the Shuswap Music Festival in 2002 and 2003 won first place in their respective categories. The Fiddleheads Ensemble won the Gold distinction at festival the two years in a row. Several of her students have won fiddle and talent contests as well. Most importantly, they are inspired to make music and share their love of it with others.
Motivation is the key to a student's success in practice, hence Rhiannon created a program in lessons where younger students are awarded with "Fiddlebucks" for their home practicing during the week to be used to purchase toys, treats and ultimately, dinner with the teacher! Older students are motivated by the promise of paying performances, which Rhiannon arranges with hopes they will pursue music careers.
Rhiannon directs the Fiddleheads Violin Ensemble so her students and other players can have the wonderful experience of playing with a group in practice and concert. Fiddleheads has played in over 40 performances in only 5 years, which is impressive for an amateur student group.
Rhiannon has created a tight-knit violin community where area players and their families are involved in numerous music opportunities, educational events, concerts and other activities that inspire. Her Strings Alive festivals from 2001 to 2003 attracted violinists and fiddlers from around BC and have initiated increasing public interest in local violin music. Under the artistic direction of Rhiannon and the Shuswap Violin Society, Strings Alive 2004 expanded to a two-day event.
As Founding President of the Violin Society, among who’s members are Canada’s two finest women fiddlers, April Verch and Natalie MacMaster, the group has also established an instrument bank, granted scholarships, hosted workshops and organized several fundraiser coffeehouses to support local players.
Rhiannon won BC’s 2003 EDDY (Enterprising Dedicated Dynamic Youth) Service Excellence Award for her outstanding customer service in her business. This was her second EDDY; she won the 2002 EDDY for Creativity in Business and was a finalist for Community Involvement in 2004. In October 2004 she was given the distinction of Best Young Entrepreneur at the Shuswap Business Excellence Awards. See other Awards
In her seventh year this fall, Fiddleheads Violin School has been full-booked with a large waiting list for three years and is a household name in the Shuswap. She has expanded her business to include student to collector's instruments, accessories and music book sales with the opening of Fiddleheads Violins.
Rhiannon married her music college sweetheart, Mason, who is a sys-admin/computer guru. They have a five-year-old dinosaur-loving son, Ryan.
Rhiannon is a huge fan of Beethoven, all things orchestral, classic rock groups from the '70s and Alanis Morissette. She enjoys home decorating and painting, gardening, promotion and publication, road trips and all things unique and creative.
Her father, Fred Nachbaur, was a musical inspiration for Rhiannon. He passed away September 27, 2004 and will not be forgotten. Her mother, Vickie, is a nanny-extraordinaire. Her brother, Mike, is a programmer and writer.