The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


Hi guys, greetings from the UK. I found you guys whilst looking for inspiration for my boys, aged 14, 12 and 9. Between them they play fiddle (x2) keyboard, clarinet and guitar. I found you and those cheeky chaps from NJ ( you now who)

and now have a bit of an Old Time and Bluegrass interest. My boys are good but, sadly, read music. I really, really need a score for Roscoe so that they can get the basics of the tune, then they can improvise. They are getting the idea of mashing things up - Pachabels Canon as an Irish reel and so on, but really need a score as a starting point.

Oh, the youtube clip with Roscoe is simply fantastic - and my guys will be able to do it eventually.

Cheers, Clive.


Cheeky chaps from New Jersey? I'm afraid I don't follow…

We're all about playing by ear here, so I'm afraid this probably isn't a very good place to go looking for sheet music. Roscoe's a somewhat tricky tune, in some ways. I don't think Annie and I are playing it quite right in that YouTube video I think you're referencing.

If your boys want to learn to fiddle old-time tunes by ear, I suggest they start with some easier tunes and learn them by ear. Angeline the Baker, Spotted Pony, Liza Jane, those are some good ones to start with. They happen to all be in the key of D, which tells you which notes you're likely to play. It will feel like a struggle, and I'm sure they'll want to just find the sheet music (which is readily available online). However, that short-circuits the learning process… it's in the “struggling through it” that discoveries are made. That's the “Stumble as a Child” thing that we highlight in our Five Commandments.

Of course, our ToneWay Music Method is based around starting with singing songs, since it's easier to “hold onto” a melody that you can sing, and the tunes tend to be simpler…


Hi Luke, many thanks for the reply. Part of the problem is American Old Time and Bluegrass tunes are not well known here. Oh Suzanna is as far as it goes! They are doing OK with Bile em cabbage down though. Even traditional English songs are rarely sung in school.

The search for tunes is to ensure they can play a variety of styles, from sea shanties and reels to Greek folk tunes and Bluegrass. With violin and clarinet we could be in danger of Klezmer too, Oy!

Our local pub has an Old Time group meet there each month, last night in fact, so I'll try and get the boys down there, school schedule permitting.

The boys from New Jersey are the Sleepyman Banjo Band.

Thanks again for the music and blogs.



Hi Clive & Luke,

See if this website will help. It is quite extensive.

Let me know your thoughts.



Many thanks Danny - that should keep us going for the next 250 years!

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