Erik Hoffman     

Old Time Music and Dance



Musician

I have been playing recorder (at least a little) since 1967, guitar since 1971, and fiddle since 1986.

I started my music education as a child on piano, which didn't last very long. Went on to accordion for a month, then concertina, which also never took. Finally, me and three of my siblings were dropped off regularly at the home of Francis Dwight, for recorder lessons. I actually learned something there if only because it was so good for my mother to have a break from her children...

Then, at the age of twenty, my best friend taught me to play a little ditty on the guitar. It was a blues shuffle. I'd play it and he could practice lead solos. I had an epiphany: if that was all I ever learned, it was enough - I was then a musician! With this thought, learning more was like icing on the cake. So I took lessons from the fantastic, great, and sadly, late guitarist, Bill Thrasher.

Erik
I started teaching guitar in the mid 70s, and have taught on and off over the years. I also took up saxophone, which I practiced diligently for a couple years, only to have guitar become again my primary instrument until 1986.

In the early 1980 I fell in love with the Contra Dance. Live Music! Fun Interaction! Fiddles Playing! Guitars Chording! Pianos, flutes, and the rest! I started calling dances, then took up fiddle to learn more about the music. It worked. And I fell in love with fiddling!

And somewhere along the line I started doing various hand percussion things: Irish Bodhran (pronounced "bo-ran"), Arabic Dumbek, Egg Shakes, Bones, and even the body slapping Hambone.

I now find myself practicing both fiddle and guitar about equally. Hand percussion a little less. The saxophone comes out at certain jam session and performances where I find I can still play it.

I find my joy comes from people playing, dancing, and making music together. And it is this that drives me to teach. The joy of just sitting and playing tunes, with no one but we musicians to hear is, well, spiritual. Playing for dancers is great fun. Large orchestras of people joining together to play music joyous. I enjoy it when we all take part, thus love helping others to be part of the band by teaching.

Thus I have been on staff at many dance and music weekends including, BACDS': American Week, Sierra Swing, Fall and Spring weekends; at Lark in the Morning, at New Mexico's Boo Camp and Memorial Day Weekend, at Brasstown's Christmas Week, and more.


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