I usually refer to myself as a “fiddlist”… not really a violinist anymore but not quite a fiddler either. I’ve only been seriously playing Irish tunes for about 3 years, though I have 22 years experience on the actual instrument. I mainly got into fiddle because I’ve always been “drawn” to Irish music, from a very young age but was more of a “closet fiddler” during those days without any kind of training or experience. I truly love the music and enjoy playing the tunes, whether I am deemed acceptable at it or not. To me it’s about enjoying the experience and the music. I am not a traditionalist, though, and often express views that cause the “so called banter”, though that isn’t really my intention. Asking questions and being rhetorical is how I learn… picking the minds of those more experienced, so to speak. I do use dots. This is how I was taught to play the instrument from a young age, and those hard wired pathways don’t just disappear. I don’t like being judged for taking my time with the switchover of dots to strictly ear. Some may take longer than others, and if they want to play both dots and by ear, so what? That’s a personal choice.