tunebook 501 tunes.
Hi, my name is Len Zaikoski.
I’m a 49-year-old, happily-married, father-of-one who programs computers for a living and plays Irish fiddle and mandolin for fun. I live in Central Pennsylvania, in the USA.
I started out in Elementary school with some classical training, but gave up in Jr. High when playing violin wasn’t "cool." In 2000, after a long time of developing a love of "Celtic" music, I decided to pick up a violin again and this time try fiddling.
Since then I’ve learned the difference between "Celtic" and ITM, and like to think of myself as an "Irish" fiddler — even though I’m almost 100% Polish! :) Hmmm, maybe this explains why I enjoy playing polkas so much….
For Christmas 2003, my lovely wife bought me a nice Takamine acoustic-electric guitar and I’ve been trying to learn to play some backing; though, I doubt I’ll ever bring my guitar to a session.
I also have a nice Clarke "Sweetone" tinwhistle but I can only play a couple of tunes on it. I like having an instrument I can carry around anywhere and not have to worry about breaking it.
For Christmas 2006, my lovely wife bought me a mandolin (a not-too-pricey Fender). I love the sound of a mandolin, and I’ve been able to transfer most of my tunes over. Picking just doesn’t feel as natural as bowing, but I’ve been getting better. I also like being able to switch between melody and backing, if I want.
There’s actually quite a vibrant session scene here in Central PA (http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/centralpaceltic/), so I’ve got my pick of a few.
In addition to an ITM session, I also jam once a month with the Susquehanna Folk Music Society (http://www.sfmsfolk.org/info/home.html) ; playing folk, bluegrass, gospel, old time and ITM. Blending my fiddle and mando in with this diverse group of excellent musicians has actually helped a lot with my "ITM learning-by-ear goals." Considering that I know very few of the songs/tunes they play, *listening* has been critical! :)