I’m a Tulsa Kid: Regina Scott – Fiddler
Twelve-year-old Regina Scott can play a concerto on the classical violin but, she admits with a grin, she prefers playing a hoedown on a fiddle. Last summer the Holland Hall seventh grader fiddled her way past 49 other contestants to take first place in the National Oldtime Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. When Regina is not practicing the violin or the fiddle, she enjoys science, playing basketball at school and reading science fiction or fantasy books.
TK: When did you start taking music/fiddle lessons and how much time do you spend each day practicing?
Regina: I started playing classical violin when I was 5 1/2 and my first fiddle contest was shortly after that. I have always been an early riser, so I get up at 5:30 before school, eat breakfast, then practice my fiddle from 6 to 7:20.
TK: What is the difference between the violin and the fiddle? Is it the style of music?
Regina: A lot of people have asked me the difference between a violin and a fiddle and I always say that a violin has strings and a fiddle has “strangs,” but on a more serious note, it is really just the style of music. When I learn to play songs for classical music, I read notes, but when I learn a fiddle tune, I listen to a recording or watch a video and figure out the notes by ear.
TK: You won first place at the National Oldtime Fiddle Contest held in Weiser, Idaho over the summer. What was that experience like?
Regina: It was a lot of practice! I went three years in a row and got third, second and finally first. You practice a lot harder when you want to win a contest that big. When you enter [Weiser] it is really cool because there are painted fiddles on the light posts. It’s a tiny town so the contest is in the high school gymnasium. Weiser is all decorated and the whole town is involved. When I got to the contest, I had a lot of fun seeing people from the year before and talking to friends from all over the country. There are three rounds in the contest. The first round is with everyone (in your age division), then it gets narrowed down to just 15, then the top five. In each round, you play a hoedown, waltz and tune of choice. It is also smart to practice another round in case there is a play-off. That’s 12 songs!
Also, at the national fiddle contest so many people come that they have a time limit on each round, so you have to figure out a way to cut all of your songs down so they are under four minutes. The rounds were really spread out over one week, so it was easy to get stressed about what was next.
On the night they were announcing the winners, everyone was nervous, but it all turned out great. I got an awesome glass trophy and a national title, so I was really excited! It was a great experience. All of my friends were really happy for me and congratulated me when I got off stage.
TK: Do you have a mentor or teacher who has inspired you to work hard at the fiddle?
Regina: I have many different inspirations to help me to work hard, but my fiddle and violin teachers have been a big part of my success. My contest fiddle teacher is Mr. Joey McKenzie. He taught me the songs I played in Weiser this last time. He has taught me to make every minute count in practice. My show tune fiddle teacher is Mr. Rick Morton. He teaches me Western Swing and bluegrass tunes. I have learned countless songs from him along with a little mandolin. My classical violin teacher is Mrs. Jody Naifeh. She taught me all of the Suzuki songs and is now teaching me very difficult solos and concertos. Mrs. Jana Jae inspired me to go to Weiser my first time when I was 7. I have gone to her fiddle contest, The Grand Lake Fiddle Contest every year since I was 6.
TK: What are your music plans in the future?
Regina: In the future I hope to win every division in Weiser, start a band with people my age, and keep entering contests and playing with different bands around town.