Global Fiddle Retreat
with Darol Anger ​
plus special guest teachers Annie Staninec and Emy Phelps
October 5-7, 2018 - Benicia, California

Players of all levels and styles are welcome at the Global Fiddle Retreat in sunny California, USA. Whether you’ve been playing for years, or you just know a couple of tunes, you'll be able to immerse yourself in learning fiddle at this three day fiddle retreat with two of the world's leading fiddle players:
Darol Anger and Annie Staninec. 

From bluegrass to swing playing to Americana and old-time, Darol and Annie will give you insight into the techniques, styles, and tips to inspire and improve your playing. The retreat is designed to gather fiddlers of all levels from around the globe with a common goal - learning, playing, eating and sleeping music.

This is the first time a Global Fiddle Retreat has been held in California. Don’t miss this chance to spend a week-end in the Golden State of California, home of some of the world's best music. What could be better than a musical holiday where you really learn something and have a great time with like-minded people?

The Global Fiddle Retreat will take place in Benicia in Northern California, just outside San Francisco on October 5th, 6th, 7th, 2018. 

During the day you'll learn directly with Darol and Annie as well as from singer and guitarist Emy Phelps, and then every evening you can sit back with a Californian wine or local handcrafted beer and take part in intimate, once-in-a-lifetime jam sessions. Just bring your fiddle and get ready to learn, jam, make friends and have fun!

What Is The Global Fiddle Retreat About?
The Global Fiddle Retreats are all about hands-on playing.  This retreat is about helping you achieve REAL RESULTS and having fun in the process.
Improved Technique
Improve your technique and gain a new level of confidence as a fiddle player.
Multiple Styles
You'll be exposed to learning different styles and techniques to develop your fiddle playing.
Spend three days getting inspiration, meeting, and jamming with players from around the world. 
Learn New Tunes
You'll learn plenty of new tunes to continue to make progress in your playing.
Ideas for Improvisation
You'll discover cool ideas for improvising and backing up singers and soloists.
Live Performances
Opportunity to perform onstage with Darol, Annie, Emy and other retreat attendees.

All Workshops
Over 14 hours of guitar workshops with Darol Anger and his guest teachers.
Amazing Food
Join Darol, Annie, Emy and fiddle players from around the world for two lunches and two dinners.
Evening Jam Sessions
Pick up your bow and fiddle and take part in once in a lifetime jam sessions.
Faculty Performances
Sit back and enjoy intimate performances from Darol, his guest teachers and some surprise guests!
Welcome Goodie Bag
Receive a welcome goodie bag when you arrive at the retreat.
Sunday Night Concert
Join Darol, Annie and Emy onstage to play for a live audience (optional)

You will also receive 40+ HD Video Lessons from creativity coach James Taylor as he breaks down each of the five stages of the creative process to help you unlock your creative potential as a musician.
This online course will teach you how to improve the quality of your voice, warmup exercises and ways to look after your singing voice.
The Location
With a population of 28,000, Benicia is a small waterfront town in the Bay Area less than an hour from Oakland or San Francisco and twenty minutes from the Napa Valley. This charming hamlet gives visitors a chance to relax as they stroll the compact downtown's boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants. This one-time state capital (1853-54) and location of the first Army post on the West Coast is dotted with historic sites and is a haven for the creative set — about 500 artists make Benicia their home.

One of the most influential fiddlers alive, Darol Anger is an innovative and popular clinician who works with music teachers and students of all ages in universities, camps and festivals across the United States, helping grow interest in contemporary improvising and vernacular strings.

He helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as Mr Sun with fellow virtuosos Grant Gordy and Joe K. Walsh, his Republic Of Strings, The Turtle Island String Quartet, The David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, The Duo and other ensembles. Today Darol can be heard on the Sim City soundtracks and on NPR's "Car Talk" theme every week, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. In addition to performing all over the world since 1977, he has recorded and produced scores of important recordings, is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks.

As an Associate Professor at Berklee College Of Music, through his online Fiddle School at or his work with the American String Teachers Association, he brings over 30 years of experience to teaching and residencies in jazz, blues, fiddle, chamber and orchestra settings.

Darol Anger has a passion for intergenerational education and performance as a way to bridge imaginary borders of age and culture. His group The Republic of Strings: a floating intergenerational orchestra that plays music scooped from backyards, garages and kitchens in every continent, has ignited his vision to create a great nation of string players. Darol is committed to promoting an appreciation of musical diversity and helping others evolve their own personal musical styles that are based on strong cultural roots and influences from around the world.

Annie Staninec has been playing the violin since the age of four, began performing professionally at the age of 12, and now makes her living playing, recording, teaching and touring internationally with renowned groups spanning several genres. Annie’s fiery playing and unassuming charm have been captivating audiences around the world for years, whether she is on the festival stage with a bluegrass band, playing an intimate club with a gypsy jazz combo, or just playing for the local Cajun dance.
Annie toured with the 2006 Gypsy Caravan Tour, featuring such luminaries as David Grisman, Stephane Wrembel, and the Robin Nolan Trio, and has performed numerous times at Djangofest either leading her own group or with the Avatar Ensemble. She has just returned from an expansive European tour with the internationally acclaimed Kathy Kallick band, including headlining the annual European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, and will be performing on the main stage at the prestigious California Bluegrass Association annual festival in June.
Annie makes her home in San Francisco, CA and is currently performing with the Kathy Kallick Band, Andrew Carriere and the Cajun Allstars, Doug Martin’s Avatar Ensemble, the George Cole Quintet, and others. Her playing can be heard on albums from numerous artists including Kathy Kallick, Town Mountain, Avatar String Ensemble, and a soon to be released project by Jerry Vessel. Annie is proudly sponsored by Saga Cremona Violins, and the L.R.
Baggs company.
Emy Phelps is a remarkable vocalist, songwriter and a musician of note from the Oregon region. She has performed all around the Pacific Northwest since the late 80’s, and all over the world since 2011.

Trained in Ashland, Oregon's world-renowned theatre program, she worked for years in Shakespeare Festival events. She was a founding member of Brian Ransom's Ceramic Ensemble, touring internationally from 1980–1987. As a member of that ensemble she did research on indigenous music in Peru. She worked with Southern California artists Chris Darrow and others in the mid-80s. Her touring career was put on hold while obtaining a degree in education, teaching at elementary, high schools and middle schools and successfully raising four children, but now her public work continues as a recording artist, a member of the Furies, and as a duet with Darol Anger. 

In addition to her current releases, Treasures and Look Up, Look Down, she released a previous recording entitled As It Should Be on Sweet Mercy Records. 
"Nobody in the fiddle world has found himself on the front edge of progressive acoustic music as often as Darol Anger."
- Fiddler Magazine
“Darol Anger is the quintessential improvising violinist”.
- Dr Billy Taylor, CBS Sunday Morning
"He has been such a big part of many players' educations"
Sara Watkins / Nickel Creek
Brittany Haas

"Darol is a genius, both musically and in general. He's a great teacher because he can communicate things in such a way that they at first seem very specific and then turn out to apply to a great many things. And he's really fun and hilarious to boot! It's not often that you find a teacher who can make you laugh so much while not even straying from the course of study. He's endlessly creative, which makes learning from him feel like a joint exploration."

John Mailander

"Darol is one of my greatest mentors. His teaching over the years has not only been through our wonderful fiddle lessons, which have continuously opened up my mind to new musical territory, but also through living by example as an endlessly creative artist and compassionate friend. He is this person for countless young musicians."

Matt Glaser
"Darol Anger’s teaching is like Darol himself—patient, brilliant, generous, wacky, inspired, original, kind.  I often walk by a room where Darol is teaching and think, “I hope those kids know how lucky they are!” then I see their faces—they know."
Renata Bratt

"Darol Anger changed my life as a teacher and performer. As a VERY classically trained cellist, I was bowled over by his playing and teaching over twenty five years ago. He is a very kind but thorough teacher in a variety of musical forums - clinics, camps, workshops and on the stage. Because of Darol, my musical world has expanded to include all sorts of music. I have advocated for teaching all styles of music ever since I had the fortune to hear Darol Anger while I was a graduate student in music at UCSD."


How learning a few simple blues and scale ideas will help you be more comfortable in any style
How to be more free and grooving with your bowing
Some clear strategies for playing backup to a singer or other soloist
Cool ideas for getting us improvising, or improvising better
Using percussive techniques like the “Chop”
Organizing your left hand technique
Provisional Schedule

Friday 5th October 2018
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Students Arrive
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm Opening Session: Welcome & Introductions
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Workshop 1
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Workshop 2
7:15 pm - 9:00 pm Dinner
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Faculty Concert/Open Mic

Saturday 6th October 2018
9:30 am – 10:30 am Workshop 3
11:00 am - 12:30 pm Workshop 4
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Workshop 5
​3:45 pm - 4:30 pm Coffee Break
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm  Workshop 6
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Dinner
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Open Mic

Sunday 7th October 2018
9:30 am – 12:00 pm Workshop 7
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Workshop 8
3:30pm - 4:30 pm Workshop 9
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Wrap Up/Review/Q&A

Why Not Bring Your Partner
If you would like to have your loved one join you at the retreat but not participate in workshops, we recommend this package. You both dine together with the group for all meals, and attend all evening concerts/jams together. During the days, while one of you is participating in workshops, your partner can enjoy the fun things to do in the Benicia area.

So here's how to register your partner. Firstly register yourself. Then come back to this page and click on the non-participating partner package button and make this week-end a get-away both of you can enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does the retreat take place?

A. The retreat classes run from the Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

Q. Where does the retreat take place?

A. The retreat classes will take place at Upstairs at First Street Cafe in downtown Benicia or The Guard House, a nearby venue. Upon registration you will receive a Fact Sheet with location information. Six weeks before the retreat you will receive the final retreat schedule.

Q. What is the cost?

A. The cost per participant is $1399 and $199 for non-participating partners.

Q. Can my partner attend even though they won't participate in the classes.

Absolutely, non-participating partners are very welcome and the price per non-participating partner is $199. Partners may also sit in on a workshop session or two as long as there is adequate space in the room. You'll find the Partner registration button on this page.

Q. What is your cancellation policy?

A. You can receive a full refund minus any credit card fees within the first 30 days of booking. Please consider getting travel insurance to cover unexpected occurrences.

Q. What about accommodation?

A. Accommodations are not included in the price of your retreat ticket. Upon registration you will receive a Fact Sheet with links to nearby accommodation options. These include the Shorelight Inn Inn at Benicia BayUnion Hotel, Holiday Inn Express (all in the center of the small downtown area of Benicia and a five minute walk from each other) and the Heritage Inn which is about a mile away.  You can also consider using AirBnB. Call the hotels or make your reservations online for accommodations as soon as possible - there is limited availability at each location. It is your responsibility to make and attend to your lodging reservation.   

Q. Who can I contact if I have other questions related to the retreat?

A. Please email

Q. Can you accommodate those with dietary issues?

A. We are happy to cater for people with diet issues. Vegetarian, vegans and basic diet requirements are included in the price - just let us know at

Q. Are the retreat venues suitable for those with mobility issues?

A. We are not able to accommodate anyone with severe mobility problems. Please get in touch with to discuss your particular needs.

Q. How do I get there?

A. You can travel to Benicia either by air or road.

By air: Benicia is usually 45minutes from Oakland International Airport and an hour from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Public transportation to Benicia from the airports include: BART (to Pleasant Hill) - - and Evans Airporter to Vallejo - From BART taxi or Rideshare to Benicia.


The Premier Music Retreat Experiences
This will be our eleventh Music Retreat in beautiful Benicia. P3 Music also produces music  and creativity retreats for Martin Taylor, Mike Marshall, Sergio Assad, Adam Rafferty, David Wilcox & Peppino D'Agostino in the same location. Our Benicia team is focused on giving you the very best experience in which to learn fiddle.

Other P3 Music retreats take place in London, New York, Italy, Scotland, France and Asia. We are honored to work with Darol Anger for this retreat in California. We hope you decide to join us for three day days of eating, sleeping, learning and playing music.