Starr McMullen – Corvallis, OR

Starr McMullen loves fiddling and is particularly fond of hornpipes, reels, and hoedowns played in the Texas tradition.  In addition to jamming and performing, Starr has won and judged numerous fiddle contests.  She has won Championships in seven different states (Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, California, Colorado, and Arizona), placed in the top five in the National Fiddle Contest 13 times, 7 times as the runner up (in Adult and Senior Divisions) and was the 2014 National Senior Fiddle Champion.

In addition to playing and judging, Starr is founder and chair of the Willamette Valley Fiddle Contest in Corvallis, Oregon —which will celebrate 22 years of operation in 2019 with the August 2, 2019 contest at the Benton County Fair in Corvallis, Oregon.


I love good fiddling!  My philosophy is that people play best when they are playing tunes they love and tunes that suit them personally (while many people can play Waggoner, not many play it really well).  There is nothing worse than hearing a fiddler play a tune that is “over their head” because they think it is the tune rather than the playing that makes a different to the listener. Similarly for speed — faster is not necessarily better!  Play at a tempo at which you can master the tune and be “in the groove” rather than at a speed where you sound like you are flirting with disaster.

As far as tunes are concerned, I want to hear the basic melody of the tune laid out clearly.  If you want to improvise, be sure it is tasteful and sticks to the basic tune.  If you play a waltz, be sure you state the melody clearly — and it doesn’t need to have complicated double stops — (I would rather hear a simple waltz played beautifully than a waltz with a lot of almost in tune double stops!)

I know it is cliché, but have fun playing—it makes a big difference in how it sounds!