Kimberley Fraser, originally from Sydney Mines, has used her small-town roots as inspiration for becoming a world-class fiddle player and a highly-celebrated and sought-after music teacher. Motivated to play at the level of some of the Maritimes’ greatest musicians, Fraser found muses in a host of popular Cape Breton musicians such as Buddy and Natalie MacMaster, the Rankin Family and the Barra MacNeils. Surrounding herself with local talent from an early age encouraged Fraser to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician, “as a teenager I had many opportunities to get out there and play. During the summer months you could find me playing at the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal in North Sydney, as well as local festivals and concerts around Cape Breton,” reflects Fraser.
After graduating high school, Fraser enrolled at Cape Breton University with the original intent of pursuing the safer route of becoming a teacher rather than following her dreams of becoming a professional musician. Once her post-secodary studies commenced, Fraser missed playing too much to make the full-time commitment to an education degree. Instead, she transferred her credits to St. Francis Xavier University, where she graduated from the music program and in 2007, continued her studies at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Fraser has been exposed to new and extraordinary opportunities that she never imagined were possible. Some of these experiences include playing with some of the world's finest string players, and traveling to unique locations to share Celtic music with people and cultures all over the world. Fraser has had the opportunity to play major Celtic festivals such as the TØnder Festival in Denmark and the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow Scotland, both of which she considers a highlights of her career, but there is one trip in particular that stands out above the rest: “getting the opportunity to go to Afghanistan and play for the troops was simply amazing. I was so honoured to be there and it was definitely something to remember,” recalls Fraser.
Like any other job, being a full-time musician has its challenges. Sometimes securing enough work to achieve stability within the profession can be difficult. The inconsistency in performances is what led to Fraser’s newest venture, which ties in with her original plans of becoming a teacher. Through her website, KimberleyFraser.com, Fraser started an online teaching forum where both fiddle and piano players, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, could subscribe to her prerecorded video lessons. Launched only a year and a half ago, Fraser’s online tutorials have already taken off. “The online aspect of my business has provided a more reliable income and has allowed me to find that balance between performing and teaching,” says Fraser. “I always knew I wanted to be a musician and being able to use my knowledge and skills to teach others is something that I really enjoy and I am glad I have the opportunity to share Cape Breton fiddle music with people all over the world.”
Fans of Fraser’s music can expect a new album within the next few years. New additions to her teaching website will be made regularly, with continued updates to tutorials and new material for students to learn from and enjoy.
For more information about Kimberley Fraser and details of her upcoming events, please visit her website.
To register for Kimberley’s online teaching sessions, please visit her online teaching website.
Kimberley Fraser’s two albums are:
2000 - Heart behind the Bow
2006 - Falling on New Ground
Both albums are available on iTunes and wherever Celtic music is sold.