Roger Netherton plays the fiddle on his off days as a student at the University of Missouri. He is a professional fiddler, as well as an 18 year old sophomore working towards his double degree in Math and Physics. His mother, Robin, a former journalism student from the same university, helps him manage his time by making him a calendar with all the gigs near school. However, the fiddler claims it does not take that much time out of his schedule, and that he fiddles because it is his passion.
Roger does not want to make fiddling his career as it will turn it into an obligation instead of a a fun escape. He says he is sure he will be a fiddler for a very long time. Roger loves the creation involved in music and what it does to a group of people when they listen to it and participate in the action. "I rarely play when there is no one around," he says. The energy that is created when he fiddles is something Roger loves. It is not just the learned music, it is the creation and reaction from his craft that makes fiddling his passion.
As a young boy he started playing the piano, an instrument he picked up in efforts to be like his older brother, Graham. He then switched to the violin and quickly changed again to fiddling when he first came in contact with it in a music festival in Kansas when he was only 12 years old. After the festival, the young musician was astonished at the different sounds that could come from the same instrument he had been playing for years: the violin. Fiddling calls for playing the violin in a different way. As opposed to classical music, fiddling is improvised and learned by ear. There is a tradition involved with fiddling in that, just as old folk stories, the pieces of music are passed on orally. Roger explains there is creation involved in his craft that takes cooperation and improvisation. "I don't like classical music," Roger confesses. "It is too rigid and there is no creation involved." Fiddling is improvised, generally on the streets, and needs a crowd for the genre's own survival.
The young musician often plays with his friends either at gigs or in the streets of Columbia, Mo. while he goes through his studies at Mizzou. Although Roger is a professional fiddler, he does not take his musical craft as a job; instead, he looks at it as a friend he will have for the rest of his life.