Lora Staples - beginning violin and fiddle expert
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Beginning Violin And Fiddle Expert
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Lora Staples' latest beginning violin and fiddle videos
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willene botha * VSM MEMBER * on July 13, 2015 @5:14 am PST
Hi Miss Lora
could you please advise me on how to teach myself the Vivaldi concerto in a minor . I would love to know what do you recommend .
Kind regards
Diana Jarnutowski * VSM MEMBER * on February 24, 2015 @6:14 pm PST
Hi Miss Lora,
I have signed up and was setting up the log in name/password and was having trouble viewing everything on my iphone when everything did one of those disappearing acts on me. Do you suppose the powers that be could resend that information? I have to use a different email from the previous one because of payment issues. Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.
Diana Jarnutowski on February 21, 2015 @1:41 pm PST
Hi Ms, Lora
Yesterday I was watching your video "Memorization part 3" I was trying to mark the Gavotte into sections for easy memorization and I was not fast enough to get all the two pages market is sections and now I just cannot find it anywhere. Was it taken down?
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on February 21, 2015 @7:50 pm PST
Dear Diana, Lora has released just two videos on memorization:

Memorization part 1:

Memorization part 2:

Maybe you are referring to the 3-part videos on "Playing by Ear"? Just wondering...
Linda * VSM MEMBER * on July 11, 2014 @4:44 pm PST
Thanks Lora. All good information as usual.
Linda * VSM MEMBER * on July 2, 2014 @7:56 am PST
Question 2: What are your thoughts on 5 string violas? I admit missing the E string from the Violin, while loving the C of the Viola. I would not give up my Viola but would like the flexibility of playing violin parts as well. Thanks again.
Lora - host, on July 10, 2014 @9:52 am PST
Interesting....so it has the body size of a viola? I have never seen a 5 string viola. I would imagine that the E string on a longer body size would sound way worse than a C string on a shorter body size. I do not think the E string would sound normal....but I could be wrong. Anyway, I love 5 string VIOLINS.....and if that's what you are referring to, I say GO FOR IT! They do have all the versatility you could want!
Linda * VSM MEMBER * on July 2, 2014 @7:53 am PST
Dear Lora,
I have a question about left hand thumb placement. When I changed from violin to viola my thumb changed as well and frankly I don't know where I want to place it, to the side, in the notch of my thumb and first finger or under the neck. Will one way give more freedom of movement? Is it a choice. I know if I have to change it will be an adjustment but I don't want to get to accustomed to a wrong placement. Thanks
Lora - host, on July 10, 2014 @9:56 am PST
Hi Linda
That is a very hard question to answer, because the thumb placement varies widely from player to player. Also, to be perfectly honest, I'm not SURE what the gold standard is....I have small hands, and the best place for my thumb is to rotate quite far back toward the scroll, and at times, my thumb is practically under the neck. The important "rule of thumb" (get it....rule of thumb) is to NOT SQUEEZE. The most "normal" position I see is for the pad of the thumb to contact the neck, with a portion of the thumb sticking up past the G string.

Here's an idea: figure out a professional (or famous) violinist who has a body type similar to yours.....then watch what they do with their thumb. I would use that as a guideline. And with YOuTube, it's never been easier to consult the experts!

Good luck!
Ula on May 9, 2014 @1:48 am PST
Hello Lora!
I had broken both of my hands almost 4 years ago. I had Kirschner's wire. I haven't any rehabilitation on them. I am trying doing vibrato but my hand is terrible inflexible... I am not too young for start playing on violin but I have hope that I will do something with my hand. What do you think about it?
Lora - host, on May 15, 2014 @11:54 am PST
I think you should do well with an arm vibrato, where less flexibility is needed. There are videos on youtube about that, but in general, an arm vibrato is generated in the bicep/tricep, but the hand must remain very relaxed.
Tim Hutzel * VSM MEMBER * on February 5, 2014 @5:29 am PST
Hi, Lora!

My name is Tim and I have been playing via Suzuki & traditional instructions since my son was about 10 & me 40. That was 28 years ago! Now I play strictly for my own amusement.

I find your instructions welcomed, timely, and very useful.

I find I do need more instruction here in the Oxford, Ohio area. Any ideas or better yet instructors you might know here.

All the best,

Tim Hutzel
Lora - host, on February 6, 2014 @8:26 pm PST
Hi Tim
Glad to know you have found my instruction helpful. You will find lots more on my YouTube channel, "Red Desert Violin" and "Red Desert Fiddle".

As far as finding a teacher in your area, you can find TONS of good Suzuki teachers on the Suzuki Association of the Americas website. They have a "Find a Teacher" feature. Then, INTERVIEW the teacher! Try to see if they will be a good fit for an adult learner.

Also, keep in mind that if you can't find a good live teacher, my online lessons are extremely effective...they have helped hundreds of adults to gain great proficiency on violin.

good luck to you!
Benoit Cronier * VSM MEMBER * on January 1, 2014 @2:21 pm PST
nothing about cello... :(
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on January 1, 2014 @5:41 pm PST
Thank you for your comment Benoit. We are working with an excellent cellist who will become our Cello Expert soon... stay tuned!
Lora - host, on January 1, 2014 @5:50 pm PST
LOL....so sorry! I am no expert on cello....you must believe me!
Jacomijn * VSM MEMBER * on November 6, 2013 @7:13 am PST
hello Lora,

after having a classical eduction on my violin, I recently started playing folk music with some other musicians. One of the pieces really makes me feel 'a beginner at the violin/fiddle'. It's music from Serbia, but I think that that has not really anything to do with it. It is named Setnja and I can send the sheet music to you if you need it.

What happens is that I have to change from the D string to the E string and I keep on touching the A-string. I really feel foolish. I though about starting in the first position on the D string and then continue in the fourth position on the A-string, but that's not an easy 'jump' either. Can you give me some advise how to tackle this problem?

BTW, we really loved the Open string 'drones'. I applied them in two of the pieces in our repertoire and everybody loved them (even the dancers noticed something new they liked).

kind regards and thanks,
Lora - host, on November 6, 2013 @4:06 pm PST
Hi Jacomijn
I know what you mean that some pieces can make us feel like a beginner! It's like a slap in the face! The music of John Williams does that to me.....sheesh....if you ever have to play "Star Wars" be prepared to practice!!!

Anyway, for the problem you are describing, you have 3 choices:
1) "Hop" over the A string with your bow, but be sneaky about it. With practice, you can get so good at it that it's BARELY noticeable.
2) Change your bowing so that you can hop over the A string on a BOW change...that will make it virtually UNDETECTABLE.
3) Change your fingering, as you suggested, but not if it takes you to a ridiculous position.

If you want to send me the music, I"d take a look at it and give my opinion but I'm not sure how quickly I can get back to you with feedback.
Good luck to you!
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