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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Questions, Comments, Requests:

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!
Kwaku on October 9, 2013 @4:51 am PST
I love to play the violin, so how do i get it start as a new beginner on the instrument
Lora - host, on October 10, 2013 @3:21 pm PST
Hi Kwaku
I hope you get this message! Here is what I recommend to you: Try to find a private teacher, if you can afford one. A great place to start, in my opinion is to check the "International Suzuki Association" teacher listing to find a teacher close to you. Ask any teachers if they are good teaching adults, because not all Suzuki teachers are good with adults.

If you cannot find a good private teacher, or you can't afford one, then I would recommend my own online lessons, which are as close to a private teacher as you can get, and my students have had GREAT success with these lessons. You can find info at www.RedDesertViolin.com/onlinelessons

Good luck to you! --Lora
Paul Janzen * VSM MEMBER * on July 31, 2013 @7:51 am PST
Hi, my name is Paul, and I'm a violin teacher. I live in Paraguay, and I really liked your brief lesson about the vibrato. Even I learned something for myself. But this is an excellent way to teach my students. Now, I'm interested in the whole course "Mastering the Violin Vibrato" offered for VSM users. My only problem is the payment. Paraguay does not have Paypal (And it is really annoying, but there is nothing I can do). I have credit card, And frequently buy things on the Internet. Is there a way I could buy it without Paypal? Thank you.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on July 31, 2013 @10:36 am PST
Hi Paul. Actually, if you have a credit card, you can pay via PayPal anyway, you don't need a PayPal account. Just click on the link that says "Don't have a PayPal account?" on the PayPal first transaction page, then proceed from there... please, let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!
Paul Janzen * VSM MEMBER * on July 31, 2013 @7:33 pm PST
Too bad, but I don't have that option. I just see 2 options: "Pay with my PayPal account" and "Create a PayPal account". I do have an account, from Brazil, but my credit card is from Paraguay, so it does not work, because they can't verify the Credit Card. Option 2 forces me to create an account, so I don't know how that is going to help me. I didn't find any link/option to pay without an account. I can post a screenshot if it helps.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on August 1, 2013 @8:04 am PST
I am sorry about that, you should really see that option somewhere. Please, contact me from here below:


to sort this out. Just put in the subject or at the top of the message: "To the attention of Fabrizio Ferrari", so I will get it right away. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
Edmund on July 9, 2013 @1:31 pm PST
Lora, Just purchased the vibrato sessions and don't know how to access it. How do I do it.
Lora - host, on July 10, 2013 @11:42 am PST
Hi Edmund. I trust someone contacted you and helped you resolve your problem. Enjoy!
Auriel * VSM MEMBER * on July 3, 2013 @3:47 pm PST
I ordered the video on vibrato through pay pal and then I had no sound on my computer so I tried to cancel the order temporarily but couldn't do it. Can you cancel it until I get my computer working properly?
Lora - host, on July 4, 2013 @8:53 pm PST
Hi Ariel,
Sorry for the delay on this issue. Someone will contact you asap. The holiday slowed us down a bit!
Quent * VSM MEMBER * on June 12, 2013 @6:22 am PST
Any tips about rolls & turns? In the first phrase of the Kesh Jig, should I practice doing it with fourth finger or slide the second up to the G4?
Lora - host, on June 22, 2013 @8:20 am PST
Hi Quentin
sorry for the delayed response! I had to review the Kesh Jig to answer!
Personally, I would use a 4th finger. It is very easy for me, because I've developed it to perform just like my other fingers.
2nd position is not a bad alternative, though, and if that is easier, then do it! (listeners will not hear the difference)
But instead of a turn/roll, I am hearing more of a double grace note slurred FROM the G4 into the open D.
So if the beginning goes: D G-- D GAB A--
Then the added grace notes would make it:
D G (ag)D GAB A--

But maybe I should go back and try fitting a roll at that spot?! It would be challenging, but it might sound very cool!
Richard Owen * VSM MEMBER * on May 23, 2013 @10:24 am PST
My Question is when do you ship that Song book that I ordered last week ? I am waiting for it for my next lesson, unit 2 from my music teacher.

Thank You,

Richard Owen
Lora - host, on May 24, 2013 @11:51 am PST
Hi Richard
I checked and you did buy the fiddle book, so a representative from Virtual Sheet Music will be contacting you shortly to help you download the fiddle book. You'll love it!
andrew seamans on May 2, 2013 @7:22 am PST
Can I take one month at a time, or does signing up commit me to the entire course with monthly payments( 12 in a row)?
Lora - host, on May 2, 2013 @11:13 am PST
Hi Andrew! I assume you are talking about my online violin and fiddle lessons. I hope I am correct.

When you sign up, you can cancel any time, no strings attached. It takes 7 months to complete Suzuki Book 1, and 6 months to complete the fiddle course.

You really need Suzuki Book 1 proficiency to be able to handle the fiddle course.

Hope that helps. If you have more questions, you could email me at "Lora@virtualsheetmusic.com"

Thanks for watching!
Richard Owen * VSM MEMBER * on April 30, 2013 @10:09 pm PST
When do I get my 24 Songs to learn
Lora - host, on May 2, 2013 @11:11 am PST
Hi Richard!
I sent you an email to help you! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Richard * VSM MEMBER * on June 7, 2013 @7:19 am PST
I am picking up tidbits here and there. my cross overs are going
fairly well. Except I am being a little lazy.
Jay * VSM MEMBER * on April 12, 2013 @12:08 pm PST
Can you post a video on proper vibrato techniques. I have been playing for years, and managed to attain my Gr 6 RCM but hey always nail me on my vibrato
Lora - host, on April 15, 2013 @9:29 am PST
Hi Jay
Wow, Grade 6 is a huge accomplishment!
Yes, vibrato is a whole different universe. I am working on getting something up to help people with this tricky little technique! Thanks for the request!
Liz on April 10, 2013 @10:44 pm PST
I am having trouble with the D crossing to the G string my arm and elbow feel awkward any practice songs that include the D and G would be great. There seems to a lot of beginner pieces on the A and E but I can't find any for D and G. I like the energy in the videos keep up the good work.!
Lora - host, on April 11, 2013 @1:17 pm PST
Hi Liz
That is an excellent suggestion. I will make that my next video, should be about a week. I'll do a little video explaining the "special treatment" each string needs, and then focus on the D and G. Thanks for the idea!
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