About Your Guide

About Your Guide

Hi! I’m Lora, your guide at RedDesertViolin.com. Here I am with two students. (They’re related to each other. Can you tell??)
I started learning violin in the 5th grade through the public school system. I learned through the “traditional” system, which combines note-reading with beginning violin technique. I started becoming aware of the Suzuki method four years later, when I met Evan, a hot shot violinist from Sunset Junior High School. I had heard of him before, and I knew that he had learned Suzuki style.

I was so jealous and regretful that I had not been given the opportunity to learn by that method. From that day on, I always had an inferiority complex for not having learned via the Suzuki method—you could say I was fixated on it—but it made me practice harder because I felt I had to compensate in order to compete with all these Suzuki miracle kids.

Music did not come easily to me, but my dad had always told me (and I believed everything he said!) that I could do anything I wanted to if I wanted it badly enough, and was willing to work for it.

Well, I definitely wanted it badly enough, and I certainly knew how to work hard. I worked my tail off! I didn’t watch TV, didn’t go out with friends, I practiced on camping trips, on family vacations to Half Moon Bay. I never went anywhere without my violin.

I kept this up from 5th grade through a Master’s Degree in violin performance. I buried my head in music and solitary practice. The best illustration of how single-minded I was, is that while living within 50 miles of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1998, I had not heard about it until Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING!!!!

Why did I work so hard?

It was a combination of BAD teaching, an inferiority complex, and a highly competitive personality.

Why do I say bad teaching? Because my teachers should have realized that I was over-practicing—banging my head against the proverbial wall and accomplishing nothing—or at least not getting the results I should have for the effort I was putting in. (No one taught me HOW to practice for results, with focus, and to have fun!) I just believed what my dad told me, thinking if I practiced 6 hours per day, I would achieve my dreams!

Well, I did finally achieve my dreams—full ride scholarships, professional orchestra membership (as principal second violin), solos with several orchestras…I made my living making music—but the price was so high!

When I slammed my finger in a car door, I was in San Francisco collaborating with a composer on a film score. My life flashed before my eyes—all the missed opportunities to go roller blading, or play basketball, for fear of injuring my hands. I saw 15 years of my life devoted to my instrument, and the possibility that it was gone.

Fate gets you either way.

The moral of the story? Have Fun! Don’t be afraid! Think more, work less. There is no harm in a shortcut, and you don’t have to suffer for success!

My finger did not heal 100%, even with surgery. I now have a slight “hammer finger” where the end portion of my middle finger on my left hand droops, making vibrato on that finger and certain passages a little compromised. Oh, I can absolutely still play, but it caused me to struggle more than ever, and my confidence was shot.

How I Started Teaching

Out of the blue, I was given the opportunity to take over another violinist’s entire studio of students. I had never ever taught before! I had never really wanted to teach. But suddenly it made sense as a financial security blanket while I figured things out with my finger.

To make matters even more freaky for me, this teacher used the SUZUKI approach! I was so worried, but she assured me I already knew how to play very well—if I just attended a week-long Suzuki Teachers Institute, I would learn the basics on starting beginning students.

I lucked out and got the BEST Suzuki instructor in the world, Ed Kreitman, and indeed, at the end of a week, I had faced all my Suzuki demons and was convinced that there is NO BETTER WAY for any beginner to learn.

For adults, it can be a little childish, but it can be adapted easily for more mature players. And for kids—it just appeals to them.

If you want to know more about the Suzuki Philosophy and method, click here.

Three points of the Suzuki approach are my favorites.

  1. Delayed note-reading allows complete focus on technique
  2. The mother-tongue concept of learning music like your native language
  3. The belief that Every child can learn.

Shinichi Suzuki was not out to create little kid-geniuses. He was out to help develop better human beings. He didn’t “audition” kids and pick out the best ones as his students. He took even the difficult ones.

This concept is near and dear to my heart, as I believe there is no such thing as a hopeless case. If a student is willing to put in the work necessary, then the right teacher can help them to achieve their goals.

In my studio, I prided myself on accepting the difficult kids who no one else wanted to teach. It challenged me as a teacher, it was extremely rewarding, and it helped me to heal some of my own wounds as a child who was basically left to my own devices—who practiced like crazy and got results slowly and painfully, and never really had a teacher who recognized my passion and efforts!

While at that Suzuki Institute, I learned some basic concepts that should have been taught to me in grade school, and others that I should have picked up somewhere between a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Violin Performance! I was suddenly painfully aware of the deficiencies in my own violinistic education. I found myself as an accomplished violinist, with a Masters Degree in Violin Performance learning things that I would be teaching to children—things I NEVER KNEW—things I should have been taught by my “teachers.”

At that point, I realized that my teachers had failed me, and that I owed my success to two things: my Dad telling me I could be anything I worked for, and my Mom’s enthusiasm for classical music—attending EVERY concert, making me play in church as often as they would allow, and pretending to swoon anytime I played Meditation from Thais.

I hope this site can give you some pointers, either as a teacher needing pointers for your students, as a parent helping your child, or as a self-instructed student.

Remember—Nothing is as important as your OWN BELIEF that you can do it….but it’s awfully nice when someone hands you a key which opens the hidden door in that brick wall! DON’T BANG YOUR HEAD!

I highly recommend that you find someone to check your progress once in awhile, either with a web-cam lesson with me, or a teacher in your area. Please see my article on “Choosing a Good Teacher”.

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  1. Amorita

    Hello Lora, I’m an intermediate player trying to give free lessons to a 9 year old. I’ve given her 6 lessons and feel that her position, from all I know about violin positioning, is moderate to OK. However, I want it to be BETTER. I know you offer lessons for $47.00 per 6 months. What do you offer for people like me? My student would not take your lessons (wonderful as they surely are) because her parents want her lessons to be in-person.

    • Lora

      Hi Amorita,
      Good for you, guiding a young student! You’ll find that you will learn as much from teaching as your students learn from being taught!
      My lessons are $47 per month for 7 months. (Suzuki Book 1)
      Some teachers have signed up for my lessons in order to improve their teaching. You could do that, and by signing up, you would be entitled to ask me as many questions as you like.
      Another alternative is to schedule a single consultation with me. ($50 per hour, and you can schedule as needed, not limited to only 1) We could discuss any teaching questions you have.
      Finally, there is another site where you can collaborate, ask quesitons, and learn from a GREAT community. It’s owned by my colleague, Beth Blackerby. Her site is “violinlab.com”. I highly recommend her, and it’s super affordable.
      I hope these ideas give you something to help your progress with the little student!

  2. Gabriele Schmitz

    Hi Lora,

    I have been watching your videos since the beginning of 2019, and I really think now it is the time to write you.

    First, let me tell you something about me:
    I am german, 55 years old, and I started studying the violin a year ago. The idea came to me because I saw my goddaughter (which is now 13) learning the violin in music school. At Christmas she played some carols for us. I asked her to let me try it, and it didn`t work that bad! So I hung around for some months watching countless YouTube violin videos, and then decided that I wanted to learn it. I borrowed a student violin from a nearby luthier and started on my own, with some video lessons of different teachers, including yours.
    It worked quite well, but anyway I had the feeling that I needed some advice to not making mistakes that I couldn´t correct later. I found a profesional violinist to take a lesson every now and then (funnily she is native American!), and she can give me really good tips that help me to make progress.

    But I must say that I love your videos very much! They helped me so much till now, and I think this will continue.
    You´re such an authentic, structured, focused, inspiring person and a wonderful teacher!

    I just finished Suzuki book 1and the booklet “Fast Forward” of Katherine and Hugh Collegde on my own, and I am just practicing the “Ukiah Ranch Waltz” together with my goddaughter. In addition I am practicing scale studies (of Bruno Döring) and want to start the Wohlfahrt etudes.

    Now I was thinking about doing one of your courses. I would like to do “Learn to read music” (I can read a little bit because I have been singing in choirs for a long time) and/or “Learn vibrato”, but I don´t know if it might be too early after only one year of practicing.

    So, for now I think I bored you enough; thank you for your wonderful and very helpful videos, ans stay healthy during this challenging Corona-time!

    Best wishes from far, far away

    • Lora

      I wrote you privately, but wanted to reply to this lovely comment.
      I like to hold off teaching vibrato to my students until: they are TOTALLY solid in their intonation in 1st position, and their left hand is all settled with excellent form and relaxed. Once those benchmarks are reached, vibrato can begin.
      Learn to Read Music is wonderful for violinists, because it teaches note reading SPECIFICALLY from the perspective of violin.
      I am thrilled to know you are learning the Ukiah Ranch Waltz with your goddaughter! Someone to twin-fiddle with!

      Let me know how I can help you further in your decision for further study.

  3. Emily Pole

    Hi Lora! Well, I’m that same two-year-old violin player that commented several months ago in your article that targeted double jointedness. Throughout these two years I had been a student of Dr. and Mrs. Alberto Jaffé’s Jaffé Strings Program by way of DVDs. That particular program, sadly, only lasted two years. Now that I’m finished with it, I am considering to join one of your courses. (I sent you an e-mail before stating all of that, but I don’t think you got it. Maybe the spam filter filtered me out.) Some of my skills I acquired during these two years are vibrato, ending a phrase, fortes and pianos, and shifting up to the fourth position. Some of my deficiencies include double stops (did not learn enough of it), bad tone quality, touching more than one string when not supposed to, tense hands, and bad tempo (a habit already formed during my ten years of piano experience). What course of yours do you recommend to me, please? Thanks, and God bless! (P.S.: I already signed up for your e-mail practice tips, if you did not notice it.)

  4. Stewart Henderson Holder

    Hello Lora,

    Some time ago you recommended Sevcik Op 1 Part 1 for fingering exercises. That has been an excellent suggestion since it has enabled me to aim and hit 4th finger and ringing adjacent string. What a wonderful experience along with the 3rd finger ringing.
    Sevcik Op2 for bowing is also good for many bowing variations just for a pleasant diversion.
    Your Tone Colour articles are worthy of investigation and not at all dry; well done.
    Ahhhh the ‘clothes peg’ article for strengthening the left hand pinky does indeed work; just one more item to put into the fiddle case (may need a separate case soon for the ‘extras !).

    • Lora

      Stewart, I am SO GLAD to hear your feedback about the Sevcik Op. 1! Bravo you!
      I love your idea about Sevcik Op. 2. I need to take a closer look at it. I use Sevcik Op. 3 for bowing etudes….but I am less familiar with Opus 2.
      Thanks for the idea.
      Keep up your great work!!!

  5. Grant Milburn

    Hi Lora,

    Wow! Playing the violin is so addictive. I see that commented on this website six years ago in a blog post on adult beginners. Having little spare money back then, and not knowing very much about buying violins, I had cheerfully walked into a book/sports/music store and bought their second-cheapest violin. Of course I was struggling to make it sound good. The first violin I ever played, at the age of 55, was a “Stradivarius” borrowed from my brother, and strung with new Dominant strings. I sounded wonderful on that. Now I was frustrated because I couldn’t get the same result on my cheap purchase.

    Eventually I could no longer bear to listen to myself. I knew that it would make a big difference if I were to replace the cheap strings with something decent,and maybe visit a luthier, but in the event I purchased a good digital piano and returned to my first love. If truth be told, I was getting a bit bored with the simple folk tunes, hymns and carols that were my violin repertoire. On the piano, I was tackling Beethoven sonatas, Bach preludes, Choplin nocturnes and the like. There didn’t seem to be anything equivalent for the solo violin that I was ready to tackle (yet).

    A friend visited me, and I told him that I was thinking of buying a better violin and selling my old one. I told him that I would probably offer it for sale at a certain (low) price: to my surprise, he opened his wallet, took out the sum, and offered to buy the violin from me there and then. He’s not a violinist (yet) and I made no bones about the violin’s quality, but there’s something about a violin. Afterwards, the house felt a bit empty with no violin in it at all. A home needs a violin! So this time, I did my homework: I looked for unbiased reviews of student violins on the internet and compared those with what was available in the local shops. I finally bought a violin that had good reviews, about five times the cost of my first purchase, but still affordable. Now I sound pretty tolerable, but somewhat out of practice. When its present strings start to wear out, I might treat myself to a string upgrade, maybe have the violin checked out by a good luthier (I have located some now).

    I registered here, cos I still feel a bit isolated as a violinist, and I really appreciate the practical and moral support I get from this site. Thanks so much for your guidance.

    • Lora

      Hi Grant!
      Gosh, it was a joy to read your comment! There is something about a violin, indeed. I believe they are alive.
      Anyway, to help combat your feeling of isolation, you need a more interactive forum, so let me share some ideas with you:

      If you are on Facebook, you can come join the Red Desert Violin Practice Club. https://www.facebook.com/groups/795544577465724/
      You can also “like” my Red Desert Violin facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/RedDesertViolin/
      You an also sign up for my practice tips newsletter (www.reddesertviolin.com) and click “email goodies”
      You can also sign up for my free membership. (LOTS of well-organized freebies)
      Facebook has groups that are exclusively for adult violin students. You might check those out.

      Now, here’s something super exciting: TODAY I am working on a Red Desert Violin social forum, where members of the public can interact, share info, commiserate, and even ask questions of me. (I will answer as time allows)

      So make sure you stay in touch so that you get that announcement when it’s ready to unveil. (I would guess in about 2-3 weeks tops)

      I am also working on some repertoire collections that will help people like you find BELOVED tunes that are appropriate for your playing level…..but that will take LOTS more time. That will be a bigger project.

      And finally, a friend of mine, Beth Blackerby runs the website “Violin Lab”, and it is a very nice, interactive community of violin students. It’s not free, but it’s affordable.
      And lastly, of course, you are aware of my online violin lessons, so if you get to the point where you want to tackle the basics once and for all, to unlock the skills you need to play a beautiful tune like you can on piano, my online Suzuki lessons are the best there are.
      Keep in touch!

  6. elham

    Hi Lora

    I’m glad to find you! May, I ask you to send me your Resume? I want to use your video about the problems in violin shoulder rests and I have to give a reference. I want to say Your name in my master thesis. so it will b so great if you tell me your name and teaching resume. thanks a lot.

    • Lora

      Hi Elham,
      I replied to you via my ticket system.
      I hope you got my reply.

      • James Kelley

        Dear Lora…I’m having difficulty keeping the bottom foot of my Kun staying in place. It keeps sliding off. Sometimes it just plum falls off mt fiddle. Any suggestions? Should I use some kind of stickum?
        Thank you for all your kind help.
        Jim Kelley

        • Lora

          Hi James
          Definitely do not apply anything to the feet of your Kun.
          Some Kuns have slippery rubber…..almost “oily”. They look the same as the feet on my Kun…but it seems oily. SOme of my students bring theirs in, and I see exactly what you are talking about.
          Try wiping the feet down….try to rough it up a little bit. (without destroying the rubber).
          I have 2 suggestions for you, besides wiping the feet:
          1) Make sure the kun is set WIDE enough so that it is able to grab the violin on the FAT part of the bouts. Some students adjust their shoulder rest too small, and then the feet are set more for like a 3/4 violin, and the shoulder rest doesn’t stand a chance of staying put, because it’s only contacting the oblique edges of the violin. You need at least ONE foot on the widest part of the bout.

          2) Get some thin-walled surgical tube. (not the super thick walled stuff). Put that on the feet, and it will cling very nicely. If you live in a dry climate, you will want to replace the tubing every 2 years.

          Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

          • James Kelley

            Hi Lora…
            Thank you for replying. I did adjust the Kun a little and used an emory board on the feet to make the grip part a little rougher. It worked.
            Thank you again for all the help you have given me and others!
            Jim Kelley

          • Lora

            Thanks for getting back to me on this. Emory board to scuff the feet…..that’ is a new idea! Thanks for that!

  7. James Kelley

    A 90 year old man in a nursing home was practicing his fiddle scales; he had the door open. A resident walked by and stopped to listen. After a few minutes the resident asked: ” I just have to ask; you’re 90 years old and you’re still practicing your scales every night! Why????”

    The old man said, “because I think I’m finally starting to make some progress. “

    • Lora

      HAHAHA….this is SO TRUE….they started to appreciate them e in my 40’s….now I’m starting to get better at them in my 50’s…..gosh…what will the 60’s bring?!

  8. Francisco Cóbar

    Hello Lora, thank you so much for your lessons. I’m learning the Suzuki method 1 and the true is: you are awesome. I practice almost 1 hour per day. I am 35 years old, i also play the piano…but violin is an amazing instrument. Thank you again for your teachings, mi goal is to complete Suzuki 4

    • Lora

      Hi Francisco!
      Wow, 35 years old….you are just a baby! You will have many years to fulfill your goal and then to ENJOY the skill you develop! One hour per day is about right for Suzuki Book 4. I require 1 hour per day with my private students, and that’s the bare minimum.

      Talk to you later. Keep me posted on your progress!

      • Juan Franciscl

        thank you Lora right now i’m studiyng suzuki 1, and my progress is faster than i thought thanks to you

        • Lora

          I am SO HAPPY to hear that you are finding success with your violin playing!
          Be sure to let me know if you have questions or need any help!

  9. Heather

    Hi Lora,
    It was inspiring to read your story. I just started violin about 5 months ago. I too am guilty of practicing too much; my teacher has told me more than once to ease up. I even sprained my left hand and got blisters on my fingers! I didn’t know it might be a sign that I’m doing something wrong until I read your story. I thought more practice must be better than less practice. It didn’t occur to me that I might be banging my head on a wall, as you said. I have made tons of progress and I enjoy practicing, as long as it doesn’t hurt. I look forward to exploring your website further and to learning how to practice smarter.

  10. Keishla

    Hi Lora

    My name is Keishla i am a puerto rican student currently doing my Master’s Degree in Violin Performance in California. I am a petite 4′ 9″ violinist and for has long i can remember I have always had technical problems growing up because of my size and short hands, and I have never had a good teacher to help me since they always teach me like I’m 6 feet tall. Not all teachers usually know how to understand and compensate the struggles that we student with small proportion have to deal everyday as a violinist. I have classmates and students with similar problems and I don’t want them to struggle and keep up with problems in the future. In my research work I am gathering information, practice tips, pros and cons regarding violin technique and specific advice for petite people or short hands. I would like to have a part of you in my final project. If you have time, please write me by email or a video. You are a gifted and passionate teacher and will be very honor and thankful for any information you can give me.

    Thank you,

    • Lora

      Hi Keishla!
      It is very nice to hear from you!
      I am honored that you would include me in your project. I think it’s a VERY important topic.
      Why don’t you email me, and we can make arrangements? (lora@reddesertviolin.com)

  11. Dina

    I enjoyed reading your bio as I also learned through the public school system. Do you have any Suzuki violin teacher you can recommend in NYC?

    • Lora

      Dina, the Suzuki Association of the Americas has a great teacher-finder. You just enter your zip code, and you’ll get a whole list of certified Suzuki Teachers!

      Here’s the link: https://suzukiassociation.org/find-a-suzuki-teacher/

      Best of luck to you! Don’t be afraid to shop around, and pay teachers for a “consultation”……but you will really be checking them out to see if you want to study with them. It’s better to pay for a few consulations than to get stuck with a teacher you don’t really click with.

      Good luck!

    • Lora

      Dina, did I already reply to you?
      Several people have asked about lessons in NY this week!
      Here is an excellent “Teacher Finder” tool from the Suzuki Association. You search by zip code!
      Good luck!

  12. Katharina Uhde

    Lora is definitely an exceptional violin teacher — better than many teachers at “big schools” with “big names.” Lora is phenomenal. I have never met anyone who could explain concepts like vibrato, spiccato, bow hold, right-hand finger motion (bow changes) and colle this well! Amazing. Lora, you have a big following because you deserve it. You are a huge blessing to the violin world! I am so grateful to you.

    • Lora

      Thank you sincerely for your very generous comment! Keep up the great work….YOU are a WONDERFUL player! (I have heard you!)

  13. Desiree Singleton

    Hi Lora,
    What an amazing testimonial about your musical background. When I was a child, I wanted to really learn how to play the violin. I did get a small chance for a very short period of time. However, it was taken away from me. I had to transfer to a nearby public school that did not have music study programs. At a small private music school where I was the executive administrator, I enrolled in the adult violin music program. However, my wonderful teacher got injured and we lost contact. Now, it is 10 years later, and I have put forth the effort to begin again. I love your online violin course. It is so detailed and design for someone like “me”. I am enjoying this journey so far. One day I hope to play a tune that at least my family will be able to enjoy. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

    • Lora

      Hi Desiree,
      Your story breaks my heart, but a happy ending! I’m so happy you are making time and space for yourself to finally learn this instrument. It’s your turn!
      MANY of my students have similar stories. It makes me want to walk to Capital Hill and yell at everyone to start making music a priority.
      Make a commitment to yourself, Desiree, (I know you already have), but if you ever feel like giving up or giving in, let us know…..we will stage an intervention for you!!!!!!! Stay passionate!

    • James

      Hello Lora,

      I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate what you do. I was about 8 years old when I fell in love with the violin, so my parents paid for lessons. I showed real talent, but, much like your story, nobody capitalized on my strengths, and my weaknesses (like sight-reading, since I unintentionally play by ear) got the better of me and slowly sapped my enthusiasm. I went from loving, to hating my violin, and dreading practicing and my lessons. I eventually quit as a teenager. I tried other instruments (because musicians never really stop being musicians) and taught myself the guitar. Now, as an adult, I realized how much I missed classical music, so I decided to pick up the violin again. I’m having to relearn a lot of things I learned wrong. My technique is atrocious (something my last teacher failed to properly address since pending concerts were more important), but your in depth, detailed, highly visual and descriptive videos have helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Relearning an improper bow-hold and bowing technique is like learning to write all over again with your non-dominant hand. I wish I had had a teacher like you when I was a kid. But it’s 15 years later and thanks to your videos (and my current teacher who keeps trying to pull me away from Bach to learn more fun pieces lol) I’m seeing real progress, and for the first time as a violinist, I actually look forward to and enjoy playing my instrument. Your videos bring out my inner “eager young student”, if that makes any sense.

      • Lora

        Hi James
        This comment means alot. I love learning people’s stories…especially stories filled with hope and joy, and restoration of dreams!
        You are on a good track now….keep it up!

  14. Mary

    Hi Lora,

    I just came across your Youtube videos which led me here to your site. I saw that you had referred to Tucson, AZ in a previous post and wonder if you are local to that area and if so, if you offer in person lessons in Tucson. I’ve found your videos extremely helpful!

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Lora

      Hi Mary!
      I am about 5 hours north of you! I appreciate your positive comment. Glad you like the youtube videos!
      I encourage you to check out my online lessons…..they are extremely good, I don’t mind saying, and the proof is in my students who are learning to play VERY well in 37 countries!
      Find those lesson offerings on the home page of http://www.RedDesertViolin.com
      Not to get too salesy, but the lessons are more organized and planned out than my private lessons. (I teach private lessons on Skype)
      The main advantage to private lessons is you get instant correction and personalized feed-back.
      I currently have a waiting list for SKype lessons, but I can always make room for a one-time consultation lesson.
      My online students occasionally set up a private lesson with me on Skype to check them, so that’s like having your cake and eating it too.
      Anyway, nice to meet you! -L

  15. Kathy Taylor

    Hello Lora. I just found your website and I am interested in taking online lessons. I have taken beginner lessons in the past at NKU with the String Project for a few months, but I had to stop to take care of my mother-in-law who has dementia. I am ready and excited to begin again and I think I would like to try online, since NKU is 30 minutes away. We were using Essential Elements for Strings. I haven’t located the cost of your lessons for the Suzuki, book one, lessons yet on your website, so please let me know what it would be. Also, I am renting a violin from Antonio Violins in Cincinnati, OH. and I wonder if you are familiar with their violins? I am renting to purchase, but the beginner violin I am renting is about $900.00 to purchase. Thank you for any information you can give me. Kathy

    • Lora

      Hi Kathy
      You caught me while I was out of town and out of signal! But I’m back now.
      It’s nice to hear from you.
      The lessons are still $47 per month.

      I am unfamiliar with the violin shop you are referring to, Antonio Violins. There are so many it’s hard to know them all.
      But it’s an advantage taht it is a brick and mortar store. That means you have in person service, and assistance as needed.
      $900 is high for a student violin, unless it is a very good student model. (and it could be, I just don’t know)
      ONLINE prices are around $600 for a very good student package….that’s from Southwest STrings in Tucson, Arizona. (THe Yuan Qin package I LOVE, and have played on many samples)
      But, there is something to be said for buying local, being able to rent to buy, so that you can trade it in and get something else if you choose to….more flexibility….so that’s where the other $300 goes…..flexibility and convenience, and non-committal.

      It depends on what those things are worth to you. It is probably a decent violin, but you are paying for the flexibility. So, unless you can ask someone there who knows what they are talking about for a second opinion, it just comes down to a leap of faith on your part. Either put your faith in this local dealer, or roll the dice on something from the internet. (at least I can vouch for Southwest STrings and their Yuan Qin package. Some people purchase violins knowing NOTHING about the dealer, and that is really really risky)

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Essential Elements is an excellent book, by the way!

  16. Annie Shaw

    Lora, We had the same parents! I’m starting now at 61 ,and channeling my dad’s words. At 97, my mother will see me play in my first recital soon. I do believe it, and I bring quite a bit of other musical background; piano, guitar, choir singing, and a strong foundation in theory. It’s great to be able to come to a new instrument with a large toolbox at my disposal. I’m in my second month, and soon recognized that I need to develop the ability to recognize if/when a piece is within my ability to learn now or if it goes on the list to come back to. I hope to be able to refine this so I’m not missing out on playing something I can do or attempting something out of range and not progressing with it properly. It’s so great to be able to augment and expand upon my private lessons and all that you make available to us and vice-versa. In addition, the FB group Adult Starters-Violin is a wonderful place to meet & share with other adult learners. Thank you for sharing your journey, and so much more!

    • Lora

      Hi Annie
      Thanks for this comment. I feel very fortunate to have the parents I do.
      It’s fantastic that your mother will see your first violin recital! She will be thrilled, I’m sure!
      Knowing when you are ready for a piece does take experience and wisdom….until then, you will know if it is out of reach after you work on it for a week or two of trying to play it. When that happens, do your best to make a list of things that are keeping it out of your reach. Shifting, 3rd position, 2nd position, difficult keys, long slurs, spiccato, double stops, etc. Then you can seek out etudes or lessons that will help you to acquire those skills.

      Keep up the great work! I wish I could join the facebook group, but they don’t allow teachers, and I actually think that is a GOOD thing. Glad you found them!
      Keep up the great work!

  17. Beth Carr

    Hi Lora – Your videos are great! I want to begin using the “Building left hand speed and dexterity and Building right left/right hand coordination. I don’t know what “Low 2 finger pattern, half step between 1-2” and “High 2 Finger Pattern”, etc are. Do you have a video describing how this works to get the different keys?

  18. Don Rhudy

    Well, here I go again. Near the OKC bombing? When Boise City was bombed by the US Army Air Force in 1943 I was six years old, watching my dad watch a bomb fall behind our cow shed. That bomb and the others made a heck of a sound and great craters for a first-grader to play in afterwards! I began self-teaching fiddle about two years ago with a Cecilio CVN 400 which others tell me produces good sound. I think it does, too. I’ve been using Essential Elements for Strings (Hal Leonard) and am about to move to Book Two. I can’t seem to get connected to your site. Must I adopt a different name and email address? It says I am connected but I am not.

    I sure miss Oklahoma and Texas and I am envious of you for continuing to live there. Should I outlive my dear wife, which I hope does not happen, I will become an Okie again down near Battiest, near Broken Bow. Thank you for the You Tube productions I have been able to play and re-play.

    • Lora

      Hi Don
      What a life you have led! You seem to be in the heart of the action!
      May your fiddle find more peaceful places to play!
      I will have technical support contact you about getting connected to the site, and helping you sign up for Book 2.
      Sounds like that book will be perfect for you!
      Talk to you soon!

  19. alex

    how can I see my grades

    • Lora

      Hi Alex
      There are no grades for this class. It is self-paced and self-assessed. You can ask questions any time and I will answer them, and you can also send photos or videos if you need me to check your progress.

  20. Lynn

    Dear Lora,
    You are a gifted and passionate teacher. It was a privilage to be a student at your recent San Diego area fiddle workshop. Thank you for a wonderful learning experience and grand day. Sincerely, Lynn

    • Lora

      Hi Lynn!
      It is great to see you online! And even more great to meet you at the workshop and do some face to face learning!
      I see you have signed up for the fiddle class. Keep me posted on how that is going! Golden Slippers is the first song….but it is not easy! Let me know if you get hung up! Talk to you soon!

  21. David

    Hi Lora, I was just Curious, Are you planning on doing lessons from Suzuki Book 4 in the near future? I just started Suzuki book 2 and plan on going into book #3 with you when I graduate from book 2 I was just wondering what’s in store for life after Suzuki book 3? Also, Your fiddle lessons are interesting to me! but, after I finish Suzuki book 2, 3, and maybe 4, your fiddle lessons may be to easy for us Suzuki book 3 graduates. ???? Are there any plans to have more advanced fiddle lessons in the future for your advanced students? Love your teaching style!!

  22. Cheryl

    Lora, I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful teach and talented fiddler you are. I loved my class at Wallowa Fiddle a Camp and had a wonderful time. You gave us so much information and it was fun. I wish you lived in Portland. I got hot and tired, but it was a great experience. You ignited my passion for the fiddle. (Gee, maybe I’ll even practice more) I hope you realize what a gift you are. thank you

    • Lora

      Hi Cheryl!
      It’s really good to hear from you here!
      Wallowa was a wonderful camp! The people there are all so nice and just good people.
      I enjoyed having you in my class….I enjoyed your wry humor! You had to be a good sport in there, with kids and all….but I think everyone walked away with something to chew on for the year.
      Hope to see you next year!

  23. adele

    Hi Lora,
    Love watching the passion and love you show when playing the violin. I have learned in a methodical manner following your lessons day in and day out.
    Your teaching accommodates young and old. In spite of my age, learning as a child has been great for me. It is wonderful that your past experiences have yielded such a product!!! You have been graced with this gift! Thank you for sharing it.

    • Lora

      I am saving your email forever! Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to write!
      This is what keeps me going…..knowing that I am helping others to learn this precious instrument who might have otherwise been impeded by location, finances, age, or physical limitations.
      I have MANY MANY octogenarians, Adele! And I am inspired daily by you! I think music keeps us young, keeps us reaching and hungry, and yet, every day we learn something new which satisfies us.

      Keep up your great work! Stay hungry!

  24. Gayle Dancer-Wysocki

    Thank you for your video on shifting. You simplified the concept for me. I played…years ago, and have only started playing seriously again, in the past year!I stopped before I could learn to shift. Teacher problems, not the one for me! I stopped, my husband encouraged me to play again. I am even teaching 3 students. Thank you!

    • Lora

      Fantastic, Gayle! (thank your husband for his sweet support….that is really truly wonderful)
      The key to shifting is RELAX!
      Keep up the great work!


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