Red Desert Fiddle (intermediate)

We believe that anyone can learn to play the fiddle, regardless of where they live, even in rural areas or when good teachers are hard to find. Music is for EVERYONE, regardless of family background or social status, and that’s why I created my online lessons to make music ATTAINABLE for every person, including you! If you have achieved basic proficiency on violin, you are ready for this Red Desert Fiddle Intermediate course! (Beginner Fiddle coming soon!)

Buy Now: Only $47 per month for 8 months


Don't just play, play well!


A good teacher is made even better when they have a system to guide them. It provides structure and a map that helps guide students progressively from the most basic violin skills to the most advanced. Read more below about my 8 faceted approach to every tune.

Quality Instruction

It is indisputable that learning to play fiddle requires reliable, organized, thoughtful instruction. This course was painstakingly planned out and organized, and it draws from years of experience and training to give you the best lessons available.

Quality Practice

The best teaching will do no good without proper, diligent practice. This course takes extra time to teach you how to practice so you get the best results from your time and effort. Pay special attention to the “Practice Coach” videos, as these will teach you how to make the most of your time in the practice room.

Play these 24 tunes at jam sessions with friends!

Cooley’s Reel is one of the tunes you will learn in this course. I played it at a fiddle contest a few years back. Fun times!

  • Golden Slippers
  • Cripple Creek
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • Star of the County Down (reel)
  • Star of the County Down (waltz)
  • Swallowtail Jig
  • Old Joe Clark
  • Scollay’s Reel
  • Road to Lisdoonvarna
  • Southwind waltz
  • Angeline the Baker
  • Red Haired Boy
  • Money in Both Pockets
  • Madeline (by Larry Unger)
  • Devil’s Dream
  • Sheebeg and Sheemore
  • All the Rage (by Larry Unger)
  • Cooley’s Reel
  • Ducks on the Pond
  • Baker’s Favorite (by Larry Unger)
  • Leona Tuttle (by Larry Unger)
  • Big Liza Jane
  • Foxhunters Jig
  • Curvy Road to Corinth (by Larry Unger

Red Desert Fiddle (intermediate) will teach you the following skills:

  • Learn how to play 24 American and Irish fiddle tunes (7 hoe-downs, 7 Irish reels, 5 jigs, 5 waltzes)
  • Learn the skills you need to turn any fiddle tune into a competition-ready performance
  • Learn how to take a bare-bones melody (like the thousands you can download for free online) and turn it into an exciting and beautiful audience pleaser!
  • Get a virtual toolbox FULL of “formulas” and “patterns”, ideas, tools, and techniques which you can use and re-use for any fiddle tune to dress it up.
  • How to start and end any tune with flair
  • How to read a chord chart and play back-up
  • How to use scales to improve your fiddling

At the end of this course, you will have 24 songs in your fiddle repertoire and the skills you need to play with a band, wow your family and friends, compete in fiddle contests, and most importantly, to enjoy making music for the rest of your life!

Students love my eight-step approach

I don’t just give you the tune and teach you the notes and then say, “good luck!” Students learn with me because I break songs down into a system that walks you through each step. With every song, you will have my special formula of eight lesson topics. Each lesson focuses on a specific aspect of the song.


By the time you have practiced the eight videos and understand the concepts, you will not simply play the song. You will understand it and be ready to interpret it and make it your own! That’s what mastery is all about! If you want to bake a cake you see in a magazine, imagine how helpful it would be to have the list of ingredients! Imagine how much MORE helpful it would be to have the instructions AND the ingredients!


My 8-step formula is exactly like having the recipe for each tune. By the time you complete all 24 tunes, you will be able to duplicate these steps on ANY tune you want to learn! Here are the eight videos in my formula for each tune that give you the “ingredients and instructions” you need:

Learn the Tune

Start by learning the tune. I will teach you note by note in the “woodshedding” lesson. If you read music, you may use the Red Desert Fiddle collection. (sold separately)

Bow Patterns

Learn the best fiddle bowings to apply to each tune. By the time you finish this course, you will know the Nashville Shuffle, Georgia Shuffle, Hokum Bowing, and much more.


Left Hand Ornaments

The other half of fiddle magic comes from left hand ornaments. You will learn neat ornaments to add to every tune, including slides, long rolls, short rolls, grace notes, and my own coined term, “Upper Neighbor Triplets”.

Scales and Arpeggios

I will teach you scales and arpeggios in the key of each tune. We will use these scales and arpeggios to drill bow patterns, left hand ornaments, and to master our fingerboard.


Learn the chords for each tune. I will teach you how to read a chord chart, and we will drill this skill ad nauseam! (until you learn to love it!) yell Once you realize that YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT, it is a hoot.

Playing Backup

This is the payout for your pain and suffering learning the chords. NOW you can apply cool rhythms to those chords and be a supporting back-up player in a band. One of my FAVORITE things to do!

Beginning and Ending

Often a tune falls flat when it is not concluded with a flourish or punctuation. Similarly, how the heck should we start a tune? You will get ideas for beginning and ending every tune we learn.


I am careful not to call this section “improv”, because that is another whole discipline. However, there are simple ways to change up a melody, and I will give you dozens of ideas to keep your melody fresh, even if you want to play it 10 times in a row!

Get the lowdown on the hoedown and make it your own!

My name is Lora Staples, and I will be your teacher and guide in the Red Desert Fiddle Intermediate course.

I have 30 years of teaching experience, a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Violin Performance, and numerous trainings and certifications in violin pedagogy.

Between my education, training, and performing career, I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. I’ve been right where you are, I’ve faced adversity, frustration, and challenges, and I can help you overcome yours.

My Story


Extreme Value

  • Red Desert Violin (and fiddle) is more affordable than private lessons
  • Students save precious time AND money; if you factor in the time and gas it takes to drive to and from a private lesson, the value of RDV online lessons is emphasized even more.
  • Students have access to the teacher for unlimited questions and support.
  • We have Beth, a dedicated tech person, for all tech issues.
  • Students retain access to their lessons for TWO YEARS after their last payment. After that they can renew access for a nominal fee. Most membership sites require continual monthly payments to retain access.


  • Location is a non-issue.
  • Lessons are self-paced.
  • Rural locations are no longer a barrier to learning music.
  • Busy lifestyles are accommodated.


  • Self-paced: Slower learners AND fast learners are both served; many students need a teacher to repeat the same thing over and over, but they are afraid to ask. Online lessons allows students to repeat as much as needed. Contrarily, some students wish a teacher would move faster. RDV allows students to accelerate their progress (to a degree).
  • Modern life is hectic. People need flexibility, not rigidity. Its very difficult to maintain a regular weekly appointment. RDV online lessons provides the added flexibility for even the busiest of lifestyles.


  • Unique delivery model allows Loralyn to teach in great detail, depth, and breadth, unconcerned by the time limit of a private lesson or the size of a video file.
  • Students get better organization, and much more teacher time using RDV.
  • Lora has 2 degrees in music and numerous certifications in pedagogy; she also has a successful career as a performer, walking the walk, so to speak.

Repertoire Builder: By the time you finish this course, you will have 24 tunes mastered. That alone is a huge victory!

Lesson Videos: Each unit in this course is comprised of about 10-20 videos. They all adhere to the fabulous structure of 8 topics on each song. This gives structure to the lessons and helps you to focus on the topic you want to master. Watch whenever and as often as you like.

Over 100 Hours of Instruction: There are 24 units, each containing at least 12 videos, but usually even more.

Practice Coach Videos: A unique feature of Red Desert lessons, and the thing that I think sets us apart from others is the Practice Coach feature. The Practice Coach is a video of me going through an intense, focused practice session to practice skills for each unit. You can follow along, doing what I do, and you will learn to practice smart, not just hard. And once you fall into one of my traps, you will never forget that technique again!  This is a feature you can’t  get from in-person lessons.

Play-along videos: You will have access to videos of Lora playing every song at a slow, medium, and fast speed, with a close-up of my hands. Use these after learning a song to add consistency to your playing.

Play-along audio: Download audio of Loralyn playing the entire book with a professional guitarist and composer, Larry Unger. Also download audio of the guitar only, to use when you are ready to fly solo with Larry.

Support: Ask Lora as many questions as you like. Ask Beth for technical help any time.

Download: Printed materials, supplements, audio tracks, and visual aids.

60 Day Money Back Guarantee!

Red Desert Violin’s DELIVERY MODE is what sets us apart. We are a “membership site” which allows us to provide ongoing support and encouragement to students throughout each class. This membership model also allows Loralyn to go into great detail with no concern for the time limits of a private lesson or how large the video file might be.

Sign-up and Register: Immediately after purchase, you will go to a registration page where you can create a username and password.

Log in: You’ll log into your student portal at  and view your lessons by streaming them, like Netflix. (but WAY better!) kiss

Payment and Lesson Release: With each monthly payment, you will be given access to three new units, which is about 30 videos. Every 30 days the system automatically opens up the next series of videos to you. The units don’t close, so even if you’re not ready for the next batch of lessons, you can still move at your own pace.

Access your lessons any time you want from your own Red Desert Violin member portal.

Enjoy personal access to my help and technical support for the duration of your membership.

Watch the videos as often as you like, on any device with a fast internet connection.

Download the audio files to play on the device of your choice.

Two Year Access: You will have continued access to your lessons for two full years after your last payment. (that is almost 3 years!) After that, you may purchase annual renewals for $30.

60 Day Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee: You are entitled to a refund within 60 days of purchase. You are also free to cancel anytime.

  • Any questions not answered here can be asked by emailing
  • Is there a prerequisite? Yes. This course starts at an intermediate level.  Red Desert Fiddle for Beginners is coming soon.  Until then, I recommend completion of a minimum of Suzuki Violin Book 1 or the equivalent.  You need to have acquired basic violin technique in order to succeed in this class, including basic ear training, ability to hold the bow, an understanding of basic bow technique, and left hand form.
  • What if I take longer than 8 months? That is FINE. (I hope you do!) You have up to two years after your final payment to complete this course. I want to PUSH you to avoid “stalling out” or getting stuck. So I want you to push yourself, but also take the time that you need to absorb these important skills.
  • What if my private teacher disagrees with what you teach me? Any good teacher recognizes multiple approaches to common topics. Most teachers will applaud your resourcefulness, because private lessons time is limited, and if you are able to address issues outside lesson time, it leaves more time for your teacher to work with you.
  • Can I go faster than the pace you recommend? Absolutely. My course is structured on the average private student I have witnessed. You may need to go slower or faster for your own needs. Contact me for special handling of an accelerated pace.
  • I am a teacher, and I have a student who needs this course. How should I proceed? I would suggest that both you and your student purchase the course. You will want to have access to the same lessons your student is watching so you can help them. After you go through the course once, you will know exactly how to help future students.
  • What if I don’t have a private teacher? If you need help finding a GOOD private teacher, I can help you. But I have tried extremely hard to make these lessons as good as in person lessons. Stay in close contact with me, and let’s make sure you stay on track!
  • Do I have to buy the book? No, I will teach you every tune in the course note by note.  The Red Desert Fiddle Collection is sold separately on Virtual Sheet Music is a wonderful resource to print as many copies as you like for friends and band mates.
  • How long will I have access to my lessons? You will have access to all of the lessons for two full years after your final payment. After that, you may purchase extended access annually for as long as you want. ($30/year)
  • Am I too old to learn to play fiddle? That is a misconception.  As we learn more and more about brain plasticity, science is finally explaining what many of us have known all along: you are never too old!  Sure it is adorable to see a three-year-old playing Jerusalem Ridge, but the fiddle is for EVERYONE!
  • If I sign up, can I cancel? Yes! You may cancel at any time in the course.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: If you decide these lessons are not for you, simply request a refund within your first 60 days and you will be courteously refunded.

What Red Desert Fiddle Students Are Saying

People just like you are learning to play the fiddle with my lessons.

“I love the way you carefully tease out a tune and give us lots of food for thought (and practice!). I am enjoying your lessons thoroughly. I can’t believe the changes and development I am already noticing in my playing by following your exercises. I am totally inspired and can’t wait to get to my practice nowadays. It’s so great playing along with you in my lounge room.”


“You really go beyond the extra mile as a teacher and I love you for it! After all these years, thanks to you, I am getting a music education. In the past, I’ve bought a couple of fiddle tutorials on individual tunes online, but they only teach you to imitate the exact way the teacher plays them—and assume I know more than I do! You don’t assume prior knowledge and you explain everything so clearly. The difference between other online instruction and yours is a bit like the analogy of giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish.”

Susan P-M


“My husband is on part D of lesson four (“Star of County Down” reel) in the Fabulous Fiddle Fundamentals book. He is totally inspired by your assistance. What he is enjoying the most (other than that you are always available for a lesson!) is the fact that you present the “What, how, where, why, why not, when, and personal options” for each ornament you teach. Thank you for being a superior instructor and having a well-developed lesson format.”

Margaret S

North Carolina

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