Project Description

You’ll be amazed how quickly students can learn to strum full tunes on the fiddle in this engaging and active music program.

This string-teaching residency program is designed for an entire school to learn the fiddle (violin) and culminates in a school-wide recital. In a very short time, students acquire enough basic skills on the fiddle to be able to perform a three chord 2 step fiddle tune with guitar accompaniment. In addition, students will learn enough technique to produce sound effects to musically illustrate a short folk story narrated by the instructor.

This program is for students K-12, with kindergarten participation in an abbreviated version of the program. A minimum of four 45 minute consecutive sessions per class is recommended, with the fourth session serving as a recital performed for attending parents and students. Fiddles are provided.

Final Product
Students learn how to play the fiddle (violin). In 3 days students acquire enough skills to perform in a recital on the 4th day.

See a sample of Kelly’s program here.

Program Overview – The Art of Fiddling & the Mystique of Louisiana (PDF)
Fiddle Program & Arts Integration (PDF)
Fiddle Program Lesson Plan (PDF)

Learning Outcomes

  • This program incorporates basic state criteria for music education in its curriculum: rhythm, timing, and dynamics.
  • Students learn historical and cultural information about the instrument as well as cultural perspectives through music.
  • Students learning a new skill will experience a sense of achievement and self-esteem.
  • Students will be able to perform a three chord 2 step fiddle tune with guitar accompaniment.
  • Students will be able to produce sound effects to musically illustrate a short folk story.

Suggested Grades

  • Appropriate for all grade levels.

Pricing Breakdown

  • 4 visits at 45 minutes each
  • Prep hours: 1 hour per classroom
  • Materials: $150 fiddle rental fee – flat rate per school (covers costs for maintenance, including strings, violin rosin, and bows)
  • Travel from Oakridge


“Dear Kelly Thibodeaux, thank you for teaching me how to play one of the coolest instruments, a violin such as a fiddle. I will keep practicing with my air fiddle and toothbrush.” —Jade, student at Pleasant Hill Elementary School

“I want to say thank you for teaching us how to play a fiddle, and for putting a string on my fiddle. I hope you can get a chance to come back and play for us again. And thank you for teaching my class to become certified, bonafied fiddler players!” —Olivia, student at Pleasant Hill Elementary School

As a teaching artist, Kelly has over 15 years of experience conducting fiddle workshops, after school programs, and artist-in-residence programs. He specializes in teaching large groups (25 to 30+ students, K-12) in short order how to play one of the world’s oldest and most powerful instruments, the violin.

Kelly Thibodeaux is a professional fiddler from Louisiana with forty years of playing experience. He has performed throughout the United States and Canada from the Louisiana bayou honky-tonks to big city concert halls plus an appearance at the 2002 National Fiddle Festival in Hawthorne, Australia. He is a fiddler and front man for the swamp rock band Etouffee and has written, recorded, and published eight albums of original music. His fiddling never fails to get ab audience up and dancing!

Two of Kelly’s recordings, “Alphonse Come In For Dinner” and “Louisiana Lament” were included in the PBS series American Passages, Regional Realism broadcast in March 2003. A uniquely styled fiddle player gifted with the “Song of the South,” Kelly has lived in the Pacific Northwest for over thirty years. Read more about Kelly at

Submit Your Residency Request