How To at Fiddle Hell November, 2023

This section will be updated in mid-September for Fiddle Hell In-Person, November, 2023.

How To at Fiddle Hell April, 2023

©2020-2023 D. Reiner - All rights reserved. If you'd like to re-use some of this information for your own event, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss usage and fee.

These How To's can also be found on the Whova event website (or the Whova Mobile app) in the How To Resource (for registered attendees). Also take a look at Q&A for FH - that may help to answer your questions.

Click on a How To item below to see the Answer.

How To Set Up Your Whova Account to Access Fiddle Hell Online

Whova is the event system that helps you access Zoom sessions on the agenda, download handouts, see messages and announcements, visit the virtual exhibits, ask questions about sessions or in general, and (optionally) connect with other attendees.

If you've bought your Fiddle Hell Online ticket, here's how to set up a Whova account. Using your LAPTOP or DESKTOP computer, ideally with the Chrome browser, go to to set up your Whova account and sign in to Fiddle Hell Online once you've registered. At that website, where it says "Don't have an account?" click "Sign up here". Sign in with the same exact email address used for your registration as an attendee, and create a new password. On a laptop or desktop computer, you don't need to download any software - the Whova system is browser-based.

For iPads or other mobile devices, DO NOT follow that link! First, download the Whova Event & Conference App, then use the App to establish your Whova account, and only then look for the Fiddle Hell Online event in the App.
 Here's how to get apps on an iPad 

For iPads and iPhones, here's the Whova app you're looking for in the App Store preview:
For Android tablets and Android phones, here's the Whova app you're looking for in the Play Store preview: 

If you are asked for an "invitation code" when you're using a laptop or desktop to set up your Whova account, it's usually because you're using a different email address than the one you gave when you bought your FIddle Hell Online ticket. Please try again, using the same email address you gave when you bought your FHO ticket. Fiddle Hell Online support staff can help if needed.

If you are asked for an "invitation code" when you're using an iPad or other mobile device to set up your Whova account,
make sure to download the Whova Event & Conference App first and use the App to set up your account. Then you should be able to see Fiddle Hell Online right away as one of "My Events" or you can seach for it in "Find My Event". Even if you plan to view FHO with an iPad, it's easier to set up your Whova account first with a laptop or desktop computer if you have that option. 
How to Get the Best Audio and Video Quality

SEEING: Use a laptop or desktop computer to attend Fiddle Hell Online - you'll see more than on a tablet or phone. Make livestreams and videos full-screen if you want to see details more easily. And it's always helpful to update your Zoom app to the latest available version: 1. Sign in to Zoom desktop client at . 2. Click your profile picture, then click Check for Updates.

BEING SEEN: This is for live Zoom meetings, not replays. Aim your camera straight on at you (not from below), using the built-in camera in your laptop, or a webcam. Get good lighting from lamps and natural light in front of you (not backlit or overhead lights only). Have a non-distracting real background if possible (please, no virtual backgrounds, since they sometimes cut instruments out and can cause problems for people with light sensitivity).

INTERNET: Your wifi may work just fine!  But if it’s slow or freezes, here are some ideas (these will help for more than just Fiddle Hell):

Connect to your network via an ethernet (preferably “cat6”) cable instead of using wifi. If you are unable to do that, locate your computer as close as possible to the router.  It’s also ideal if there are no walls between you and the router.  If that’s not possible, you might consider a wifi repeater or extender which will extend the coverage of your wifi network. If you’re on wifi, please take your phone off the wifi.

Certain times of day have a lot more wifi traffic than others, depending on where you live.  If you can concentrate on the less busy hours, that may help a surprising amount. Since FHO sessions are replayable, you have quite a bit of control over when you see some of them. Also, close other programs on your computer, and persuade other members of the household to stay away from online gaming or bandwidth-intensive downloads or viewing.

If these suggestions don’t help, try your smartphone for replays, if you have one. Even with fast Internet, people sometimes find that their phones work more smoothly.

HEARING: Use good quality headphones and plug them into your computer before joining each Zoom session (you may need to select your headphones as the output device in Zoom audio settings after joining a session). Alternatively, use good Bluetooth speakers, or wired speakers.

BEING HEARD: You don't need anything fancy to perform in an open mic concert, or ask a question in a workshop. If you're playing an instrument that others will hear, it is important to adjust your Zoom audio settings (lower left-hand corner of the screen, ^ to the right of the mic icon) for the best sound.
First: If needed, Select a Microphone or Select a Speaker
Second: Click on Audio Settings...
Third: Within Audio Settings:
If needed, Test Microphone and adjust volume slider as needed
Uncheck the box
 “Automatically adjust microphone volume.” 
Set “Suppress background noise” to Low.  
Choose "Original sound for musicians" assuming you're playing an instrument 
Check the box "Echo cancellation". 
Fourth: Close the settings window, go back to the meeting window. In the upper left, if it says "Original Sound for Musicians: On" then you're all set.  If it says, "Original Sound for Musicians: Off," click on that once so that it says "Original Sound for Musicians: On."

Fiddle Hell Online has additional guidelines for instructors about mics, audio interfaces, and settings, which we are happy to share with attendees on request.

How to Get Technical Help, Including Whova and Zoom

First, you may find the answers you need at our Q&A page. Second, the Chrome browser is highly recommended for laptops and desktops.

During Fiddle Hell, our Fiddle Hell Online support staff will be reachable by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and by phone at (857)-209-4861. On Thursday, the hours are 8:30AM - 11PM EDT, On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the hours are 9AM-11PM EDT.  Support staff can help with registration questions, Whova navigation and use, and Zoom use. It may take a little while to help you out; please be patient.

You can ask questions to the Whova support staff by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Here's the general Zoom help center and a set of Zoom Q&A's from Zoom itself (select a Q&A category on the left and see questions on the right).

You can test out your connection and software from 8:30-10:30AM on Thursday, April 13 - a very good idea! In Whova, go to the DROP-IN HELP Session, which is first on the Agenda.

How to Understand Workshop & Jam Descriptions

Looking at the Schedule page on the Fiddle Hell website (or at Agenda > Sessions in the Whova Web App), you'll see that sessions at Fiddle Hell are arranged by date and time, with 30 minute breaks between sessions.

At most time slots, you'll find a  CONCERT , a  JAM , and five or six  WORKSHOPs .

 L1    L2    L3    L4  describe levels of difficulty and pace (more info on levels here).
 Styles  describe various traditional music styles; many sessions cover more than one style.  
 Instruments  are those targeted by the workshop or jam.

(not always in order) are shown with the instruments they're using for this session.
Descriptions give you exciting details of workshops, sometimes including tune names.
Use the date and track filters to focus on particular attributes, or use the very helpful search box.
Click on an instructor's name to see bio and sessions.

How to Find the Best Workshops or Jams for You

There are 30 concerts, 30 jams, and 160 workshops. During each of the four days April 13-16, we'll alternate one-hour sessions with 30-minute breaks, going from 10AM ET to 10PM ET. In almost every time slot, you'll find a concert, a jam, and 4 or 5 workshops (except during the Saturday Night Concert).

NOTE: Session times listed on the schedule can be displayed in your local time zone or EDT. If you're not in EDT, you'll see this choice when looking at the Agenda.

To decide which sessions to attend...

  • Look at the session title and description
  • Look at the  Style  (such as Old-Time, Irish, Scottish, New England, Bluegrass, etc.)
  • Look at the target  Instruments  (such as fiddle, cello, guitar, mandolin, old-time banjo, ...)
  • Look at the instructors or performers. Click on their names to read their bios.
  • Look at the level(s)  L1    L2    L3    L4  of the session (L1 Beginner, L2 Low Intermediate, L3 High Intermediate, L4 Advanced). The level affects both difficulty and pace. More info on levels here.

You won't miss out since you'll be able to replay sessions for 4 months afterwards, so it's fun to stretch out and try a new style or instrument - or just to relax and watch a fun concert. You don't need to sign up for individual sessions - just go where you like.

How To Attend a Workshop, Jam, or Concert in Whova

This information is for both attendees and instructors.

We assume you’re on a laptop or desktop, preferably running the Google Chrome web browser. 

[On an iPad or smartphone, you’ll have downloaded the Whova Event & Conference App, and the interface will be a little different. You'll need to look for Staff under Additional Resources rather than under Agenda.
  1. Sign in if you haven’t already (using your email address and Whova password) to Fiddle Hell Online at . 

    If you haven’t yet set up a Whova account, click on the blue “sign up here” text, type in the email address you used in buying your Fiddle Hell Online ticket, and create a new password. [Instructors should use their instructor email addresses.] 

  2. You will see the Home page of Fiddle Hell Online on Whova, with a big banner, words of welcome, and a menu on the left. If you're not in the Eastern time zone, you can choose at the top of the Home page to have times displayed in your local time zone or switch to the event time. Here are the magical menu choices to help you navigate to different parts of Fiddle Hell:
Home – Big banner, video & words of welcome
Agenda >
      Sessions – See sessions, search for them, see details, attend sessions, make your own agenda
      Instructrs – See instructor & performer bios & sessions, send them messages 
Attendees – See & search for other attendees, send them messages
Community – See community discussions, see announcements, set up virtual meet-ups
Messages – See your messages from other attendees & organizers, and respond
Photos – See photos people have posted
Exhibitors – Visit our wonderful virtual exhibitors, including t-shirt sales
Resources >
      Session Q&A – Ask questions about sessions, see instructor responses if any
      Recordings – A random collection of all videos of sessions & from virtual exhibitors
      How To – Helpful answers to very key questions
      Handouts – Collects handouts from all sessions; you’ll see the right ones in each individual session at the bottom
      Links – Fiddle Hell links to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Mailing List
      Take Survey - Take our anonymous survey after FHO is over
      Whova Guides
 – The Whova Attendee User Guide is pretty good! 
  1. Click on Agenda > Sessions on the menu to get a Full Agenda of all sessions. As you look at the sessions, you can make your own agenda by clicking on "Add to My Agenda" on the right of a session. Next to the words “Full Agenda” at the top, click on “My Agenda” to see only those sessions you have added to “My Agenda”. Click on “Full Agenda” to go back to seeing everything. 

  2. You can filter sessions at the top left. Where it says “Filter by tracks” click on “Tracks” at the top to turn off all checkmarks, and then select the tracks you want (by type, style, level, instrument). Click “Tracks” at the top again to turn off filtering. You can also choose the day just below that – Thu, Fri, Sat, or Sun.  

  3. You can search for sessions across all days at the top middle search box. This is very helpful - it finds titles, instructors, and descriptions. If search doesn’t show what you expect, turn off filtering (#4 above). If you want to see sessions for a particular instructor, enter all or part of their name.

  4. When you see a session of interest, click on the View Session button to read more about it, to ask a question in the Session Q&A, to join it live (as an attendee or as the instructor), or to replay it after it has happened. When you’re viewing a particular session, you can add it to or remove it from My Agenda or Like it. [Instructors can also moderate the Session Q&A for their sessions.] You can experiment to see what Show Agenda and Hide Agenda will do. At any time, you can click on Agenda in the menu column to restore the initial Full Agenda view.

  5. To attend a live session, click on the green button "Join the live stream here" (or just "Live Stream" on a phone). In the (recommended) Google Chrome web browser, say yes to the question about opening (which will open your Zoom app for the session, and give you a chance to download the Zoom app from if you don’t have it yet). [In the Safari or Firefox browser, click on the words “Zoom app” at the end of the yellow banner.] You may be asked for your email when attending concert sessions.

  6. Instructors should join their sessions early for sound check (20 minutes for concerts, 15 minutes for workshops & jams). Session attendees may be held in the Zoom waiting room until sound check is done. 

  7. If you’re not familiar with Zoom, see How To Use Zoom During Live Sessions in the How To menu. We’ll be using the Zoom Chat for workshops and jams (but not concerts); please ask your questions in the Zoom Chat (NOT the Whova Chat). Wiggle your hands in the air for Zoom applause or happiness. 

  8. When a Zoom session ends, or if you leave early, just return to your initial Fiddle Hell Online browser window. Click Rate Session to give us quick, anonymous feedback.

  9. To view a replay of a previous session (whether or not you attended it before), click on View Session from the Agenda in the usual way. If the video has been uploaded, the video will be visible and you can click on the play icon in the bottom left. It may take Fiddle Hell staff a few hours to upload videos to Whova once the live session is over. Please be patient as the length of this process depends on multiple factors that are out of our control.

  10. When replaying a session video, you can pause it in the bottom left, or make it full-screen in the bottom right. If you click on the Settings icon (looks like a little gear) in the bottom right, you can slow the video to half or three-quarters speed without changing the pitch! You can click on another menu item and your video will pop into a different window so you don’t lose your place in it. The Community command in the upper right will show you a small community window without disrupting the video playback. 
How to Use Zoom During Live Sessions

Signing up for a free Zoom account and installing the Zoom application from on your laptop or desktop computer is strongly recommended for the best listening, viewing and participation experience for Fiddle Hell Online. You can also download the Zoom app for your smartphone or tablet, though you'll won't be able to see multiple instructors and other attendees in participatory workshops on these devices. Zoom does not knowingly allow children under 16 to sign up for their own accounts.

If you wish, you may disable your audio and video at any time in Zoom meetings so you will not be audible or visible to others during the live meeting or during future replays. The audio and video on-off controls, and access to audio and video settings (such as audio output to headphones) are in the lower left on laptops and desktops.

Please don't turn on a virtual background; some people have a sensory sensitivity to these.

You may wish to switch between "Speaker View" (just the instructor or performer) and "Gallery View" (everybody) by clicking on the "View" option in the upper right; this also lets you go to fullscreen view.

You can bring up the Zoom Chat window in workshops and jams, using the Chat command at the bottom of your screen on a laptop or desktop. Whova has its own chat, but we plan to just use the Zoom Chat. You can ask musical questions in the Chat to the instructor or technical questions in the Chat to the Zoom host of the session. Chats aren't saved beyond the session; if you want information to persist (such as a link), put it in the session Q&A instead.

Using an iPad? Here are some iPad-Zoom suggestions. As on laptops, please don't turn on a virtual background; some people have a sensory sensitivity to these. BTW, a left to right swipe on an iPad will get you out of viewing a video.

How To View Live Sessions on iPad or Smartphone

These tips are for iPad and smartphone users, for live viewing of workshops and jams.  If you're using a laptop or desktop, you don't need to read further.

Here are the steps to view live workshops and jams on your device:

  1. Open the Whova Mobile App
  2. Click on the "Agenda" button at the bottom of the app
  3. Find the session you want to attend and click on it
  4. This will bring you to the more detailed session page
  5. On that page of the app, there is a Virtual Access section part way down that has a green "Live Stream" button 
  6. Click on the "Live Stream" button and the session will play right in the Whova app

Because of internal changes to the  Zoom interface, Whova on a mobile device is not able to launch the Zoom app, which is why the Zoom session plays in a Whova window.

You should be able to hear and see the session fine. You may have to allow Whova to "Call via device audio" on a phone. Once in a while there's an issue with a black screen, but if you go back to the Agenda and then to the session again, it seems to work.

You may initially see the Session Q&A and Whova Chat displayed.  We don't use the Whova Chat - only the Zoom Chat. You may occasionally use the Session Q&A to enter information that needs to persist beyond the end of a live session (such as a useful link).

Controls vary across iPhones, iPads, and Android phones.  Whova requires iOS 14.0 or later on an iPhone, and iPadOS 14.0 or later on an iPad. 

Turning your device to landscape mode (horizontal) may make controls more visible to see the Zoom Chat and Gallery View. Also, you can tap on the video itself to get to additional settings, or on the 3 dots ("More") at the bottom to get to the Zoom Chat.

Swiping left or right on an iPhone gets you to the Gallery to see participants.

On an Android phone, you can see some standard Zoom controls across the bottom, and may also see a row of many dots. Clicking on various dots will show you the safe driving mode, the instructor, and sections of the Gallery. 

We do recommend attending all Fiddle Hell Online sessions from a laptop or desktop computer (if you have one available) because you will be able to see the instructor better, more easily access the Zoom controls, more easily type questions into the Zoom Chat, etc.

How to View and Download Handouts

Here's how to view and download handouts from specific workshops and jams (or even all sessions).

Basic approach on laptop or desktop:
(a) You can see the handouts associated with a session when you are in the detailed session view (after clicking “View Session” in the agenda). If you click on the Download button to the right of one of them, it’ll open the handout in a new browser tab (but won’t actually download it to your computer). 
(b) You then use the standard browser method to do a download (e.g., hover towards the bottom of the window on the Mac, the download icon at top right in Chrome, File / Export as PDF in Safari, etc.). However, the original PDF name is lost in these downloads (Thanks, Whova!). At least in Chrome, the recommended browser, you can rename the file before downloading it. 

(c) If you click on the "Handouts" menu choice instead, that will take a long time to load ALL the handouts. It's preferable to look at handouts in the detailed session views of interest.
On your phone or iPad there's a different (and in some ways better) approach
In the Whova Event & Conference App, you can click on "Handouts" and then "Export All Documents" to get them ALL emailed to you in a zip file, with the handout names correct in the email and mostly preserved in the actual filenames. Dave will email you an even better zip file about a week after the live part of the event is over, with all the correct filenames.
How to Pace Yourself at Fiddle Hell
  • Attend a mixture of concerts, jams, and workshops
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stretch or walk around during breaks
  • Give yourself and your eyes a break from screens and devices
Don't worry if you miss a session. Concerts, jams, and workshops will be available for replay for 4 months, so if you miss them at the originally scheduled time, you can replay them later. 
How to Change Your Strings

Helpful videos! Of course, not everyone does it the same way. And, change your strings at your own risk.

Fiddle - Short Version from SHAR Music
Fiddle - Long Version from Kennedy Violins
Cello - Medium Version from Nan Kemberling
Mandolin - Short Version from Long & McQuade
Mandolin - Long Version from Nate Lee
Guitar - Short Version from Martin Guitars
Old-Time Banjo - Long Version from Deering Banjo Co
Old-Time Banjo - Quite Long Version from BanjoLemonade

How to Fill Out Fiddle Hell Survey for April, 2023

After the 4 days of FHO, please help us make Fiddle Hell better by filling out our anonymous survey at

We read all responses carefully!