Q&A for fiddle hell online 2020

General & Registration Questions
Click on a Question below to see the Answer.

When and where is Fiddle Hell Online?

Fiddle Hell Online is Thursday-Sunday, November 5-8, 2020, with sessions replayable for the next 3 months. It's virtual, so FHO is wherever you are!

What happens at Fiddle Hell Online?

In normal times, the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival is a yearly gathering of fiddlers, cellists, mandolin & guitar & old-time banjo players, and singers to meet, jam, learn, listen, and have fun. It's both friendly and diverse, and covers many traditional musical styles. This is still true now that we're ONLINE! As a registered attendee, you'll have an amazing choice of 160 workshops, 35 concerts, and 34 jam sessions. Not only can you attend these sessions when they are live, but you can replay videos of any sessions during Fiddle Hell Online and for 3 months afterwards. Teaching at FHO is primarily by ear although sheet music may occasionally be available.

What’s different from the in-person Fiddle Hell?

Attendance and participation are from your laptop, tablet, phone, or other device, using Zoom sessions conveniently reached from a web browser. At face-to-face Fiddle Hell, you had to make a choice of where to go in each time slot; for FHO, you'll be able to replay videos of prior sessions for the next 3 months, so you won't miss your favorite instructors, workshop topics, jams, and performers. Optionally, you can access the online community once you register, for discussions, messaging, exhibitors, and technical help if you need it.

Where do I find out about the schedule and instructors?

Right now, look at https://fiddlehell.org/schedule and https://fiddlehell.org/staff Once you are registered, you can also peruse the agenda and instructors by logging into your personal Fiddle Hell Online account (on a website provided by Whova), using your own email address and a new password you will create. There is also a (downloadable) phone app available as an alternative way to view the schedule, staff, and community topics.

What do the workshop and jam levels (L1, L2, L3, L4) mean?

Levels are discussed at https://fiddlehell.org/info/session-levels. Our four levels are approximations that you can use as guidelines to help pick your workshops and jams. Levels indicate two things: the difficulty of the material covered and the pace of the session. L1 (beginner) sessions will have the easiest material and will be at a slow pace. L4 (advanced) sessions will have the most difficult material and will be at a rapid pace. L2 (low intermediate) and L3 (high intermediate) levels are in between. Of course, your level may vary by instrument, by style, by technical facility, by ability to learn by ear, and more. Feel free to attend any workshops and jams you'd like, expecting that they will be taught and led at the advertised level(s). Also, feel free to leave any Zoom session that doesn't feel right for you and join a different one. You can always go back to the agenda to see what's happening live at the same time.

What sessions should I attend? Do I need to sign up in advance for particular workshops?

There are 35 concerts, 34 jams, and 160 workshops. During each of the four days Nov 5-8, we'll alternate one-hour sessions with 30-minute breaks, going from 10AM ET to 11PM ET. In almost every time slot, you'll find a concert, a jam, and 5 workshops (except during the Saturday Night Concert). To decide which sessions to attend, look at the style (such as Old-Time, Irish, Scottish, New England, Bluegrass, etc.), the target instruments (such as fiddle, cello, guitar, mandolin, old-time banjo, ...), the instructors or performers, the level of the session, and of course the session title and description. You won't miss out since you'll be able to replay sessions for 3 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.

Can kids attend Fiddle Hell Online?

Yes, kids can attend FHO! There is a 10% discount for kids to $135 (or just $100 if they qualify as an additional household member). Kids are welcome at all sessions; the session description should be useful in making decisions about what will interest them. There are no sessions specifically for kids in this year's Online version of Fiddle Hell, due to online privacy restrictions. Please read on for details, which are different for different ages of kids.

An adult can purchase a ticket for an older kid (13-17). During the registration process, the ticket purchaser will need to accept these additional terms: "I certify that I (the ticket purchaser) am 18 years old or older. I agree that the child being registered (13-17 years old) will be supervised at Fiddle Hell Online by an adult 18 or older, who has the responsibility of supervising the child's safe and non-disruptive participation in any or all Fiddle Hell Online activities."

A parent or guardian can purchase a ticket for a younger kid (12 or under). The parent or guardian must also purchase their own ticket (possibly as an additional household member, at $100). To comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), there are important, required procedures to avoid sharing personal information about the kid, which includes name, display name, audio, video, chat posting, and more. While the kid can hear and see any sessions, during live sessions the kid should not be identified, nor audible, nor visible, since these sessions are recorded for later replay. During the registration process, the parent or guardian purchasing the ticket will need to accept these additional terms. It is not an option to consent to share personal information about a younger kid, since such permission could later be withdrawn, and the actions required of Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC (such as removing videos) in association with a revoked consent could be burdensome and challenging to comply with.

What's the Fiddle Hell Common Tune list?

The Fiddle Hell Common Tune list consists of 104 tunes that were suggested by the Reiner Family Band (the original 52) and by Fiddle Hell attendees (the new 52). It's a list of exciting tunes in various styles; most are traditional and some are by known composers. These are suggested for your repertoire, and often show up in jams or workshops. Of course, many tunes not on the list are also played regularly at Fiddle Hell. The Reiner Family Band has recorded the common tunes (played both fast and slow) on two 2-CD sets, available for $15/set postpaid to US addresses at the Fiddle Hell Store.

What's the price of Fiddle Hell Online? Are discounts available?

The price for an Adult (26-64) is $150, for access to all sessions (concerts, jams, workshops) during FHO and for 3 months afterwards. As usual, we offer 10% discounts (price of $135) for Kids (13-17), Young Adults (18-25), and Seniors (65 or over). Any additional household member wishing to attend ANY concerts, workshops, or jams also needs to register (for the reduced price of $100). It is also possible to sign up for just the 35 concerts ($100). And all registered attendees are welcome to the Saturday Night Concert; there are no separate tickets for it.

Do I get early access and other benefits if I register early, or should I just wait until the last moment?

Sure, you could wait until the last moment ... But if you register now for Fiddle Hell Online, you'll get early access to the event and several additional benefits.  

Register now to plan your own agenda (with the My Agenda feature), ask questions about sessions, see announcements about new sessions, post to community discussion topics (like instruments for sale), test out your connections and software, and look through our online exhibitors.

You'll need to be registered to apply for a performance spot on the two open mic concerts, the teen concert, or the original tunes concert

If you register by September 20th, you'll receive free admission to two of Andy Reiner's very helpful online workshops in the months before Fiddle Hell (normally $49 each).  September 24th is Celtic Ornaments (mainly Irish) and October 22nd is Fiddle Bowing Boot Camp. These go from 7:30-9:00PM Eastern time.

If you register by September 20th, you'll also be entered in several giveaways for books, strings, and more.

We have scholarship funds available now; these may run out as FHO gets nearer.

Of course, if you register soon, you'll also help Fiddle Hell to plan for a smooth and exciting event! We'll be able to anticipate the needs for technical support staff, to add several new workshops that have been requested, and to add several new instructors as well. 

That being said, you can actually register any time you like, even if Fiddle Hell Online has already started.

What if I already registered for the in-person Fiddle Hell?

If you already registered online or through a check, we sent you an email recently. If you haven't received it, feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Existing registrations can be (1) applied to Fiddle Hell Online in 2020, (2) rolled over to 2021, or (3) refunded to you. Of course, we hope you'll choose option 1. For option 1, the difference in price (since FHO is considerably less expensive) can be refunded to you or donated to our scholarship fund (or a combination).

Are scholarships available? How do I apply?

Yes! Thanks to generous contributors to our scholarship fund (including many of the instructors), a number of scholarships (and partial scholarships) are available to those who can't afford the fees. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to describe your request and circumstances.

How do I register with a credit or debit card?

Go to the Registration Page. During the registration process, you'll be able to register just one person or several. You'll be asked some questions about each person being registered (email, state, time zone, instruments, ...), and will read and check off an Attendee Agreement (as we do at the in-person Fiddle Hell). Credit and debit card payments are accepted (see next answer for paying by check).

Can I register by sending a check instead?

Please send a check in the mail by October 15th to Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC, P. O. Box 316, Lexington, MA 02420-0316, and let us know who it's for, their age categories, and their email addresses. We'll then send you a 100% discount code (specific to each person) to use for online registration at https://fiddlehell.org/registerEach attendee needs a unique email address to register, and will be asked to agree to the Attendee Agreement.

Is it ok for my friends and family to watch or attend concerts, jams, or workshop sessions using my login?

No, it's not. As at in-person Fiddle Hell, each registration is valid for only one attendee at Fiddle Hell Online. Any additional household member wishing to watch or participate in any concerts, workshops, or jams also needs to register (each additional household member can register at a reduced price). At a time when all musicians' gigs have largely disappeared, Fiddle Hell Online pays all instructors, performers, and technical staff, and we rely on your registration fees to do this. Please respect the artists who are at the heart of Fiddle Hell Online by asking your friends and family to register.

What happens once I register? And what is "Whova"?

1. You'll get a confirmation email from Whova with ticket purchase details.

2. Using a laptop or desktop computer, go to the Whova website to set up your account (easy!). 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. The Whova website will be how 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. You don't need to download any software - the Whova Web App is browser-based.  

3. From your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, you might want to download the Whova mobile app to conveniently browse the FHO agenda and talk to the community. This is required only if you want to view FHO from these devices (including setting up a Whova account). Otherwise this is optional, and you can ignore any emails from Whova telling you it's critical :-).

4. Please help spread the word about Fiddle Hell Online to your musical friends - fiddlers, mando players, cellists, guitarists, banjo players, singers, and more. You can direct them to our Fiddle Hell website, our Facebook group, our YouTube channel (for jam videos), or our Instagram channel.  

5. What happens at FIddle Hell Online is different from an in-person Fiddle Hell, of course. But you'll likely try out new tunes and styles, pick up techniques and nuances, enjoy hearing others play, participate in guided jams, hear concerts, connect online with old friends and make new ones. Whatever your level and musical preferences, you'll find a supportive community and kindred spirits. There will be 8 year olds and 80 year olds, local musicians and attendees from far away, players who perform regularly and those who rarely play for anyone.

Speaking for the Fiddle Hell organizers - and all the instructors, performers, and technical staff - I hope you'll enjoy the event as it unrolls, and have fun throughout and for the 3 months afterwards when you can replay sessions. Relax and experience the unique gathering that is Fiddle Hell Online!
- Dave Reiner

Technical Questions
Click a Question below to see the Answer. 

How do I log in and attend online sessions? Can I try this out beforehand?

Once you register and create an account on Whova, you can use Whova's browser-based event system from laptops and desktops (Chrome browser is recommended but not required), and Whova's free downloadable phone app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.

If you've bought your Fiddle Hell Online ticket, here's how to set up a Whova account. Using a laptop or desktop computer, go to the Whova website to set up your account (easy!). 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. The Whova website will be how 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. You don't need to download any software - the Whova event system is browser-based.  

There are no Zoom meeting IDs and passwords to remember once you sign in to Whova; you'll just click on sessions in the agenda to join them through Zoom or to replay them. Nice!

You'll have the opportunity to try out joining a Fiddle Hell Online practice session a few days before the festival begins - more details later.

What are best-practice suggestions for using my desktop / laptop / tablet / phone to attend?

This information is also in the "How To" resources. on the Whova web portal. 

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.

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 are often busy while others are not, 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, it is helpful to click on "Turn on Original Sound" (upper left hand corner of a Zoom meeting). In Zoom audio settings, uncheck the box "Automatically adjust microphone volume" and set "Suppress background noise" to Low. FIddle Hell Online has additional guidelines for instructors about mics, audio interfaces, and settings, which we are happy to share with attendees on request.

What are best-practice suggestions for using Zoom?

Signing up for a free Zoom account and installing the Zoom application 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. We'll give more details on Zoom use later.

How can I be a responsible and respectful online attendee of FHO?

We're glad you asked! Most of this is just common sense to make FHO a positive experience for you and other attendees. Since each registration is valid for one attendee only at FHO, please make sure that any additional household member wishing to attend any concerts, workshops, or jams is also registered (for a reduced price). Please know that it is against Fiddle Hell Online policy (and your Attendee Agreement) to share your personal Whova password, discount codes, video replay links, or any other links related to Fiddle Hell Online sessions with other attendees or non-attendees. Multiple concurrent sign-ons using the same email address will not be accepted by the Whova platform.

The Whova platform does not allow videos of sessions to be downloaded, so please don't attempt to download any FHO videos (workshops, concerts, or jams); these will be viewable and replayable during the event and for three months afterwards to FHO registered attendees only. PDF downloads (of sheet music, for example) are fine. Please mute yourself conscientiously on Zoom. Please don't post inappropriate or derogatory photos, videos, comments, messages, links, or other material.

Please don't engage in Zoom bombing, cyberharassment, online bullying, or any activity prohibited by the "Additional Terms" you agreed to at registration or by law, during FHO sessions and afterwards. Please don't share your screen unless invited by a FHO instructor. Please be aware that violating these requirements may result in your FHO attendance being restricted or terminated at the discretion of FHO without a refund of your ticket purchase price.

How do I get technical help if I need it, including help with Zoom?

We'll post details later, including Zoom help within Whova and by email or phone. We expect there will be several opportunities to test out your connection and software before Fiddle Hell Online begins - a very good idea!

Are audio or video recording allowed?

Audio recording of FHO workshops and jams is allowed (but not really needed) unless the instructor requests no audio recording. Taking video recordings of your computer screen during a workshop or jam is not allowed unless it is invited or pre-authorized by the instructor. To respect the professional instructors and performers, please do not record audio or video of concerts at FHO, including the Saturday Night Concert. All sessions are planned to be viewable and replayable during the event and for three months afterwards, through your Whova account, on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone. Additionally, audio recordings of some tunes and songs taught during workshops may be provided after the workshop by certain instructors.

How can I see a session video after the live session has occurred?

You'll easily be able to see workshops, jams, and concerts after they have occurred through the Whova Agenda website. We'll give more details later.

How do I sign up to be on an Open Mic Concert, the Teen Concert, the Original Tunes Concert, or in a workshop where feedback is given to individual soloists?

Once you are registered for Fiddle Hell Online, contact the concert coordinator or the workshop instructor through Whova to request your inclusion. Lineups will be finalized a month before FHO. Please recognize that slots are limited, and decisions of the instructors and coordinators are final.

How can I interact with my friends at Fiddle Hell Online?

Once you are registered for Fiddle Hell Online, you'll be able to interact with your registered friends (and make new friends) through messages and though Community discussion topics. Unless your friends have turned off their videos in Zoom, you'll be able to see them and chat with them in Zoom. It is also possible in Whova to schedule and attend a virtual meet-up with other attendees.

Logistics & Miscellaneous Questions
Click a Question below to see the Answer. 

How can I encourage my friends to attend?

Please do encourage your friends through social media to attend this epic event! With many styles, instruments, and levels represented, they're likely to find lots of workshops, jams, and concerts of interest. If they want, they can attend sessions in a low-key manner, with nobody hearing or seeing them. And they can replay session videos for up to 3 months after the event. By the way, your non-musician friends can enjoy four days of amazing concerts (without workshop or jam access, but with 3 months of concert replays) for $100.

What’s Fiddle Hell doing to support racial justice and actively foster community inclusivity?

We have written a detailed statement outlining Fiddle Hell's efforts for racial justice and have shared it on our website. We hope you will read it to learn about how we are approaching this very important topic. We are committed to teaching and accurately attributing repertoire from Black and Indigenous sources, to supporting diverse instructors and performers, and to actively reaching out to and more explicitly welcoming participants of color into the FIddle Hell community. As you look through the 2020 FHO Agenda, you will see sessions reflecting these goals.

What Is Fiddle Hell's Privacy Policy?

Our privacy policy is on the Info menu here.

How does Fiddle Hell select instructors and performers?

We always look for instructors who are great musicians, friendly, supportive, well-prepared, effective teachers, and diverse in backgrounds and gender. Most of this year's instructors have taught at Fiddle Hell before, and many were already booked to be at Fiddle Hell in person in 2020. We were excited to add several instructors who live farther away because travel isn't needed this year, making it possible to have them join us. This year, we also added several instructors with ties to Black and Indigenous musical history and we'll be continuing to do this each year in the future.

Can I volunteer to help at Fiddle Hell Online?

We appreciate your enthusiasm! While we are not seeking volunteers at Fiddle Hell Online, we might need you when we meet in person in the future. In the meantime, you can help us a lot by recommending Fiddle Hell Online to your musical friends.

How do I get a Fiddle Hell t-shirt this year?

After t-shirts are designed (end of September), you will be able to order them at CustomInk.com for around $20, including shipping to you in the Continental US. It'll cost slightly more for certain styles and for sizes larger than XL. If you order early, you'll have your t-shirt in time for Fiddle Hell Online. Stay tuned for further information and a direct link to order your shirt.

Is there a Fiddle Hell Online store for instructor CDs, books, and more?

Instructors' merchandise (recordings, books, etc.) will be available through their websites, which are listed in their bios in Whova. For the Reiner Family Band, books and CDs (including the two sets of Common Tune CDs), are at our online Store.

Can I buy or sell an instrument at Fiddle Hell Online?

Yes, once you're registered, through messages in the Community Topic "Instruments for Sale or Trade or Wanted." Any sales or trades are private transactions between the parties, and FIddle Hell Massachusetts LLC is not directly involved or responsible for transactions.

When is the next in-person Fiddle Hell Massachusetts?

Nov. 4-7, 2021, in Westford, MA. Please add the dates to your calendar now.