Kelly Thibodeaux

Kelly Thibodeaux is a professional fiddler from Louisiana with over 35 years of playing experience.  He has performed throughout the United States and Canada and had an appearance at the 2002 National Fiddle Festival in Hawthorne, Australia.  He is the founder and front man for the swamp rock band “Etouffee” and has written, recorded, and published 8 CD’s of original music.  Two of Kelly Thibodeaux’s recordings, “Alphonse come in for Dinner” and “Louisiana Lament” were included in the PBS series “American Passages-Regional Realism” broadcast in March of 2003.

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

Residency Description & Objectives:
This is an amazing string teaching program/residency designed for an entire school, with the objective of students acquiring, in a very short period of time, enough basic skills on the violin (fiddle) to be able to solo perform a 3-chord fiddle tune with guitar accompaniment provided by the instructor.  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 students participating in an abbreviated version of the program.  A minimum of four 45 minute consecutive sessions per class (25 to 30 plus students) is recommended, with the 4th session serving as a recital performed for attending parents and students.  Fiddles are supplied for every student by the artist.

The curriculum for this residency incorporates basic state criteria for music education in its curriculum: rhythm, timing, and dynamics.  However, it goes much further by including historical and cultural information on the instrument itself as well as the cultural perspectives of the music.  Louisiana culture, with its rich and colorful heritage, provides the material and anecdotes utilized in explaining and understanding the music presented in the program.  In addition, students participating in this activity experience increased achievement and improved self esteem.  This program also encourages greater parent participation along with a corresponding enhanced sense of community, as there is great pride to be derived from musical abilities.

Staff and Community Offerings:
I can offer a pre-residency workshop for teachers, parents, and volunteers so that they may assist and encourage their children or students in this creative endeavor. Or; the above people may simply participate from day one with the residency and offer assistance as they acquire their skills.

Facilities and Supplies:
Generally, all that is needed is a large room located in such a way as to not disturb any others with enough chairs for everyone. Kelly will supply all of the fiddles (sizes 1/2, 3/4 and 4/4).

Connection to other Subjects:
Music, History, Math, and culture.

Website: To view a short documentary on Kelly’s residency program, visit his website and click on “Fiddle Workshops”