Tips for Newbies and Contest Prep:

Scroll down for a list that I have recently compiled of Hoedowns, Waltzes, and Tunes of Choice or click here to download the spreedsheet.
Most of these can be learned off of videos on YouTube from Weiser (the National Fiddle Contest), but if you’re not the best at learning from videos of up to speed performances, there are a couple books I’d recommend…

Championship Contest Fiddling by Nate Olsen (published by Mel Bay). This is a good book for the advanced player that hasn’t done a lot of learning by ear yet, or someone who needs the music notated.

Mark O’ Conner Contest Fiddling Championship Style. This is another good advanced book with everything notated out.

Click here for the free book of transcriptions of performances by the great Benny Thomasson. Intermediate to Advanced.

Learn to Play Fiddle (book 1, Beginner) and Learn to Play More Fiddle Tunes (book 2, intermediate) by JayDean Ludiker. Available here

American Fiddle Method (book 1 Beginner, Book 2 intermediate) by Brian Wicklund

A hoedown is a fast tune with a lot of straight eighth notes. It usually is just an A and a B part repeated over and over again with variations (up an octave, down and octave, embellishments, licks, etc.) No vibrato.

A waltz is a 3/4 tune with really syrupy bowings. Vibrato, slides, etc. are cool! Make it pretty and show a wide contrast in your ability in comparison to the hoedown.

A tune of choice is anything that IS NOT a hoedown or waltz (polka, rag, blues, two-step, jigs, are examples of tunes of choice). The eighth notes are kinda swung, no vibrato, and the tune should sound fun and dancy.

Also here are a couple YouTube videos what to expect for each division, level wise (videos of kids playing in each age division who usually place in the top 3 at most contests)
Small Fry (ages 8 and under)
Junior Junior (9-12)
Junior (13-18)
Adult/Senior (18+)
Championship (any age)

This is a cool video of the top three playing in the playoffs of the championship at Weiser in 2016. This is the best of the best! A few of these guys have studied at Berklee college of music in Boston and play in a bunch of bands. They’re crazy good. It’s really fun to listen to them play, this is what we all try to sound like and who we are always copying when it comes to cool versions of tunes and neat licks! These guys’ groove and feel is soooo good! Their rhythm is exact and it just makes you want to bob your head up and down, that’s what you want! Luke Price, Tristan Clarridge, and Katrina Nicolayeff

It is pretty standard to have a guitar accompanying you. We are paying for a few guitar players (who know the chords to pretty much every tune!) to be there to accompany contestants, so you can just find someone to accompany you there. We will also have a couple bass players there to add too (that is also somewhat common).
You can also have a piano, mandolin, banjo etc. accompany you if you know someone! It is not as standard as a guitar, but it still works! Just make sure that they do not play any of the melody or harmony notes, they should just be playing backup chords. Here is a video example of piano accompaniment...

No matter what, you want to have an accompanist.
Sometimes some judges may deduct points if you do not have an accompanist because the accompanist really adds a lot to the rhythm. Plus there will be tons of guitar players at the contest to accompany you for free, so there’s no reason to not have one! If you do win prize money it is customary to pay your accompanist 10% of what you make. Even if they do not win prize money, some people still tip their guitar players to be courteous! They kill their fingers in order to make you sound good!

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions or would like me to write out a copy of a fiddle tune you listen to and like but can’t find! Just Google or YouTube the songs on this list and decide what you like and go from there! I can also give you a couple lessons here and there if you’d like some feedback in preparing for the competition.
If you’d like to see how a contest works (or even compete!) before the one in Pocatello there are a couple to choose from…
Feb. 17-18 Dillon, Mt.
April 14 Hailey, ID.
April 14 Kalispell, MT.
April 28 Spokane, WA.
May 19 Pocatello, ID.
June 15-16 Nampa, ID.
June 17-23 Weiser, ID.

Here is the most complete list of fiddle contests in the United States...





Ace of Spades Allegheny Moon Allentown Polka
Alfie's Hornpipe Aly's Waltz Alex & Marie's Two Step
Allen's Reel Amazing Grace B & B Rag
Angus Campbell Amelia's Beaumont Rag
Apple Blossom Annie Laurie Bernard The Butterfly
Angelina Baker Anniversary Song Big Walleye Blues
Arkansas Traveler Appalachia Waltz Black & White Rag
Barlow Knife Arran Boat Song Black Mountain Rag
Bennett's Reel Arizona Blue Moon
Benny's Favorite Ashokan Farewell Bonaparte's Retreat
Big John McNeil Azalea's Waltz Bowing the Strings
Big Taters in the Sandy Land Benny & Beas Brown Skin Gal
Bill Cheatum Bicycle Built for Two Camptown Races
Billy In The Low Ground Bill's Waltz Cajun Fiddles
Bitter Creek Billy's Waltz Calgary Polka
Blackberry Blossom Black Velvet Charmaine
Blue Eagle Blue Valley Cherokee Maiden
Blue Flame Bridget's Waltz Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
Boil The Cabbage Cabri Chief Sitting In The Rain
Bonaparte's Retreat Chancellor's Waltz Cider Polka
Boys of Blue Hill Cherry Orchard Clarinet Polka
Brilliancy Chestnut Waltz Cotton Patch Rag
Buffalo Gals Come Josephine Crawdad Song
Cairo Could I Have This Dance Crafton's Blues
Cajun Fiddle Country Waltz Crazy Creek
Cattle in the Cane Crying Waltz Dark Town Strutter's Ball
Chicken Reel Cuckoo's Waltz Dill Pickle Rag
Chinese Breakdown Doc Harris Waltz Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
Choctaw Down Home Down Yonder
Cindy Down In The Valley Draggin' The Bow
Cincinnati Hornpipe Dubree' Waltz Drowsy Maggie
Climbing the Mountain Dreamer's Waltz Done Gone
Cold Frosty Morn Edelweiss East Tennessee Blues
College Hornpipe Fascination Faded Love
Cotton Eyed Joe Festival Waltz Fort Worth Rag
Countryman's Reel Four In The Morning Flapjack Rag
Cripple Creek Forty Years Ago Waltz Florida Blues
Cuckoo's Nest French Folk Song Five Foot Two
Devil's Dream Fritz Waltz Going Places
Dew Drop Hornpipe Gardenia Golden Slippers
Down Yonder Georgianna Moon Grandfather's Clock
Durham's Bull Girl of My Dreams Gypsy Fantastique
Durang's Hornpipe Gold and Silver Haste to the Wedding
Dusty Miller Golden Fiddle Heel & Toe Polka
Eighth of January Golden Anniversary Waltz Herman's Rag
Fisher's Hornpipe Goodnight Waltz Hobo Jig
Flop Eared Mule Gypsy Waltz Hot Foot
Flowers of Edinburgh Hector The Hero I Don't Love Nobody (A or C)
49 Cats in a Rain Barrel Home On The Range In the Summertime
Forked Deer Interlake Waltz In The Mood
Forrester's Hornpipe Junior's Waltz Irish Washer Woman
Girl I Left Behind Me Kaiser's Waltz Jerusalem Ridge
Give the Fiddler a Dram Kansas Jenny Lind Polka
George Booker Kelly Jesse Polka
General Longstreet's Reel Kentucky Waltz John Ryan's Polka
Gold Rush Kerri's Waltz Kansas City Kitty
Golden Eagle Hornpipe La Zenda's Waltz Lily Dale
Golden Slippers Lake Ponchatrain Listen to the Mockingbird
Grey Eagle Lonesome Moonlight Little Bit of Swing
Growling Old Man & Woman Lover's Waltz Little Rock Gettaway
Harvest Home Margaret's Waltz Limerock
Hell Among the Moonshiners Mark's Waltz Lonesome Fiddle Blues
Hell Amongst The Yearlings Martin's Waltz Maiden's Prayer
Herman's Hornpipe McHattie's  Milk Cow Blues
Hot Springs Memories Waltz Mountain Dew
Honey Boys Midnight on the Water Murray River Jig
Huckleberry Hornpipe Midnight's Waltz Nearer My God To Thee
Jack of Diamonds Missouri Waltz Nellie Gray
June Apple Misty Moonlight Off To California
Joys of Quebec Misty Waltz Oh, Lady Be Good
Kingdom Coming Mom & Dad's Oh Susanna
Leather Britches Morning Star Old Man at Daddy's Door Jig
Liberty Ook Pik Orange Blossom Special
Liverpool Hornpipe Old South  Over The Waterfall
Liza Jane One More Waltz Panhandle Rag
Maple Sugar Our Waltz Peacock Rag
Marching Through Georgia Over The Rainbow Pig Ankle Rag
Marie Clare Over The Waves Polka in D & A
Marmaduke's Hornpipe Peekaboo Red Neck Mother
Me and My Fiddle Pete's Waltz Red Wing
Miller's Reel Portneuf Waltz Red Skin Girl
Mississippi Sawyer Put Your Little Foot Red River Valley
Money Musk Red Carpet Red Apple Rag
Natchez Under the Hill Red Fox Richmond Polka
Ned Kendall's Hornpipe Red Rose River Road Two Step
Old Aunt Sally, There's a Bug on Me Rockabye Moon Rocky Top
Old Joe Clark Rose in the Bible Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms
Old Straw Bonnet Rose of Old San Antone Rocking Chair Jig
Ostinelli's Reel Rose of Avenmore (Rosebud of Allanvale/Sharon) Runaway Fiddles
Pacific Slopes Roxanna's Waltz Rubber Dolly
Peaches and Honey Saturday Night Sacramento Mountain Rag
Polk County Breakdown Shepherd's Wife San Antonio Rose
Pretty Girl Breakdown Siloam Satan Takes a Holiday
Queen of the West Skater's Waltz Smith's Rag
Rabbit, Where's Your Mama? Somewhere My Love Silver Bells
Rachel Southwind Sixteen Days to Georgia
Ragtime Annie Star Waltz Snow Deer
Rambler's Hornpipe Star of the County Down Spanish Eyes
Randall's Hornpipe Sweetheart Waltz Stinky's Blues
Red Haired Boy Sweet Memories Sunnyside
Ricket's Hornpipe Tennessee Waltz Swampwalk
Sailor's Hornpipe Texas Stardust Swallow Tail Jig
Saint Anne's Reel The Waltz You Saved For Me Sweedish Rhapsody
Salem Hornpipe Three O'Clock in the Morning Sweet Marie
Sally Anne Trafalgar Hornpipe Sweet Georgia Brown
Sally Goodin' Velvet's Waltz Stone's Rag
Sally Johnson Waltz Across Texas T & T Rag
Sally's Hornpipe Waltz of the Shannon Texas Crapshooter's Rag
Salt Creek Wednesday Night Texas Schottische
Say Old Man Westphalia Tico Tico
Shortenin' Bread Whistler's Topeka Polka
Smith's Reel Wise Old Friend Trot Along
Snowbird in the Ashbank Wyatt's Twelfth Street
Snow Shoes Yellow Rose Waltz Twinkle Little Star
Snow Deer Uncle Pig
Snowflake Reel Under the Double Eagle
Soldier's Joy When You and I Were Young Maggie
Soppin' The Gravy White River Stomp
Sourwood Mountain Wild Fiddler's Rag
Spotted Pony Wildwood Flower
Speed The Plow Wizard's Walk
Schukin' The Bush
Stony Point
St. Anne's Reel
Swinging On A Gate
Tater Patch
Tennessee Wagoner
Temperance Reel
Texas Go Around
Tom and Jerry
Trafaulger's Hornpipe
Turkey In The Straw
Walk Along John
Westmoreland Hornpipe
Woah Mule
Whiskey Before Breakfast
Wild John
Woodchopper's Reel