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Showing posts from May, 2017

What does it take to learn to play the mandolin?

I've been teaching mandolin since I graduated from Hampshire College in 1985.  I teach all ages and all styles.

One of my earliest students was DJ and radio personality "Johnny Memphis".  At the time, he was playing celtic music and wanted to be able to play the mandolin to compliment the sounds of his band, and he wanted an instrument that he could play and sing at the same time.

The first thing you have to learn is how to hold the instrument.  Of course a good strap will keep the instrument from falling to the floor, but you'll need to understand how to position it so that your right arm and hand is in the right place for picking the notes, AND for playing rhythm and chords.

Next, you need to learn the best way to hold the pick for picking out melodies, and for chording.

In the same hour, you will learn how to hold the neck of the instrument, where to place the fingers of your left hand, and how to position your left arm, elbow and wrist for the most advantageou…