My Vacation & Projects

I've had a wonderful vacation, the first real one since Richard was 4 (he's 9 now).  With all this free time, I've had time to take some wonderful hikes on the 7 Sisters (Hadley), Mt Toby in Sunderland, Gap Mountain, Mt Monadnock and Pinkham Notch in NH, and a short camping trip to the Green Mountains in Vermont.

Seven Sisters - Hadley, MA
For projects, I built a trellis system and planted 13 apple trees, expanded my garden, moved my chicken coop and built a chicken range to keep out predators (long story - but so far, 15 chickens have been consumed by local animals just in the 1st year of living in Granby!)

Shed (left), Apple Trellis (back right), garden (front right)
 Original garden space (left front), expanded space behind,
new location of chicken coop under tree
But what I'm most proud of is the work I've been doing on my YouTube Channel.  I've been working on building playlists, which will make it easier for students to find specific tunes I've recorded or listen to a range of styles.  Here's the complete list of playlists I also created a Facebook Group specifically for Celtic Mandolin, where I've been posting some of the videos I like.

I'm looking forward to the Sweet Mandolin Ensemble concert at Porter Phelps in Hadley on 7/28/19 at 2:30pm (please come, it's free), and the Celtic Calamity concert there on 8/24/19 "A Perfect Spot of Tea".  Visit my Facebook Page for events and other information.

I reopened my studio on July 9th, and am happy to be back!  As a reminder, morning hours are still closed, but will reopen in September.  I still have slots available on Fridays at 5 and at 7 (6pm is taken).  Please let me know what works for you.

Please note the policy updates here.  I'm now offering a 10% Senior Discount for students over 65!

Some new material on my YouTube channel


Bluegrass Cat by Mando Mo
I have posted some new material on my YouTube channel, sorted by Playlist!  Now you can go directly to the category you are specifically interested in, without having to sort through a bunch of videos of no interest.  Click on the links below:

Firstly are some Free Lessons on mostly mandolin, fiddle as well.

Celtic Music:
Introductions, Product Reviews and Mando Mo Stuff:

Lessons and Group Classes Resume 7/9/19

Learning to play mandolin
As previously stated, I will be returning to the studio on Tuesday, July 9 2019.  If you have not yet signed up for an evening slot, I have the following still open:
  • Friday 5-6
  • Friday 6-7
  • Friday 7-8
I will NOT be teaching mornings UNTIL SEPTEMBER.  If you previously had a morning class you must either choose one of the Friday slots, or wait until September to start up again.

Some Changes To Rates:

  • Admittance to one of the group classes is limited ONLY to students who are taking private lessons.  If you are not taking private lessons, but want to attend one of the group classes, you must pay a fee of $55 per person per classSenior citizen discounts apply!  Please contact me to find out more.
  • Please note that private lesson rates will go up to $75 per hour as of September 1st.  I have not had a rate increase since my son Richard was born, almost 10 years ago.  Other teachers who offer what I do in Boston and New York are charging $120 an hour or more.  
  • I am now offering a Senior Citizen discount of 10%!  I have never offered this before, so we'll see how it goes.
  • Group rates are now $20 per person if you are taking private lessons.  If you attend two or more groups each week, the rate is $15 per person.

Please make a note of these changes and let me know if you have a problem with anything.

See you next week!

Adam Sweet

The Studio will be closed from Monday, June 24th and opening again on Tuesday the 9th of July.

The Sweet Mandolin Ensemble with special guest: Josh Bell
Performing at Porter Phelps Museum in Hadley
2018
The Sweet Mandolin Ensemble (the name chosen for the Tuesday night Classical Group Class) will be performing at Porter Phelps Museum in Hadley from 2:30-4 on Sunday, July 28th. 

This will be the World's Premier of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for two Mandolas, featuring the Higginsonic 8 and 10 string instruments, and Mozart's Dissonance Quartet featuring "The Whale" manocello by Mando Mo Strings.

Sweet Mandolin Ensemble

Sweet Mandolin Ensemble by Deb Noyes
A vote was cast, and the string sextet formerly known as the South Hadley Mandolin Orchestra is now permanently named the Sweet Mandolin Ensemble (SME)! 

We apologize for any confusion.  To explain, the group has gone through many changes as Adam Sweet has also moved his studio several times in the past six years.  But now that he's at his permanent location in Granby, it makes sense to make the name permanent as well.

Several names were put up to the vote:

  • If It Ain't Baroque - (by Keith H.), got several votes mostly for it's entertaining aspect
  • Dolce Ensemble - (by Mieko C.), got several votes
  • Sweet Mandolin Ensemble - (by Nancy K.), ultimately got the most votes
  • Mandolin New England - (by Will M.), is currently being used by the group comprised of area colleagues and members of Joshua Bell's L'Esperance Ensemble.  Even though we all liked it, it would be confusing to have both.
  • There were other suggestions that didn't get into the running, so I'll not mention them here.
To celebrate the name change and Adam's new (and final) studio location, the ensemble will be performing the World's Premiere Performance of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for 2 Mandolas by a mandolin ensemble, AND Mozart's Dissonance Quartet at Porter Phelps Museum in Hadley, Mass. on Sunday, July 28 at 2:30pm.

Adam Sweet playing "The Whale" by Mando Mo Strings
The Ensemble will be performing on several Mando Mo Strings instruments including "The Whale", a hand-carved F5-style Mandocello.  

Hope you can make it!

What is Mandolin New England?

MNE at the South Hadley Town Hall, Josh Bell Conducting
Mandolin New England (MNE) is a musical organization fostering positive mandolin experiences for all ages and backgrounds.  The group consists of a mixture of various mandolin ensembles and groups and is hosted by Adam Sweet, students and colleagues from New York, western Mass, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  

The first live performance was at the South Hadley Town Hall in January 2015, where the group performed "Jugoslavia" and the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.  

The orchestra is comprised of Adam Sweet's Sweet Mandolin Ensemble, Joshua Bell's L'Esperance Ensemble, and area colleagues.  The class is open to anyone with 5 or more years of playing experience on either bowed-string instruments (violins, violas, cellos) or mandolin-family instruments.  The class studies Classical-era (1700s) and Romantic-era (1800s) music with composers such as J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, F. Schubert and more.

The group is free to join!  We don't have regular rehearsals, but if you would like to attend the Tuesday night classical group class at Sweet Music Studio, RSVP through the website: http://sweetmusicstudio.net

Visit and "like" our Facebook page to get regular updates: https://www.facebook.com/mandolinnewengland/

Summer 2019 - Schedule & Events

climbing Mt Washington!
I will be on vacation from the last week in June through the first week in July.  I will be back on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.

Please mark your calendars!

The Summer Schedule is as follows:  Tuesday - Thursday, 5pm-9pm.  Check my schedule here for a more recent update. 
  • There will be no morning hours available until September.  
  • If you had a previously scheduled morning slot, make sure you've moved to an open slot in the evening if you still want lessons.  If the slot you wanted is not available, contact me asap to find another.
  • Several people will be traveling or vacationing this summer, so their slots will be available during the summer months.  
  • If you don't see the slot you want, contact me asap

Due to illness in the family, I will not be attending Festivals as previously planned.  

If you would like to try one of the Mando Mo instruments, contact me for a private viewing!

Events:

  • Celtic Calamity (the Thursday night Celtic group class) performing and singing Thursday June 20, 2019 at 7pm at Mill 180 Park in Easthampton
  • Granby Mandolin Ensemble (the Tuesday night Classical group class) performing Bach and Mozart on Sunday, July 28 at 2:30pm at Porter Phelps Museum in Hadley.



F5-style Mandolin from Vietnam, beautifully inlaid

I bought this beautiful mandolin on eBay a long time ago.  I don't even remember the date.  I think it might have been 2006 or 7.  The seller described it as a Vietnamese mandolin, but I suspect it was made in China.  The inlay and shell laminates are gorgeous and easily the best feature of this instrument.  Other than that, it has a nice chop (for bluegrass) and a big-warm tone, so it's perfect for a variety of styles.  I played mostly Celtic and Classical music on it.



It has a minute hairline crack in the back, which doesn't affect the sound, and two of the pegs are white.  I took it to be set up at The Luthier in Ashfield, and Mark Leue didn't have the right parts for it unfortunately.  That's easily remedied by a good luthier.

I have a custom built hard shell case that came with it, included at no extra cost.  Handling, insurance, packaging and shipping comes to an additional $50.  I take PayPal, or you can pick it up at my studio in Granby, MA and pay cash.



The Ranger, by Montana Lutherie (formerly Weber)
SRP: $555
Case: padded gig bag
Shipping & Handling: $50

This tiny little mandolin will go anywhere with you weighing less than two pounds in the case. Sporting a smaller profile than a standard mandolin, but having a standard scale/neck size, it plays like a full size mando.  The Ranger has a two-point flare giving it a larger chamber than its popular predecessor, ‘The Sweet Pea’, but it is still surprisingly quiet, perfect for hotel rooms or crowded campgrounds where people are trying to sleep!

Adam's review of the Ranger

The Ranger - A tiny quiet travel mando from Montana Lutherie






Updates & General Information

Every so often I will update my readers with studio information, event listings and other topics I feel might be relevant. 

Firstly, please come to see the Celtic Group Class Thursday,  June 20th at 7pm performing 90 minutes of music including some of our favorite sing-alongs: "The Parting Glass", Brennan on the Moor and the Gypsy Rover!  The group will be performing in the Hobbit House within The Park at Mill 180 in Easthampton, MA.  This is a free concert.  There are drinks and food at the bar, so you don't need to byob!  I hope you can come.  This will be a lot of fun. 

Secondly, put this date in your calendar: Sunday, July 28th, the Classical Group Class will be performing Bach and Mozart at the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum in Hadley.  The group will be performing the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for 2 Mandolas and continuo (a world premier!), and Mozart's "Dissonance" String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465 (also a world premier AFAWK).

Finally, Summer is almost here and that means some students go away, leaving gaps in my schedule.  The following slots will be open this week:

Tuesday 11am-12pm
Wednesday 11am-12pm, 7pm-8pm
Friday 5-6pm, 6-7pm

If you are a current student who would like to switch to another day/time, please let me know through Slack and I'll do my best to make arrangements.  If you've been thinking about taking lessons with me, now's the time to register for classes as these slots (especially the early ones) will fill up quickly.

Thank you!

My Vacation & Projects

I've had a wonderful vacation, the first real one since Richard was 4 (he's 9 now).  With all this free time, I've had time to ...