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[26 Apr 2012 | 3 Comments | ]
Dexterity

by Marilynn Mair
 
 For my last Mandolin Sessions article I’ve decided to give your dexterity a workout. The precision of your ability to coordinate your right and left hands as they accomplish their very different tasks on the mandolin is key to your ability to play fast and clean. The accompanying exercise from my Mel Bay book, The Complete Mandolinist, works to improve this.
  To keep a line of notes going at constant speed no matter where they are located on the neck or how far your pick or left hand has …

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[17 Feb 2012 | 2 Comments | ]
Matching Hand Speeds

by Marilynn Mair
We all long to play faster and most of us need to play cleaner. Besides wishing, and simply moving up the tempo on your metronome and hoping for the best, there are many ways to work on increasing your hand speed and improving the accuracy of your coordination. This exercise is one. It’s taken from my Mel Bay method book, The Complete Mandolinst, a valuable resource that I hope you own by now. These columns give me a chance to write more on the exercises in the book, …

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[1 Feb 2012 | One Comment | ]
Transcribe Your Own Music in 11 Steps

by Nate Lee
Have you ever wanted to learn a tune or solo by your favorite picker but you just could not find a transcription? Possibly you paid a music teacher or a friend to write it for you; but why not just do it for yourself? In this day and age it is incredibly easy to slow down and learn any song. It just takes the right programs and a little practice.
The advantages of transcribing tunes on your own:

You will develop your ear and sense of relative pitch. This will …

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[1 Feb 2012 | One Comment | ]
Tackling Tough Licks: Learning it all backwards

By Ted Eschliman
The Challenge of Bebop
Bluegrass and Bebop jazz are both notorious for lightning fast tempos and blistering riffs. Learning to play accurately and with precision, the head on some of the classics of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Thelonius Monk can be a challenge, even at medium tempos, and many musicians do them an injustice by never really learning them well. This sloppiness in annoying and universally intolerable in classical music; audiences really anticipate virtual perfection.
 
Way too many amateur musicians fail to polish (even Bluegrassers), and make the …

Lessons »

[1 Dec 2011 | One Comment | ]
Minor League: Making the most of Minor Keys

By Ted Eschliman
Minor scale variations. Esoteric?
If you studied music theory or ever had to audition for an instrumental high school honor group or college program on a band or orchestra instrument, you may very well have already been introduced to three different forms of the Minor scale. It’s quite a bit more complicated than the one form of the Major scale. Yes, you lower the 3rd scale degree for that characteristic “minor-ness,” but there’s some elaborate funny business that goes on in the 6th and 7th scale degree. It’s almost …

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[1 Dec 2011 | 4 Comments | ]
Counting & Tremolo

by Marilynn Mair
Last month I gave my annual summer workshop at SummerKeys in scenic Lubec, Maine—the easternmost town in the US just over the bridge from Canada’s Campobello Island. There were mandolins, mandolas, and guitars, who all partook of private lessons, workshops, jam sessions, and the focus of it all– rehearsals and a performance of the all-school ensemble of mandolin and guitar students and faculty, known collectively as The American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra.
Students had a private lesson every day, and were asked to bring their questions and difficulties for …

Featured, Irish/Celtic, Lessons, Tunes »

[11 Oct 2011 | One Comment | ]
Beginning Irish Mandolin: The Rambling Pitchfork

by Michael Gregory
In 1996, when I was searching for an Irish mandolin mentor, my great friend Tom located a San Francisco Bay area woman, Marla Fibish, who taught me several fantastic reels and jigs.  One of these, The Drunken Landlady, was presented in my Mel Bay book http://www.melbay.com/product.asp?ProductID=21546BCD co-authored with Joe Carr.  Here I offer you another – The Rambling Pitchfork.  This is a common session tune whose title refers to an item (pitchfork) carried from farm-to-farm by a wandering (rambling) laborer in former times to indicate his desire to …

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[11 Oct 2011 | One Comment | ]
Static Changes: Beginning to See the Light

Three-note chord sequences to supercharge your comping
 
By Ted Eschliman
Three Notes. You barely need more…
In the last three Jazz Mandology articles, we’ve looked at inversions of 7th chords, using only three notes. http://www.mandolinsessions.com/?p=809 We hope their logic and simplicity have become a useful reality in your own playing, not only in your experience with “All Blues” but in other situations that call for extended bars of the same DominantV7 chord and in the last installment “vamping” patterns you can do with the Major 7 chord and a passing ii7. Again:
1.)    There …

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[2 Aug 2011 | Comments Off | ]
Simple Diatonic Triads

 by Matt Raum
  In looking for a topic for this issue’s article I turned to the analytics from my own website. There’s a great feature that allows me to see what search terms people used to find their way to my website. There have been some odd ones like “baby elephant with pint”, “good luck dont be on tension” and “what the hell is expert village”.  Whatever those people were looking for, I hope that they found an answer on my website but, by far, the most commonly searched term, …

Featured, Irish/Celtic, Lessons, Tunes »

[2 Aug 2011 | Comments Off | ]
Beginning Irish Mandolin: Padraig O’Keeffe’s Hornpipe

by Michael Gregory                                                           
  In this issue, we are featuring a true beginner’s tune called Padraig O’Keeffe’s hornpipe.  I learned it from the excellent Sliabh Notes album called Gleannt·n (pronounced gloun-TANE, the first syllable rhymes with ‘clown’ while the last syllable gets the emphasis and rhymes with the word ‘octane’). Sliabh Notes is a trio of musicians that are based the southwest of Ireland, County Kerry to be precise.  There is a short review of the cd here:
 
http://www.irishmusicreview.com/slIABH%20NOTES.htm
 
I have indicated all the recommended pickstrokes in the tab/music score and played the …