New to teaching mandolin

  1. Daniel Nestlerode
    Daniel Nestlerode
    Hey folks,
    I'm new to teaching mandolin, in fact, I'm starting in July. I'm not new to teaching in general (I teach History at Columbia College in Sonora CA), so I have some experience I can generalize.

    But I am wondering what you all wish you had known about teaching music in general or mandolin specifically when you first started out.

    Thanks for your wisdom!
  2. Jon Hall
    Jon Hall

    I've taught a few students off and on for many years but only began teaching in earnest about 14 months a go. I teach 19 guitar students and 2 mandolin students at a local music store. The mandolin students are going real well but I have 2 or 3 guitar students, in the 12 - 17 yr range, that I'm uncertain about what kind of songs I can teach them that they will be interested in. A student's enjoyment is really key to them applying themselves and sticking with it. Do you or any other members have some song suggestions for beginners in the early - mid teens?
  3. Daniel Nestlerode
    Daniel Nestlerode
    I have 2 thoughts about this.
    1) Ask them what they'd like to know.
    2) They may not know, and they may be very open to your suggestions. Pick youngish bands.

  4. Mike Bunting
    You teach history at college, do you ask those students what they want to learn? On first meeting prospective students, I explain what and how I teach and my expectations of them as students, and if it doesn't suit them they don't sign on. I want them to understand that there is no magic method in learning, that it takes work and they have to be willing to put forth the effort. It may sound harsh but I don't demand that they practice 2 hours a day or anything like that but that they (or we) figure out a practical schedule and they stick to it in a reasonable fashion. I've had too many students who only picked up their mando when they had their lesson which told me they weren't serious enough. Needless to say, I don't teach them any more.
  5. ELSOL102
    There is a guitar teacher online who has a great can read about him at He lists a bunch of song he suggests, but he teaches them songs they like, and he makes it fun...His philosophy is to hook them in to love the instrument first, and don't give them the circle of fifths right away. I think this makes a lot of sense. If the learning process is not fun, they won't stick with it. Of course it is a lot of work, but make it fun, and they will really work at it. This guy has a lot of guitar students, and he sells a book online for $30 about his teaching philosophy. He has song suggestions for different ages and levels, and some of this material is available to peruse. His philosophy would apply to the mandolin or any instrument. He teaches very young children by letting them play songs on one or two strings...before their hands are strong enough to play chords...he has some videos of their recitals and it looks really good. I wish I had him for a music teacher; he's on the west coast.
    As a child I took piano lessons for 2 years and never stuck with it because I never got to play anything I liked and it was not fun. Something to think about.
  6. ELSOL102
    Here is a video of a 5 year old child playing blues...improvising on one string, on the stage with his teacher at his recital.....
    also another one
    These kids look like they are having fun...their hands aren't big/strong enough to play like an adult yet
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