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Thread: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

  1. #1

    Question Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Hi everyone
    I'm french, I plan to go to US and I'm looking for mandolin lessons. It's a huge country so I'm looking for recommendations about best places to go. I would love to go to Louisiana for the music history there even if it's not the best place for mandolin, but I'm also open to go to other places. I'm interested by bluegrass music but particulary jazz. I'm wondering what kinds of teaching exist in USA. I guess there are maybe like in France public or private schools, or private teachers and if there is any advantages in one of them because I'm also unfortunately wondering about the costs.
    I know that's a broad question but I'm starting in my research. Thanks in advance for your answers!

  2. #2
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Good luck, lots of great places to go to.

    One bit of advice is that people are generally very friendly and open, but at the same really don’t appreciate intrusions on their private lives.
    Lucky if they just call the cops. But as I said, they’re generally very friendly, generous and forgiving.

    What about chicago? If you do a search here on the site, you’ll find schools too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Not knowing your schedule or budget it is difficult to answer your question. If you are here for a summer and have budget for it there are a number of music camps, which are week long immersions into music. Kaufmann Kamp is the best known, and has top tier mandolin instructors and classes geared to all levels. There are several other camps out there as well.

    As far as places to go, unless you have several months or a year you should probably narrow down choices to a region so you do not get overwhelmed. I have lived here over sixty years and have not yet visited all of the states.

  4. #4
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Nashville is a great place for mandolin related stuff. If you have to pick a single spot to go, I'd recommend going there and hitting up some retail shops like Grunh and Carters. They have tons of great mandolins you can play around with and the people are really nice. It's not that rare to run into some top tier musicians at those shops either. Also, the museums are wonderful and really well put together - lots of mandolin related stuff every time I've gone. The main strip is fun, but it's a tourist trap of top 40 songs and watered down drinks haha. The Station Inn is an amazing spot for live music though. Finding a teacher there should be really easy - lots of top tier players.

    Seattle has a lot of bluegrass music and open jams. There's a bluegrass festival in July (the weekend of the 14th I believe) that should be fun too. I live here, so happy to help if you're in town - but there's also tons of amazing musicians nearby (David Grisman isn't far haha).

    Colorado around Denver, Boulder, Fort Colins, and a few other places has a great music scene and a lot of the top jam grass bands live there too. A good buddy of mine Josh Bergman lives in Denver I believe - he hosts a few jams out there and teaches.

    Generally though, anywhere there's good bluegrass music, there will be good mandolin teachers. Look up some festivals that are happening around when you come in - those can help you find "hotspots" that have the type of music you want. Also where your favorite musicians are playing can help narrow your search too - fans of the music you like probably like playing that music too haha

    Good luck!!
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    If you decide to come to Tennessee, I have 30 years of teaching experience, and a background in many styles of music.

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  7. #6
    Registered User Captain Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    If you are gonna be in Missouri, go by The Acoustic Shoppe in Springfield. That is where I am buying my next mandolin. They are super friendly, super helpful. Ask for Tyler.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kirk View Post
    If you are gonna be in Missouri, go by The Acoustic Shoppe in Springfield. That is where I am buying my next mandolin. They are super friendly, super helpful. Ask for Tyler.
    Thanks for the advice, I keep it in mind if Springfield is on my way

  9. #8

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    That's interesting thank you, I'll remember you if I go there

  10. #9

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Woaw that's a lot of interesting informations thank you very much!!

  11. #10

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Hi, thanks for the advices. I think I might be coming around the end of august or september I hope. And woud like to stay as long as possible (at least several months), maybe find a job, it will depend on what is possible with visa issues. I don't have the budget for camps unfortunately even if I'm interested, maybe I'll find a way to do one one day

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the advices Chicago sounds like a nice city to visit at least for music, I'll remember!

  12. #11

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Many of the camps and festivals are a little bit expensive. Here is one option.

    The Walnut Valley Festival September 14-18, 2022
    is a good experience. It is 5 days of bluegrass (no jazz) and Americana music. You can
    buy the 5 day ticket for $100. It would put you in a crowd of enthusiastic musicians. It
    isn't lessons, but a way to get some good memories.

    Big cities tend to be expensive places to stay. My suggestion is you stay out of Chicago
    and most other big cities and resorts unless there is some place you especially want to
    visit (like Nashville). Don't you have big cities near home?

    One exception might be if you want to buy an instrument. We have a website called
    "craigslist.org". In larger markets you can probably find a used Asian mandolin for
    around $100 and a guitar around $150-$200. Search the cities you plan to fly through.
    That might be cheaper than paying international baggage fees for bringing an instrument
    on a trans Atlantic flight.

    We have plenty of jobs for people who want to work. Real companies will not hire
    unless you have the right to work in this country. Check on the visa rules. You may
    need some special permission. Make that your priority.

    That is my suggestion. I hope it all works out for you.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

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  14. #12

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Hi Sophie. I live in France now but lived in Chicago for many years before moving here. Could you provide some more details? Are you an intermediate or experienced player looking for direction or just starting or maybe have switched to mandolin from another instrument orÖ? Iím curious too about your budget. Iíll make my plug for Chicago in that it is the most accessible of the largest American cities, being the cheapest (and cheaper than a lot of smaller cities) and with a very developed (if imperfect) 24 hour public transit system. I assume with your budget concerns you wonít have access to a car, which will severely limit your experience in most places. Chicago has the cultural offerings of a global city and an extremely developed music scene, and you will find what you are looking for. Don Stiernberg offers lessons and you can even take the train to his house! (if you want jazz mandolin). The old time scene is very active, and there is a more bluegrass oriented offering at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The scene isnít as specialized as Nashville or Boston, but I think you can take advantage of more. I say this as a mandolin player with diverse interests who had no money and no car for years.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Hi thanks for all of your advices. I play mandolin since a bit more than a year but I play music since I'm a child (violin, accordion, a bit of piano) I'm 33 now. I have very poor experience playing with people, I can improvise a bit, I think I have a quite good ear but miss experience. I just know now I want to work my instrument, the rest is a surprise. I didn't know Don Stiernberg lived in Chicago and offers lessons there, thanks. And I feel attracted to old time scene as well.

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    We have a wonderful old time scene in SW Wisconsin. A lot of good musicians have moved here because of the amount of good musicians. We have lot's of live music, square dances, and jam sessions. The area around Viroqua, and many of the small towns around. It is in the Driftless, so also very beautiful, with many small rivers and the Mississippi River only a few minutes drive.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  18. #15

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    We have a wonderful old time scene in SW Wisconsin. A lot of good musicians have moved here because of the amount of good musicians. We have lot's of live music, square dances, and jam sessions. The area around Viroqua, and many of the small towns around. It is in the Driftless, so also very beautiful, with many small rivers and the Mississippi River only a few minutes drive.
    It sounds great thanks

  19. #16
    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    We have a wonderful old time scene in SW Wisconsin. A lot of good musicians have moved here because of the amount of good musicians. We have lot's of live music, square dances, and jam sessions. The area around Viroqua, and many of the small towns around. It is in the Driftless, so also very beautiful, with many small rivers and the Mississippi River only a few minutes drive.
    Pops1
    Iíve been visiting Viroqua for years fly fishing. Often staying at the Hickory Hill, above the fly shop or at the campgrounds in Avalanche or Osofea. I havenít taken in any local music. This Fall Iíve rented an apartment in town for a month with the goal to have a bit of a sabbatical. I intend to fly fish and play the mandolin to sample what retirement or a second home in Viroqua might be like. Iíve only been playing since the pandemic and only play Irish Trad. I donít have any experience playing with others but would like to try it under the right conditions ó a beginners slow jam?
    Anyway, whether for simply listening or maybe playing with others, could you give me some direction. Where does one find these events. Iím a little surprised at myself that Iíve never been to the little music store in town

    Sorry if this is a hijack of the thread. But could help out SophieD, too

    Ed

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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Ed, If you listen to WDRT, the little community radio station in Viroqua, they have a calendar a few times a day. One time is at 1pm. If you are coming to the area PM me and i can help you find something. If nothing else I play on a river cruise every Saturday out of Marquette, Ia. There is an Irish jam, but it's not slow, would be a good listen tho.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  22. #18

    Default Re: Recommendation for mandolin lessons in USA

    Also just to note, the area of southwest Wisconsin, far northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota is absolutely beautiful, with high bluffs and gorges full of meandering scenic rivers and streams. It is known as the Driftless Region because it escaped the last several glacier advances. It is rugged and very pretty. There are no really large cities, just a lot of nice, quaint small towns full of shops and small restaurants and taverns but it is not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. During apple picking season it gets a lot of visitors to the orchards and Wisconsin is known for its cheeses and dairy products.

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