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Thread: Beginner Mandolin Questions

  1. #1

    Default Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Hi everyone, this is my first post. Iím brand new to the mandolin and have a couple of questions. How effective are online lessons as opposed to in person? Iíve taken 3 in person lessons so far but have been looking into lessons on Patreon, Peghead, etc. also, Iím in Rhode Island and would like to find other instructors but Iím not sure how to go about it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User haggardphunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Welcome to the Cafe.

    I think I would recommend online lessons until you feel like it's hard to find what youre looking for.

    Some in-person lessons now could help because you have eyes/ears on your playin where he/she may point out some technique things to help out.

    and ultimately, there are better teachers than others.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Thanks for your response. I like the idea of taking on line lessons so I can pause them as necessary (which seems to be often) 😊.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    I'm doing Artistworks (online) with Mike Marshall. Check their website because they might have a Black Friday special coming up.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Thanks Ken.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    It may depend on what kind of learner you are, i.e., whether you need feedback to help correct things, and if you do, whether the timing and immediacy of that feedback matters. I have not used any other online "method" except the ArtistWorks lessons I've been using for over a year and a half (just switched from Mike Marshall to Caterina Lichtenberg). I like the concept, but I've had several different kinds of teachers on different instruments (with varying degrees of success), and the "latency" in that system might be an impediment for some, but the "key" for me was realizing that almost all the feedback I needed at the beginning was really already there by simply watching the feedback given to others who had already submitted videos for lessons I was working on. My [personal, purely IMHO] feeling is that a 3 month trial at ArtistWorks is not really long enough to develop the skills and a "rhythm" to work in that system for it to pay off. If you do pick that method, you really need to commit to working through all of the beginner material, whether you submit or not, to avoid getting feedback that is exactly the same as the dozens of others that came before you . Good luck.
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    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    I did a year of taped online lessons with the Online Academy of a Irish Music before finding a live online teacher. I think it was time well spent. I got familiar with the instrument, could rewind over and over and it was available at any time and everyday. I think it’s good prep time for live in person lessons which can be a little intimidating to a novice

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    I’ve been playing mandolin for a year, now. I’ve done several online workshops (Matt Flinner, Tim Connell, et al.) and they’re wonderful but there are nuances in playing that are hard to convey in Zoom. I like at least some one-on-one, in person lessons in order to refine hand positions, posture and so on. YMMV
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  11. #9

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Thanks guys. After reading some of the comments I'm leaning towards online learning. I like the idea of revisiting lessons often. I need a lot of repetition that I can't get with in-person learning. Since I'm new to the mandolin and the cafe I'm not familiar with Artistworks. I will definitely be checking them out. By the way, I'm learning on an Eastman MD-505 that I purchased a few weeks ago. I'm self taught on the guitar, playing for many, many years and was looking for something different.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Great choice on a first mandolin, and welcome to the cafe. I think you can get a lot of mileage from online learning.
    Also check out the Newbies social group, we’re a friendly bunch

  13. #11
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Combining online lessons with the occasional in person lesson is a good approach, as long as the in person instructor you're seeing is actually a mandolin player rather than a guitar instructor who advertises that they also teach "ukulele, mandolin etc." Not saying that there aren't guitar instructors out there who are also highly skilled at playing the mandolin but it can be common for some instructors to add the mandolin to their teaching arsenal and approach it as if it was just a little guitar, not ideal from the perspective of building a strong foundation to learn from. Some online learning platforms (like Artistworks) give you the opportunity to submit video to the instructor for review, which is invaluable - that way you get feedback on your mechanics so that you don't end up engraining poor playing habits that will end up needing to be undone later on down the line. Your off to a good start with your Eastman 505, a playable first instrument makes all the difference - you'll get a lot of mileage out of that and it won't hold you back in your learning journey.
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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    The Eastman 505 is a nice mandolin

  15. #13
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Iíve only been playing a short while, relying on method books and the occasional YouTube video. I plan to start in person lessons sometime in January.

  16. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Some msg depend on what kind of music you might like to play. You do have one of the best mandolin orchestras in the US in RI: The Providence Mandolin Orchestra. For instructors you could contact them and see who they can refer you to.
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  17. #15

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Thatís interesting, Iíll have to check them out.

  18. #16

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    I'm personally a fan of in-person lessons to start, but as others have suggested, that has more to do with what kind of learner I am rather than any inherent statement about which is better. I have found online lessons to be a valuable supplement as I have advanced in my playing. I suspect I will continue to toggle back and forth.

    I'll mention one advantage of in-person that I have experienced, which is that my in-person group classes have helped me develop connections and given me an opportunity to play with other people (not as much as I want or need, but still something).

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    What would make a person start wanting to play the mandolin? Oh wait...

    For online, I have to go with Peghead Nation, just seems a lot more laid back than Artist Works, but you can watch individual lessons as many times as you like and in what ever order you prefer. On the other hand seems like maybe Artist works has more downloadable material.

    Also I see Matt Flinner has some fall classes starting, but those are generally live video (with replay) in a group.
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  20. #18
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    I love video lessons when I'm learning in large part because you can pause, slow down, and repeat parts as needed. Huge help. Plus, you have access to all your materials (sheet music etc) which is nice. But, there are things that are much easier to learn from an in person teacher that are very important - like hand position etc.

    In my experience video lessons (zoom or otherwise) only work if

    1. The student can take direction over video - especially when it comes to hand positions. This can be hard with folks brand new to mandolin (especially if they don't have experience on another fretted instrument).
    2. The student doesn't need to "jam" with the instructor. When learning songs/tunes you need to have some type of backing track to play against - Strum Machine is great for this but there's a lot of other options (like Grass Trax and YouTube). This can be tricky for some students at first.
    3. The student has to be okay taking and sending videos of their playing (and the instructor or site needs to provide a way to exchange videos). Live playing is great, but it can be hard online due to latency issues. Recording videos and sending them back and forth is super helpful for this (and for replaying later). Artist Works and others allow you to do this - but you need to take advantage of it as often as you can.

    If you can handle that, then starting with video lessons either from a private teacher or from a site like Artist Works, Peg Head Nation and others would be fine.

    IMO, if you can take lessons in person from a teacher nearby and you're brand new to the instrument, I would start there and focus on mechanics (proper hand position, changing chords in a progression, learning a few songs/tunes etc). Once you have the basic mechanics down, it's a lot easier to make the most use of video lessons without accidentally reinforcing bad habits (like the death grip or etc).

    Outside of that - go to your local jams if possible. You'll learn stuff there you can't learn with a teacher alone.
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  22. #19

    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    All good information, thank you so much for your replies.

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    Default Re: Beginner Mandolin Questions

    Nate Lee just moved to RI, I'm pretty sure he's still taking students. "Playnately" on FB..

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