Most of my students are interested in bluegrass and/or fiddle
tunes, but I also can cover various swing, folk, and celtic
styles. I'm pretty amenable to tailoring the lessons to the
students wishes. I normally use my own books, Jack
Tuttle's Mandolin Collection volume 1 and Jack
Tuttle's Mandolin Collection volume 2.
I cover techniques such as correct hand and finger posture,
getting good tone, proper use of the pick, and reading tablature
and music (depending on the students choice). I also
work on playing by ear, both with chording and soloing. Developing
improvising skills is also a major focus for those who are
ready and willing.
In my teaching studio at Gryphon I now use an iPod in my
lessons with over 700 CDs loaded on it, so we can listen to
virtually any classic bluegrass mandolin solo. I often will
play together with the student, sometimes on mandolin, but
often accompanying on guitar. Students are encouraged to record
the lesson and I do have a cassette recorder in my room for
Go and see what I teach and emphasize on my Lessons
I have two mandolin books at my Books page.
Here is my Recommended
Mandolin Albums page.
Here is a Mandolin
Here are some Fill
Here are the Closed
Go to the Critical Listening to Bluegrass Page for
some information on fitting into a band.
Go to the Transcription Page
for a few tunes to work on.
My list of practice suggestions
has always included playing with others. Band-in-a-Box or
a similar program to play along with can help you get there.
It can also be a good "non-complaining" accompianist
for when you want to go through your fiddle tunes for hours
on end. It can also be your metronome as you try to play slow
cleanly, or get faster. It's also great for improvising over
chord progressions. If you have the Band-in-a-Box program
but don't want to take the time to enter the chords, I have
done all the work. You can download a zip file containing
the chord progressions for 161
The Torke Pick - Many of
my students want to know what pick I use. Here