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Matt Flinner

Winter 2015 Appalachian Mandolin Tunes and Technique Curriculum

This course has concluded.  To view the current list of courses offered, visit the Winter Online Course page.



Register here.

This course will focus on getting students more familiar with Appalachian fiddle music and old-time songs, and help them improve their mandolin tone and technique.  Students will get pointers on how to maximize their tone, various approaches to rhythm playing and chords, making use of open strings, bits of variations as well as learning a new tune (or two) each week.  The eight online lessons will take place every Wednesday evening from January 7th to March 5th (the last lesson will be on a Thursday evening), with February 4th off due to Matt’s touring schedule.  Eight follow-up practice sessions will be held every Saturday morning from January 10th to March 7th, with February 7th being a week off.

During the live sessions, students can ask questions and/or play examples via their microphone (built-in or external plug-in), or they can ask questions via a built-in chat window.

All students will also have unlimited access to short recorded videos of all of the material played at a slow tempo, PDFs of all material in both standard notation and mandolin tablature, and mp3s of all of the tunes at slow and medium speeds that they can practice along with.  Students can access all of this material at any time through the class website, and can also download all materials (videos and class session videos included) to keep them permanently.
Students are also encouraged to submit mp3 recordings at any time during the course if they would like to, and the instructor will respond in an mp3 recording with constructive criticism.  Students can submit these mp3s either privately via email or publicly via the class website, where all students can listen and respond if they choose to.  Mp3 submissions are encouraged but not required, and there is no limit on how many mp3 submissions a student can send in.
Students will also be given a “Recommended Listening” list each week for the material covered.  A variety of versions of each tune will be provided in the hopes that students will listen to recordings and further explore the wide world of recorded bluegrass and old-time music.


1. A desktop or laptop Mac or PC computer, iPad or Internet-connected mobile device in order to view the sessions, plus a good internet connection.

2. An internal microphone and speakers on your laptop or desktop computer, or a phone to listen and speak (if desired) during the sessions.  Instructions for participating by phone are included when you register for the course (long distance charges may apply).

3. During the course, you have the option of submitting recorded examples of your playing to the instructor (and to the group, if desired). In order to do this, you will need your computer’s built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built-in ports or an external audio interface), in addition to basic audio recording software, such as Audacity or Garage Band, that will allow you to record yourself playing andsave the recording in MP3 format.

4. A mandolin (actually maybe that should have been #1).


The fee for the course is $200.  If you have questions about the course, email Matt at [email protected].


Register for Appalachian Mandolin Tunes and Technique with Matt Flinner here.

To view other mandolin courses offered this winter, click here.



WEEK 1: Getting the groove

Rhythm playing Using Open Chords

Maximizing Your Tone

Picking Exercise I

Adding Open Strings in D

Chilly Winds

Bonus Tune: Bonaparte’s Retreat


WEEK 2: Making the most of open strings in A

Picking Exercise II

Adding Some Notes in Backup Playing

Tater Patch

Bonus Tune: The Falls of Richmond


WEEK 3: Some Double Stops

Rhythm playing using double stops

Incorporating Double Stops into Your Solos

Double Stop Exercise in G


Bonus Tune: Double File


WEEK 4: Waltz Time

Tremolo Exercises

Double Stops in A

Drunkard’s Hiccups

Bonus Tune: All the Good Times Are Past and Gone


WEEK 5: Using open strings in G

Picking Exercise III

A Few Licks Thrown In

Adding Some Runs and Licks to Backup Playing

Fly Around My Pretty Little MIss

Bonus Tune: Elk River Blues


WEEK 6: Early Monroe Style

More Double Stops

“Open Style” Double Stop Exercise

My Long Journey Home

Bonus Tune: New River Train


WEEK 7: A Little Norman Blake

Adding Extra Notes to Open Chords

Minor chords and Double Stops

Walnut River

Bonus Tune: Peezlewister


WEEK 8: Tying it all together: Octaves, Double Stops, Licks and Backup

Hell Among the Yearlings

Bonus Tunes: Half Past Four

Hangman’s Reel

Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine


Questions?  Email [email protected].


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