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Matt Flinner

Folk and Bluegrass Mandolin Rhythm Curriculum (9/28-12/5)






“Your courses have opened my musical mind,  focused my practice and expanded my skill far beyond expectation.”-Steve F.




“This was the best online learning experience I’ve ever had.  And, for the time and money, the best music learning experience in any format: DVD, video, group, or individual live lessons.”—Christine R.






Register for Folk and Bluegrass Mandolin Rhythm with Matt Flinner


See the Swing Mandolin Rhythm curriculum

See the Music Theory for Mandolin Players curriculum


This fall we’re offering courses focusing solely on playing rhythm—something we do probably 90% of the time when we’re playing with other people in a jam session or other group setting!  So why not learn some new approaches?  This course will help students learn ways of playing rhythm in bluegrass and folk music, with a bit of blues and “newgrass” mixed in.  Basic chord forms will be given, and the course will gradually build on these into chord inversions, double stops and melodic “fills.”  Songs will be taught in several keys to help students get more comfortable with the fretboard and gain more confidence to be able to play more effectively in jam sessions.  Each week, students will be given chord exercises and rhythm exercises along with two or more songs to practice.  Some of those exercises will be more basic, and as we go through the class session, the exercises will get more advanced.  Each week, students will be encouraged to focus on the exercises that best suit their ability level.  The goal will be to help students become more adept at playing rhythm in various keys and styles and develop a more solid sense of timing.  

The course is intended for beginning to intermediate-level students (though absolute beginners may find it too advanced as we’ll be moving through chord styles fairly quickly in the first few weeks), or to any students wanting to improve their backup playing. 

The course is also designed to challenge students who took the Rhythm Mandolin course in winter 2020; each week, exercises ranging from fairly easy to advanced will be given for students at various levels of experience.  

Classes meet every Monday at 2 pm and 9 pm eastern time (both classes are the same—the 2 pm class time is there for folks across the Atlantic and anyone else who might prefer an earlier class time!), with practice/review sessions on Saturdays at 10 am eastern time.  The weeks of November 2 and 23 are off, so there will be eight weeks of classes in 10 weeks time.  


Register here 


Here is the curriculum: 


WEEK 1 (9/28)

Reviewing open style rhythm

Open chords

Basslines between chords

Adding dynamics between phrases

Hard Times

You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away


WEEK 2 (10/5)

Barre style chords

Minor chords in a couple of styles

Bass notes as target notes

Fall on My Knees

Tennessee Waltz


WEEK 3 (10/12)

Bluegrass Chop chords in various keys

Using fills

More dynamics in rhythm playing

Moving between chord inversions

Blue Ridge Cabin Home

Way Downtown


WEEK 4 (10/19)

3-note chords 

Moving between inversions

Adding 7th chords

Freight Train

Blues Stay Away from Me


WEEK 5 (10/26)

A bit of blues rhythm

7th chords

Some double stops

Adding some more fills to your backup

Stormy Monday

Bring It on Home


WEEK 6 (11/9)

Newgrass rhythms

Syncopated rhythms 

More double stops in backup

Going between chords and double stops

White Freightliner Blues

Watermelon Man


WEEK 7 (11/16)

More advanced chord progressions

Getting smooth transitions between chords

Mixing in different chord styles

Tricky progressions in various positions

Just Because

Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone


WEEK 8 (11/30)

Putting it all together

Trying various rhythm styles: folk, bluegrass, blues and rock

Adding fills and double stops in various styles

Transposing to various keys

Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor

Trouble in Mind


The course fee is $225.

Register for Folk and Bluegrass Rhythm Mandolin with Matt Flinner



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