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Matt Flinner

Octave Mandolin, New Acoustic Mandolin and Mandolin Fundamentals Start 4/4-6!



“Your method, approach, pace and materials are the best I’ve seen in my years of perpetual learning.”—Jim H.


“Matt is a brilliant teacher. Every course is deep and rich with information. The material is thoughtfully explained, allowing a student to slowly transform the class material into music. I can’t imagine this journey without Matt Flinner.  His courses are a true life changing musical experience!”—Lisa S.



“Your course was exactly what I have been looking for.  It was well structured with a ton of good material.  I like that fact that we were given tunes to learn but also tools that allows me expand the lessons beyond the course tunes to others that I already know.”—Todd M.






The Bluegrass Mandolin 101 online lessons program continues in spring of 2022 with three brand new eight-week long courses covering a wide range, from fundamental technique to modern “New Acoustic” music to the rare but wonderful octave mandolin.   Courses for a variety of levels from advanced beginner to intermediate to advanced students will be offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with follow-up practice sessions on Saturdays from early April through late May/early June.  Show up live for the streamed sessions on Zoom or stream them later on the class website.  Or both!



Octave Mandolin Techniques with Matt Flinner              Curriculum                  Registration

New Acoustic Mandolin with Matt Flinner                 Curriculum                  Registration

Mandolin Fundamentals with Matt Flinner               Curriculum                  Registration 



Octave Mandolin Techniques with Matt Flinner (April 4-June 11): This course will explore the wonders of that rare but fun-to-play instrument, the octave mandolin.  This course will teach students how to play backup in various keys plus lead on fiddle tunes, folk melodies, Irish tunes and more.  Hints on how to get around on this bigger instrument will help students play melodies and backup with more facility and flexibility.  Exercises will be given at a variety of levels each week, and students will be encouraged to focus on the exercises and/or tunes that are best suited to their level.  Students do not necessarily need to have an octave mandolin to take the course; all exercises and tunes can be played on a regular mandolin (though the fingering will be a bit different).  

The course is intended for students of all ability levels who are interested in learning the octave mandolin; however, absolute beginners will likely find it too difficult.  Knowledge of basic rhythm playing and chords, plus some melodies (especially fiddle tunes) is a must.  

Register here


New Acoustic Mandolin with Matt Flinner (April 5-June 11). This course will explore modern string band music—an outgrowth of various American roots musics including bluegrass, jazz and old-time music as well as rock and roll, blues and funk. This course will teach students a wide variety of rhythm patterns for both lead and backup playing, explore the fretboard with various chord forms and exercises in jazz harmony, and look at improvisation in a variety of musical contexts and styles.  Along the way, students will learn several tunes and get tips on how to solo and play backup on them.  

The course is intended for intermediate to advanced level students.  

Register here.  


The Mandolin Fundamentals with Matt Flinner course is intended to help students improve their technique in both the right and left hand, and to give students a more solid understanding of the fretboard while getting ideas of the “tools” used in soloing and rhythm playing.  Each week, students will be given a handful of exercises in the areas of picking technique, fingering technique, scales, arpeggios, chords, double stops and tremolo.  We’ll also look at a tune each week—from old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, classical or the Beatles—and try applying concepts from the exercises to them.  The goal is to help students play with more ease and better tone, and to get ideas to help them advance more quickly and have more fun playing with others. 

This course is intended for students at any level who want to improve their skills, though absolute beginners will likely find it too difficult.  Knowledge of some fiddle tunes and basic chords and rhythm playing is a must!

Register here. 


Register for Octave Mandolin Techniques with Matt Flinner

Register for New Acoustic Mandolin with Matt Flinner

Register for Mandolin Fundamentals with Matt Flinner




The Octave Mandolin Techniques course (April 4-June 11) course takes place on Monday evenings at 9 pm eastern time.  We’ll also have practice/review sessions on Saturdays at 10 am eastern time.  Students will have eight Monday class sessions class sessions which will take place April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 3 (on a Tuesday due to a family event), May 16, 23 and 30, and Saturday follow-up practice sessions will take place April 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 21, 28 and June 11.   All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day.  Register here.


The New Acoustic Mandolin course (April 5-June 11) meets on Tuesday afternoons and evenings at 2 pm and 9 pm eastern time, with follow-up practice sessions Saturday mornings at 11 am eastern time.  NOTE: Tuesday afternoon sessions take place at 2 pm eastern time—a more convenient time for our friends in the UK and Europe!  2 pm eastern time translates to 7 or 8 pm in the UK and most of Europe.   Students are welcome to join in on either or both of the Tuesday sessions each week (they will be essentially identical to one another in content).  Tuesday class sessions will take place April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 4 (on a Wednesday due to a family event), May 17, 24 and 31, and Saturday follow-up practice sessions will take place April 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 21, 28 and June 11.  All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day. Register here.


The Mandolin Fundamentals course (April 6-May 28) meets on Wednesday evenings at 9 pm eastern time, with follow-up practice sessions Saturdays at 12:30 pm eastern time.  Students will have eight Wednesday class sessions which will take place April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 5 (on a Thursday due to a family event), May 10 (on a Tuesday due to Matt’s tour schedule), 18, 25, and Saturday follow-up practice sessions will take place April 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21 and 28.  All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day. Register here.


ALL class materials (PDFs, practice mp3s, short practice videos and class session videos) are available for students to download and keep for future use.  


The course fee for each course is $225. 


All students access to the live sessions as well as all materials (PDFs, mp3s, practice videos and class session videos), which they can download for future use.  


Here’s a little more info about the Bluegrass Mandolin 101 online experience that I hope will give you a good idea of how the program works.



Matt Flinner started the Bluegrass Mandolin 101 program in the fall of 2013.  Along the way, the program has helped hundreds of students improve their mandolin playing in a wide variety of styles.  The program offers a unique approach to online mandolin lessons that gives students the best of both live lessons as well as recorded mandolin instructional videos, audio recordings and written materials.  The courses focus on helping mandolin students get to the next level in their playing and broaden their understanding of a variety of American musical traditions. 



Part of what makes the Bluegrass Mandolin 101 program unique is the fact that students follow a step-by-step program of live lessons over a four or eight week course.  The courses follow a carefully planned curriculum in the given style or area of technique, and the live lessons get a little more challenging each week as the course progresses.  Classes meet twice per week: on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening, depending on the course, and on Saturday morning/afternoon, when students can join a follow-up practice session to review that week’s material.  Students can view the live lessons via their computer, iPad or smart phone.  Students are encouraged to ask questions during the class sessions via a chat window and/or their external or built-in microphone (this microphone is muted unless the student requests to use it).  And students do not need a webcam.  

All live sessions are also recorded so that students can review them any time if they are unable to make it to the live sessions; this also gives students the added convenience of going through the material as many times as they want to.  Students are given access to a private class website where they can find these recorded sessions and they can also view and download all PDFs of the materials and several practice mp3s of that week’s song(s) recorded at various tempos.  Students will also be given download links for all class videos so that they can view them offline at their convenience on into the future.  In essence, all materials from the course are for the students to keep.  

One aspect of the live class schedule that makes the program so effective is that students are generally more encouraged to practice in order to keep up with the schedule.  Students are given a list of suggested priorities each week, depending on their ability level and amount of practice time, and all material is then reviewed in the Saturday practice session so that students get another chance to run through it with the instructor.  Just by showing up, students will run through the material twice each week—for many of us, that’s already an improvement!  



All live sessions are interactive; students can ask questions and/or demonstrate tunes or exercises via live microphone or telephone, or via a chat window (most students opt for this approach).  The instructor is able to immediately respond and demonstrate the answers for the whole class.  Another form of interaction comes via mp3 recordings; students can record mp3s on their own time of themselves playing the material (or anything else they want to send in) and send it to the instructor for feedback, which is also recorded in mp3 form and sent back to the student.  Students can post their mp3s on the class site (and likely get encouraging feedback from other students in addition to the instructor) or email them privately to the instructor.



That is completely up to the student.  While, say, 30 minutes per day might be a good recommendation for practice time, students can make whatever they choose of this course based on their own schedule and aspirations.  Practicing week to week (again, say 30 minutes per day) will help students keep up with the week’s lessons and concepts, but the instructor knows that people have busy lives!  This is why all instructional material is archived and available for download so that students can learn on their own time after the course has finished as well as during the eight weeks of classes.  However, one advantage to the four-week scheduled course is that by practicing at least somewhat regularly, students are more able to be prepared for the following week’s lessons and therefore take full advantage of the live and recorded mix of lesson material.

Students can decide whether to practice along with the class session or with the shorter individual videos (or both), depending on what they want to focus on for that week.  Material is given each week that is targeted toward various ability levels; a song is given which is playable for beginning to intermediate players (or intermediate to advanced, depending on the course), and various concepts relating to that song are also given to educate and challenge players at beginning, intermediate and even advanced levels.  The student essentially decides how much they want to take on for the week (and the course) based on their ability level and how much practice time they have.  Any material they were unable to get to during the week and want to revisit later will be available in the archived videos and PDFs.  The instructor will also give students a recommended list of priorities each week to help students take the best advantage of their practice time.



This is the virtual gathering place for the courses, where students can view the instructional videos, view and/or download all written materials, listen to mp3s of Matt playing the tunes, get listening recommendations, ask questions, submit their own mp3s for feedback and generate forum discussions.  It’s a great place to drop by any time and explore, learn and discuss.  



The course fee is $225 for each course.  


If you have questions about any of the courses, email Matt at [email protected]



Here are a few quotes from some past students about their experiences in the Bluegrass Mandolin 101 program:

“I’ve participated in many online learning programs, but so far, your format is the best I’ve ever seen. I am so pleased I happened upon your courses.”—Gina M.

“I’ve practiced more in two weeks than I have in months!  Really enjoying how it’s going.”—Donna O.

“I have to say that making everything available online is a great convenience for me. Being able to stop and return to a more challenging exercise or a newer phrase is great for learning. I also really appreciate your availability to answer questions offline. This is a great course, and I feel as though I’m improving daily because of it.”—Joe C.

“The level was perfect. Mentally I understand many things that have opened up the fingerboard a lot; now I need some quality time to get it under my hands. I found things challenging without feeling out of reach.”—Stan M.

“I’m really enjoying the course. The first time I’ve actually practiced an instrument in my 60 years!”—Skip H.



To visit the registration pages, click one of these links:



Register for Octave Mandolin Techniques with Matt Flinner

Register for New Acoustic Mandolin with Matt Flinner

Register for Mandolin Fundamentals with Matt Flinner



View curricula for each course here:

Octave Mandolin Techniques with Matt Flinner Curriculum

New Acoustic Mandolin with Matt Flinner Curriculum

Mandolin Fundamentals with Matt Flinner Curriculum

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