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Matt Flinner

Music Theory for Mandolin Players Curriculum (10/4-12/2)


“Thanks for the terrific class! I had my mandolin lurking in the corner for 9 months before I took this class. I played with it now and then but felt out of my depth, having only played piano in the past. A few weeks into your class, I couldn’t put down my mandolin, practicing far more than my kids want me to. In addition to the wonderful tunes we learned in class, I started to pick out other melodies like Christmas carols, simple gifts, harry potter, star wars; anything I hear I want to find it on the mandolin.”—Randy R.





“Your classes are the best and most successful learning approach for me, Thank you.”—-Eric B.  







Register for Music Theory for Mandolin Players 


See the Early Country Mandolin curriculum (10/2-12/9)

See the McReynolds Style Mandolin curriculum (10/3-12/9)



Welcome to the Music Theory for Mandolin Players online course!  This course is intended to help students learn more about the mandolin fretboard and learn some music theory along they way as they progress through a series of exercises week by week.  Students will be given a mix of scale, arpeggio, chord, transposition and ear training exercises each week to help them find their way around the fretboard in various keys.  We’ll also do a bit of musical analysis on some familiar melodies and chord progressions from the songs of the Beatles—a band that had a remarkable variety in melody and chord writing that ranged from simple to complex to sublime.  Students at all levels are encouraged to participate, though the course will likely be most beneficial to students at an upper beginner to higher intermediate level. 

Class sessions meet every Wednesday evening from October 4th to November 29th at 9 pm eastern time, and practice/review sessions meet every Saturday from October 7th to December 2nd at 12:30 pm eastern time.  The week of November 22nd will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Students are encouraged to attend the live sessions to be able to interact more directly with the instructor, but live attendance is NOT required.  Students will be able to view the recordings of all of the sessions any time afterward as often as they want through the class website.

Students are encouraged to prioritize certain exercises according to their ability level, and are given the option of adding to many of the exercises in order to further challenge themselves if they wish to.  Part of the intent of the course is to challenge students at a variety of levels, and to help students advance their playing, learn new musical ideas and have more fun playing the mandolin regardless of their ability level.



Register for Music Theory for Mandolin Players



WEEK 1 (10/4)

Major Scales

Numbering notes in the scale

Transposing melodies

Chord study #1 

I-IV-V Progressions 

Melodic exercise I: Yellow Submarine


WEEK 2 (10/11)

Minor Scales

Chord study #2

Ear training exercise #1

Scale exercise I

Melodic Exercise II: Girl


WEEK 3 (10/18)


Diatonic chord exercise

Closed position scales

Scale Exercise II

Chord study #3

Melodic Exercise III: If I Fell


WEEK 4 (10/25)

Chord Inversions

Chord tones as melodic devices

Chord tones as improv devices

Arpeggio Exercise I

Melodic Exercise IV and analysis: Blackbird


WEEK 5 (11/1)

Interval studies

Double stops as chord tones

Ear training exercise #2

Scale Exercise III

Arpeggio Exercise II

Melodic Exercise V: It’s Only Love


WEEK 6 (11/8)

Dominant 7 chords

Types of cadences

Voice leading in cadences

Secondary dominants

Ear training exercise #3

Melodic Exercise VI: Maxwell’s Silver Hammer


WEEK 7 (11/15)


Common tones in chords

Chord exercise #3 (using common tones to find chords)

Scale Exercise III

Arpeggio Exercise III

Melodic Exercise VII: All You Need Is Love


WEEK 8 (11/29)


More with modulation

Scale and arpeggio review

Ear Training Exercise #4

Melodic Exercise VIII: Martha My Dear


The course fee is $225.  

Register here.

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