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Matt Flinner

Swing Mandolin 101, Chord Melody for Mandolin and Waltzes for Mandolin Start 4/1-3!





“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. 



“After buying six mandolins and umpteen books…I am convinced your course is best $100 I have invested in my mandolin journey to date.  Finally, I’m getting the discpline I need with your exercises to learn scales, arpeggios, double stops, fingering techniques, learn the fretboard (the essential tools I need)…and most importantly to learn how those things fit into playing tunes.”—Rick D. 








The Bluegrass Mandolin 101 online lessons program continues this spring with three eight-week long courses in swing and jazz as well as waltzes and picking technique.  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 early June.  Show up live for the streamed sessions on Zoom or stream them later on the class website.  Or both!  


Swing Mandolin Basics with Matt Flinner                                                          Curriculum         Registration

Chord Melody Mandolin with Matt Flinner                                                         Curriculum         Registration

Waltzes for Mandolin with Matt Flinner                                                             Curriculum         Registration


The Swing Mandolin Basics course (April 1-June 8) will dive into the wonderful world of swing mandolin.  Students will learn a new swing tune (or two) each week and get pointers on how to play some basic chords and backup as well as approaches to improvising.  This course will be very much into chord voicings, scales, arpeggios and how they all relate to one another.  It’s a great way to expand your playing and musicianship (and learn some great tunes)!  

The course is recommended for advanced beginner to intermediate students, and assumes some knowledge of basic chords and the ability to play some melodies. 

Register here. 


The Chord Melody Mandolin course (April 2-June 8) is all about chords!  Chord inversions will be explored around the fretboard in various keys, and students will learn how to play melodies using those chord inversions as melodic and harmonic foundations.  Each week, two solo arrangements of swing/jazz standard tunes will be given in which the melody is played as the top note (or often passing notes) of the chord; as the melody moves, the chord inversions move accordingly, creating a full, rich sounding solo arrangement on, of all things, the mandolin.  Students will also be given tips on using these chords to accompany other soloists, as well as ways of using chord inversions and chord melody technique in improvisation.   It’s a great way to become not only a better solo mandolinist, but a much better accompanist as well!

The course is intended for intermediate to advanced level students.  

Register here.  


The Waltzes for Mandolin course (April 3-June 8) will focus (as the name implies) on waltzes for the mandolin—some of the most fun and laid-back tunes to play!  Students will be taught tunes that are quickly accessible to players of all ability levels, and they’ll also get exercises to help with fundamentals of picking, tremolo, double stops, chord positions, and various positions around the neck.

The course is intended for players at a beginner to intermediate level, or to players at any level who want to improve their tremolo skills!

Register here. 



The Swing Mandolin Basics course (April 1-June 8) course takes place on Monday evenings at 9 pm eastern time, with follow-up practice/review sessions on Saturdays at 10 am eastern time.  Students will have eight Monday class sessions (April 1, 8, 15, 29, May 6, 20, 27 and June 3) and eight Saturday follow-up practice sessions (April 6, 13, 20, May 4, 11, 25 and June 1 and 8).  All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day (in the case of Saturday practice sessions, they’re often available to view later that day). Register here.


The Chord Melody Mandolin course (April 2-June 8) 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 2, 9, 16, 30, May 14, 21, 28 and June 4, and Saturday follow-up practice sessions will take place April 6, 13, 20, May 4, 18, 25 and June 1 and 8.  All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day (in the case of Saturday practice sessions, they’re usually available to view later that day). Register here.


The Waltzes for Mandolin course (April 3-June 8) 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 (April 3, 10, 17, May 1, 13, 22, 29 and June 5) and eight Saturday follow-up practice sessions (April 6, 13, 20, May 4, 18, 25 and June 1 and 8).  The weeks of April 24 and May 8 will be off due to Matt’s tour schedule, and the Week 5 class session will take place on Monday, May 13 (also due to Matt’s tour schedule).  All live sessions are recorded and uploaded to a class website, where they are viewable generally by the following day (in the case of Saturday practice sessions, they’re often available to view later that 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.  Go ahead and register at the link, and we’ll email you an invoice for the course fee.  

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.  



Fees for the 8-week spring courses are $225 each.  



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 Swing Mandolin Basics with Matt Flinner

Register for Chord Melody Mandolin with Matt Flinner

Register for Waltzes for Mandolin with Matt Flinner

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