Portland Mandolin Lessons

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Learn the Mandolin in inner SE Portland

Topics Covered: Rhythms, chords, “chops,” bluegrass standards. Learn anything from bluegrass rhythm to metal to Arabic music on the mandolin. Improvisation in key, composition, performance, rehearsing.

Music Theory: Key signatures and sight-reading music notation for those whom wish to read; simplified and easy-to-use music theory for those who wish to rock. Playing in key. Scales, modes; chordal theory and rhythms. Intervals, and interval-related ear training.  For vocalists of any sort and age, a capella interval vocalization and creative improvisational composition is encouraged – and possible.

Material and Application: You pick the music.

Instructor notes: The mandolin is a fun instrument. Tremolo picking on the mandolin is fun in particular. The mandolin is in the lute family of instruments; modern mandolins are a variation originating in Italy. I always feel like I’m playing this song when I’m tremolo picking on the mandolin. I like also infusing Arabic intervals in melodies like this.

You Should Bring: Your mandolin, and your friends/parents. I don’t care if you bring your lesson papers back. I prefer that you know the material and leave the papers at home. When we are learning what we love, we memorize it better. That’s why students of all ages guide their own lessons.


About the Instrument: Modern mandolins generally have 4 double courses of strings, meaning, strings are grouped in two, and there are four groups. The other lute family instruments I specialize in include the Turkish saz. I also love to play the hammered dulcimer, originally a Persian instrument. The common feature of my saz, my mandolin, and my hammered dulcimer is that they all include double courses of strings; that means they’re all “Course” instruments. Other Course instruments include the 12-string guitar (I used to have one of those as well) and the baroque guitar.

Genres: Bluegrass, Arabic, Italian, Irish, Klezmer, and weird styles like heavy metal mandolin…


-Amanda Machina

squirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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One thought on “Portland Mandolin Lessons”

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A music teacher in Portland Oregon