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I teach private lessons on mandolin and mandola, in person (in Marin County, CA) and over Skype/Zoom/FaceTime, a well as group classes and workshops, online at Peghead Nation, and at many music camps. Details on upcoming workshops, camps and class offerings are below, or drop me a line for more info at email@example.com.
A bit about my approach to teaching, and how I get beginners started:
Group classes are a fantastic way to learn more tunes
and grow confidence, while developing a group of compatriots who know
the same tunes you do! We cluster tunes into sets so that you'll have
some ready to go when someone invites you to start a tune at a session.
We work on developing skills as well as learning tunes - we do
exercises together to develop a strong rhythmic right hand, as well as
to develop left hand patternings and fretboard knowledge.
During our continuing Covid-19 situation, all classes are over Zoom!
Though I have taught 1:1 over the web for years, it is only since the pandemic that I've held online classes. To my surprise I've learned that, though it's different and has it drawbacks, it also has a few distinct advantages -- participants really enjoy having the privacy to work on phrases or techniques during class without anyone hearing them, and you never have trouble hearing yourself because the person next to you is too loud! You also get plenty of practice time while others are playing for me, and the chance to hear your classmates individually has proved helpful and enlightening in surprising ways!
Here's how I've been structuring the classes:
Spring 2022 CLASS SCHEDULE (see below for descriptions of levels)
INTERMEDIATE (two sections):
Class GUAVA - Saturdays 1:30-2:45 Pacific TimeClass PAPAYA will meet Mondays 5:00-6:15PM Pacific Time
Class Dates: March 26, April 9 & 23, May 7 & 21
Class PERSIMMON - Tuesdays 4:30 - 5:45 Pacific Time
Class Dates: March 15 & 29, April 12 & 26, May 10
ADV. INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED (three sections):
Class Dates: March 21, April 4 & 18, May 2 & 16
If you are interested in joining a class, shoot me an email at mfibish @ gmail dot com. If you don't see a class below that addresses your skill level or interests, or want to talk about which environment might be best for you, let me know, and we'll figure out a path for you. Please include the following info in your email:
Descriptions of class levels:
This class focuses on the basics of getting started on the mandolin, laying the foundation for learning to play Irish music on the instrument (techniques learned would also apply to interest in other trad forms -- Old Time, European, etc., but not bluegrass or classical music). Emphasis is placed on exercises that develop fretting hand placement, dexterity and pattern recognition, while building on a solid rhythmic picking hand technique, and (of course!) learning a few tunes.
This class focuses on building basic technique for playing Irish music on the mandolin. We continue to work with exercises to get both right and left hand working for playing tunes. Participants will learn 6-8 tunes in the course of the series. Tunes are learned in sets to facilitate session playing. Recordings and transcriptions of the tunes are made available ahead of the class meetings.
Advanced Intermediate / Advanced
This class focuses on Irish tune repertoire building while expanding mandolin technique to add ornamentation and variation to your tunes, with focus on phrasing and musicality. Participants will learn 6-8 tunes in the course of the series. Tunes are learned in sets to facilitate session playing. Recordings and transcriptions of the tunes are made available ahead of the class meetings.
Weekend Intensive Workshops 2022!
April 29 - May 1
May 13 - 15
This optimist is going to bring back the weekend workshops this year! These are a great opportunity for remote students to get in-person attention in the company of a small group of players looking to take their playing to the next level, and have some fun in the process! I hold these at my home in Marin County, California, and will restrict participation to those who are fully vaccinated and boosted according to the current guidelines at the time of the workshops. Of course, should conditions at the time make such a gathering unwise, we'll have to postpone or decide to do it online. No-one will be on the hook for any payment, should this be the case. Deposits will be refunded in full.
Please contact me with interest or any questions - firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's how I structure the workshops:
* 7 group classes (75 minutes each) over two days
* A 30-minute private lesson for each participant
* Lunch, coffee, tea, and snacks on both days are included
* Friday and Saturday night sessions
* Price: $230
We gather on Friday evening for a session, followed by two full days of instruction on Saturday and Sunday.
Classes focus on understanding and developing techniques for playing the many forms of Irish dance music on the mandolin - jigs, reels, slip jigs, hop jigs, polkas, slides, hornpipes, waltzes and barndances. Recordings of tunes will be provided in advance so that we can focus on technique rather than on tune-learning.
Develop the necessary skills for playing Irish music on the mandolin...
Explore phrasing, ornamentation and variation...
Enrollment is be limited to 9 participants - intermediate level and above.
2022 Camps and Workshops!
So much is still in the planning stages, but a few things are confirmed, and more and more things will be solidifying in the coming weeks. We're still in hybrid mode -- a combination of in-person and virtual events. Many folks are finding virtual immersion experiences can still be highly gratifying, and make workshops accessible when they may not have been before due to schedules and the difficulty and expense of travel! Each workshop or camp is always a completely different musical experience - each wonderful in different ways. There is nothing like immersion in a music camp environment to really get you fired up about your music! Please check out my events page for more info about each camp and workshop...and sign up early!
Confirmed for 2022 so far -- details and links coming soon -- just planting the seeds here... :-)
Virtual Lark February 4-6 virtual
Fiddle Hell Online April 7-10 virtual
Mandolin World Retreat (guest instructor) March 18-20 in person Benicia, CA
CCÉ North America Convention April 21-24 in person San Francisco, CA
Gulf Coast Cruinniú June 10-12 in person Houston, TX
CCÉ MAD Week July 18 - 22 in person Baltimore, MD
Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Week 3 August 14-19 in person Port Orchard, WA
Portal Irish Music Week Sept 22-26 in person Kingston, NM
SW Mandolin Camp Oct. 27-30 in person Kingston, NM
Here is what happened in 2021despite it all!
March Mandolin Festival May 15-16, 2021 *virtual*
Big Sur Fiddle Camp June 12-19, 2021 in person!
Gulf Coast Cruinniú June 18-20, 2021 *virtual*
California Coast Music Camp July 11-15, 2021 in person!
Lark Camp August 4-8, 2021 *virtual*
Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School August 14-19, 2021 *virtual*
O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat October 21-24, 2021 in person!
Southwest Mandolin Camp October 28-31, 2021 in person!
Fiddle Hell Online November 4-7, 2021 *virtual*
Image CreditsThe fantastic photo of my mandolin on the home page was taken by Fionn O Lochlainn.
The photos of me playing on the About page and on this page were taken by Dana Dubinsky.
Thank you both for your beautiful work!
Many ThanksThank you Mike Considine for your guidance and fabulous work in putting together this site. You're the best!