Learn a New Instrument: The Mandolin
The mandolin has been around a long time, yet this old time instrument remains current, thanks to its versatility, multi generational fans, and the downright catchy music it plays. To this day, countless thousands of music students learn the mandolin each year.

The mandolin originally descended from the lute, one of the most common medieval instruments. It became a very well-known modern instrument in countries like Italy when played by famous performers like Bernardo De Pace, and continues to remain so today. In the US, the instrument is very prominently heard in many bluegrass and Texas country recordings in the southern states and throughout Apalachia, in addition to the occasional Nashville hit. Even jazz has been known to be played on this versatile instrument, as heard by the famous musician Jethro Burns. Indeed, one can find that all manner of musical styles have been played and recorded on the mandolin if you take the time to search.

To learn the mandolin requires no more then a creative desire and a consistent devotion of time. Those who put in the effort to learn the mandolin are rewarded with several popular styles of music they can play on the mandolin. For example: folk music, country music, jazz, blues, old time music, and ragtime.

Most courses will begin with teaching the fundamentals, including an understanding of the instrument, basic chords, simple tunes, stroke patterns, fretting, playing an open string, and picking. When you learn the mandolin strums and chords, you will also learn to tune the instrument. You’ll have plenty of practice, since it should be tuned each time it is played. 

To learn the mandolin properly you must understand the instrument. The mandolin’s design is fairly simple. The body is basically a hollow wooden oval made to amplify the sound of the string’s vibrations. The 8 strings that run over it are divided into 4 pairs, each pair of two strings carrying the same note. They stretch up the flat, fret covered neck called the fingerboard, and usually made of rosewood or ebony, ending at the tuning box.

If you are ready to begin to learn the mandolin, you can find numerous free instructional sites and videos and demos, as well as more complete online courses for purchase. A private tutor may help you make quicker progress; you can find these listed in local classified ads or directory websites. Those who aspire to learn the mandolin and play the it professionally may want to consider taking lessons at a music school.

Photo Credit:Tim Green

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