Mandolin Technique and Theory For All Levels

Mandolin Theory and Technique For All LevelsPete Frostic, mandolinist with Old School Freight Train, has published an instructional book that he feels will benefit students of the mandolin at any level.

Mandolin Technique and Theory For All Levels is an 80 page spiral bound book written in both tablature and standard notation. It includes an audio CD that contains recordings of all the exercises and tunes covered in the book.

Pete has been teaching mandolin privately for the past ten years and carries an impressive load of 50 students. He has started a mandolin program at the University of Virginia, and at the College of William and Mary, where he also leads an Appalachian Music Ensemble.

We asked Pete to describe the book, how he came to write it, and what mandolinists can expect to find therein.

“I wanted to write this book for two reasons. First, I wanted an organized approach for my own students. I wanted them to have it all in one place and not forget what I tell them week to week. Second, I want to help people I don’t work with privately to be able to get to the ‘next level.’ Whether it’s going from beginning to playing tunes… 0r playing tunes to improvising… or improvising bluegrass to more jazz theory. I provide helpful exercises for all of these steps.

People can expect to find exercises and words of wisdom to help at all levels. The book starts at how to hold the pick and where to begin, so that is great for the novice. Many exercises are aimed at getting the player more knowledgeable about soloing. I developed what I call the ‘bluegrass scale,’ which is a great way to improvise over fiddle tunes and vocal melodies. This will help ‘parking lot pickers’ become more confident in their playing. The book also has new approaches to rhythm playing.

Lastly, the book will help advanced players. Many people have gotten to that point where they’d like to play jazz but don’t know how it applies to the mandolin. My book helps puts jazz theory on the mandolin, and breaks it down into manageable concepts.

It also includes a discussion on how to read notation, which many tab-dependent people might want.”

The book/CD set sells for $20 and can be ordered online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.