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Debora Chen Mandolin Workshops

By Mandolin Cafe
October 19, 2007 - 9:20 am

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Debora Chen

Debora Chen

Berkeley, Calif. — Debora Chen will present a pair of mandolin workshops entitled "Tips and Tricks for Melodic Playing", and a compressed version of "Standard Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist" on Saturday, November 17, 2007 at Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 1111 Addison St.

10:00 - 12:00 a.m. - Mandolin Technique Workshop: Tips and Tricks for Melodic Playing

If you have ever struggled with a gnarly tune and wished your hands were bigger, stronger and faster, this workshop is for you. Topics covered will include:

* getting around the neck without needing to look at it
* optimizing your reach
* getting more mileage out of your 4th finger
* playing with less tension
* how to use the bones in your left hand to your advantage
* right hand dexterity tips and exercises
* a systematic approach to increasing your speed and accuracy

We will use common fiddle tunes (Blackberry Blossom + participants' choices) as examples. Written handouts with technique building exercises are included. Class size is limited to 12.

12:45 - 2:45 p.m. - Standard Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist (condensed version). Mandolinists who need to watch their hands are strongly encouraged to take the morning session as well.

This workshop will cover getting around the staff in an intuitive, mandolinistic manner and is devised to break the aspiring mandolinist's dependency on tab. Material presented will include carefully designed exercises from Debora's book, "Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist", composed specifically to exploit the idiosyncrasies of the mandolin to highlight easy note recognition, and encourage good technique.

Topics include:
* relating the staff to your fretboard
* interval recognition, both on the staff and on the fretboard
* how to approach syncopated rhythms (e.g. choro)
* using knowledge of common chord progressions like ii V I and I V I to accelerate note recognition
* tips on making it all sink in, maximizing your practice time

Workshop includes a packet of structured exercises to work on both during the workshop and at home which will lead participants through reading progressively more difficult etudes, concluding with reading (without any assistance from tab) an adaptation of a theme from Bach's Partita III for unaccompanied violin. From there, participants will be possess the skills to approach any tune they choose without relying on cumbersome mnemonics and be well on their way to reading any music they like.

What to bring: instrument, music stand (if you have one), writing implements, and, if you are taking the morning session as well, you might want to pack a lunch because the break is short.

About the instructor:

Debora Chen has received rave reviews for her classes at the Mandolin Symposium where she has taught for the past three years. She has provided extensive music transcription/editing for acclaimed acoustic-musician Mike Marshall on his innovative mandolin method books.

Cost for either workshop is $42, $84 for both. To register in advance, or for more information/complete reviews, please visit Debora's web site. If you are interested in abandoning tab, but are unable to attend the standard notation workshop, books may be purchased online.

Additional information:
Standard Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist

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