• Simon Mayor's 2019 Mandolin Retreat

    Simon Mayor

    Sheffield, England — Simon Mayor's Annual Mandolin Retreat will be held here at Kenwood Hall Hotel, November 1-3, 2019.

    Attendees will be rewarded with 48 hours of mandolin immersion hosted by Simon Mayor in this very comfortable 4-star hotel in beautiful grounds close to Sheffield city center.

    This year's edition will include guest mandolin tutor Polly Bolton. Put simply, traditional players donít come any better than Polly. She's an experienced teacher too, and will be letting us into some secrets of her gutsy playing and incredibly clean execution.

    Hilary James will be offering informal drawing sessions for any spouses or partners accompanying mandolinists for the weekend. There'll be no charge for this but those interested in participating should let the organizers know in advance. Hilary is also an experienced user of an iPad and Apple Pencil if any would like guidance in this increasingly popular art medium.

    About this year's activities, Mayor told us, "The Mandolin Retreat is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and to learn to play as an ensemble. So while some tunes will be melody only, some will be arranged in parts specifically for ensemble playing; I always try to make one part very simple so the less experienced players will still be able to contribute.

    "My preference is to teach through the tunes themselves, discussing matters of technique as they crop up. I'll be covering basic right and left hand positions, tremolo, position shifts, playing in closed positions, use of the plectrum and tone production, improvisation, and no doubt much more. My aim is to demystify the mandolin as much as possible, whether that be finding your way around the neck, or understanding some of that dreaded music theory!

    "Music (in both standard notation and tablature) and MP3 sample files can be downloaded in advance so you can acquaint yourself with the tunes. Don't in any way think that you need to learn them all note-perfect before you come. Above all, the weekend is meant to be a fun, relaxing time, and the amount of preparation you put in is entirely up to you Ė there will be no exam! Having said that, at other workshops Iíve hosted we've all been delighted at what a great sounding mandolin orchestra we've had by the Sunday afternoon.

    "The approach will not be geared to any one musical genre; Iíll be trying to make it as general as possible. And by the way, I'm very happy for you to make audio recordings of the sessions."

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