Robert Barrett

​​​​Bluegrass Music Instructor

where to start

Beginner Lesson

How to position yourself and hold your instrument. How to tune your instrument.  The proper use of finger picks and flat picks..  How to read tablature or standard sheet music, depending on your goals.  How to play individual notes and a few simple chords. Some easy exercises to improve agility and to start developing muscle memory.  How to place your fingers and hands in the optimum positions.   Rolls for banjo and dobro.  Strumming and single note picking for guitar and mandolin.. A few easy songs.  Introduction to hammer-on, slides, and pull-offs.  Essential back-up techniques for playing with others.  How to listen for chord changes and melodies.  The fundamentals of Bluegrass jamming.  Much more.

Intermediate Lesson

Review of the fundamentals of  proper meter and timing. How to play with clarity and power. More advanced songs and techniques. How to improvise. How to play "up the neck."  How to transpose songs to different keys.  How to utilize moveable chord positions.  How to integrate the melody with chords and rolls.   Kick-offs, fill-ins and ending licks.  Introduction to melodic style.  How to play fiddle tunes on the guitar, banjo, dobro and mandolin.  How to arrange songs for performing or jamming, and more. 

For More Information

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How much and how often are lessons

The monthly fee for lessons is $99 for 2 one-hour lessons per month.  We have found that one-hour lessons twice a month are more beneficial for the student than weekly half-hour lessons.  Payment is expected at the beginning of each month for both lessons.  If a student misses a lesson, make-up lessons can be scheduled.

What if I never played an instrument before

Previous experience playing a musical instrument is not necessary.  Exercises (such as the two shown on the Practice page of this website) are introduced to help beginning students develop muscle memory and agility quickly.  Students who practice in an organized, structured manner on a regular basis can advance rapidly.

Must I know how to read music

It isn't necessary to read standard sheet music to be able to play an instrument.  However, learning about meter and pitch will be essential requirements of playing properly.  Nowadays most stringed instruments are taught utilizing a music notation system called tablature.  Tablature indicates the duration of the note as well as the string and fret on which it is played.