This is an excellent progressive method informing the student of all the required technique to achieve a good standard. The selection of music is enjoyable and compelling and improvement for the keen student is rapid, as a competent guitar player I found I was playing the Mandolin in the Irish style in no time at all. One small point - the music selected has melody only -no chords - so if you wanted to perform the pieces with other musicians you would have to work out the chords (which might not be true to the original), or look else where for material. This tutor book is very useful and if the Mandolin is your chosen instrument would be a real asset in helping to learn the instrument.
- (Merseyside, United Kingdom)
Padraig Carroll is an obvious expert on the philosophy and technique of Irish-style mandolin. The book is a great tool for anyone wanting to learn to play the mandolin in the Irish tradition, whether one is just beginning or has played other musical genres before. I had been playing bodhran in an Irish band for a couple of years (and listening to many Irish traditional groups), so I was familiar with the sound. I decided to try to learn a melody instrument for more challenge and variety. I chose mandolin because its small size fits my hands well, and because it straddles musical genres. I chose Carroll's book/CD set because it was the only true tutorial I could find. It proved to be a valuable investment. Not only does he teach you the basic techniques of mandolin, but he also demonstrates how to play melodically and creatively within the Irish style. Two years later, I am now playing mandolin a great deal in my band. I feel I owe my success to Carroll's easily accessible effort. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to play such a great instrument in that great Irish style!
Neil Cadle - (Tennessee)
This is a great introduction to the Irish mandolin. I got the cassette version a few years ago and I found it to be a great guide as I learned the instrument. I must admit I could already play a bit of guitar before picking up the mando, so my fingers were already accustomed to strings, but I do believe this book/CD will be very helpful even if you're starting completely from scratch. It begins at a very basic level with a short history of the instrument, and a rudimentary description of music notation. (Real music notation is used throughout the book, rather than tablature, which is a good thing as when you go to look for tunes elsewhere they will be in standard notation). The tunes at the start are very simple and fairly easy to learn, although I found 'Deus Meus' difficult as it isn't very 'tuneful' - skip that one! The book then goes on through more difficult tunes and introduces the various types of tunes - jigs, reels etc. The earlier tunes are played at a pretty slow pace on the cd - to allow the listener to easily discern the individual notes. Later on they are played more quickly, closer to the standard pace for these kinds of tunes. The last part of the book introduces the ornamentations and variations that are commonly used in Irish music. Overall, the level of instruction is correctly pitched at each stage of learning in that each section builds on the preceding part - but not to quickly! There are also some very nice tunes throughout the book, if you learn all of these you will have a fine repertoire to build on.