Javascript demo - expand/collapse text Here's a sample of a Skype lesson.  This lesson took place in Vienna - well, Hans was in Vienna, but Keith  was in his apartment in Germany. The lesson was in German, so if you'd like to follow it from a written translation, please click here

English Transcript of You Tube lesson text

0 seconds Keith: Try the passage again.

Hans plays . Keith: Very good. What you did before though really illustrated the problem quite well. There's a fair amount of movement involved... (Keith mimes the gesture) - the hand is a little bit restless - it's a pretty conscious restlessness (smiles) - but nonetheless, if the hand is moving around a lot, you have to be a bit more careful about putting your fingers down correctly. Occasionally you were just a little inaccurate. 30 seconds Hans plays the G minor arpeggio a few times, observing carefully what his fingers are actually doing. He also sometimes says "yes", acknowledging what Keith says. This is the sort of spontaneous give and take of most human transactions, whether a formal lesson or a conversation. 44 seconds Keith: in the same spirit of natural flow, interrupts while Hans is still playing - commenting on what he is doing... Basically though, the whole thing looks very harmonious and relaxed. It's really fine, and I don't think there's a real problem here. Hans: (reflectively) no... Change of subject: 50 seconds Keith: For a while, Keith describes what he wants, and Hans carries out each instruction immediately. Try this, Hans. Play the note D# (Hans plays the note), but otherwise, leave out the right hand and work just with the left hand - hammer-on (Hans hammers-on with the 2nd finger it) - and then a slide (Hans moves the 1st finger up to F#) and then another hammer-on (Hans produces the note G with a hammer movement of the 2nd finger). Now try that all together. (Hans does it slowly and carefully; Keith listens intently). Good... (Hans plays D# again, but Keith interrupts immediately because he wants to give additional instructions) - now see how noiselessly you can do the position change.. Hans does it a few times only with the left hand, then, without being told - they are an experienced team - adds the right hand, and plays the sequence of notes, including the position change, very smoothly. Keith (delighted with how well correct and detailed preparation has led to a good result, smiles, gestures) - just great! Change of subject: 1 minute 30 seconds Keith: "...it must be the plectrum technique somehow". Hans: Hmm-the plectrum... There ensues a detailed - rather one-sided - discussion of how to use the plectrum to influence the way the string vibrates, which in turn determines the quality and nature of the sound. Keith talks and illustrates with his right hand, Hans tries things out. 3.21: Hans "That's an unaccustomed feeling...don't quite know why..." (Keith knows that students sometimes just have to try things out and get used to them, so he just observes passively, but doesn't comment.) Change of subject, but still about the plectrum... 3.36: "What I perceive as happening, is that the plectrum points directly toward the strings, but that the index finger isn't quite as consistent." Hans follows Keith's instructions. Keith talks about the end segment of the right index finger operating as a flexible hinge. The exercise includes examining how the finger operates, without using the plectrum. NB: Hans and Keith have had around 90 sessions together over the past two years. This means that a lot of the discussion is not completely new, but it's a good illustration of how the teaching process works - an ongoing analysis of principles, which of course work differently as the student increases in experience and competence.

Keith Harris

This what Keith Harris' Internet students see on their computer screens when they have their weekly mandolin lessons with him - somewhere or other on the planet. Whether they talk about a pick or a plectrum, a plettro or some other word, he sees and hears every stroke they make, and gives expert and individual advice on ways to improve. Fingering, phrasing, rhythm, interpretation - every aspect of playing is treated, exactly as with conventional teaching.

People like online lessons for all sorts of reasons... 

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Do you live a long way from a suitable mandolin teacher?     

In thinly populated Skandinavian countries for example, where distances between people can be very great, modern technology has largely solved the  problem.

They have developed Internet teaching in many fields to a fine art. It works just as well anywhere on the planet, of course - in the middle of Texas, or Western Australia, or simply anywhere that a good teacher is needed but hard to find.                                                

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Keith Harris' international reputation as performer and teacher guarantees his unsurpassed knowledge of the instrument. But it is his insight into other people's problems and remarkable skill in offering solutions that really make his teaching outstanding and unique.