Mandolin, Bluegrass: Monroe Style, Levels 2/3

Richard (Richie) Brown

In this class we will explore the style and sound of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. We will study and play Monroe-style tremolo, downstrokes, double stops, slides, rhythm figures, and blue notes. We will identify and try out these techniques on Monroe classics such as Bluegrass Breakdown, Can't You Hear me Callin', Blue Moon of Kentucky (in Bb), Southern Flavor, and more. We will also devote a lot of time each day to practicing and committing what we learn to memory.

Prerequisites: Students should know basic scales and closed-position chord shapes and be able to play some tunes at a moderate tempo.

Bring all of your questions about Monroe-style mandolin, a notebook and something to write with, and an audio recording device. I will provide some handouts, but this class will be taught primarily by-ear and by-sight.   

About Richard Brown

Dr. Richard (Richie) Brown has been a part-time bluegrass musician in the Boston area since the mid-1960s. He has played with several prominent New England bluegrass bands and occasionally filled in with nationally known bluegrass artists as well. Richard has done mandolin workshops with Ron Thomason, Dave McLaughlin, and Lou Martin at the Joe Val Festival and other events for the Boston Bluegrass Union, and with Mike Holmes at The New England Folk Festival.

Richard is an original Mandolin Camp North faculty member, dating from 2005-2015. In addition, from 2008-2013, he (as Associate Director) and Mike Compton (Director) supervised and taught in a Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp sponsored by The International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY.

Richard introduced Monroe-style mandolin introductory courses at the Fiddle Hell Camp at Westford, Massachusetts in November of 2017 and 2018. He was a faculty member at the Monroe Mandolin Camp (MonManCamp) in 2016 and will return as a faculty member in 2019. Bill Monroe’s style and “old style” mandolin players heavily influence Richard’s approach to Mandolin playing. Richard currently plays mandolin and sings in the Boston-based Reunion Band.

This will be Richard's first time teaching at Walker Creek, and we're excited that he'll be at Walker Creek this spring to share his deep knowledge of Monroe-style mandolin!

If you haven't heard Richard play yet, here are a couple of great videos showcasing his mandolin playing....

With Grammy winner Dom Flemons:

With Bobby Osborne, Frank Wakefield, Roland White, and Butch Waller on "Kentucky Waltz":