The previously advertised Sheffield Mandolin Retreat in October is now fully booked, which gives me the opportunity to add this extra weekend in the delightful location of The Craiglands Hotel, perched on the upper edge of the town, just below the famous Ilkley Moor. The weekend will run from approximately 5.00pm on the Friday to late afternoon on the Sunday.
Read on for more information or go straight to the booking form if you prefer.
My preference is to teach through tunes, 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 de-mystify the mandolin as much as possible, whether that be finding your way around the neck, or understanding some of that dreaded music theory!
The weekend will also be 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.
Music (in both standard notation and tablature) and MP3 sample files will be sent out well 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 – there will be no exam! Having said that, at other workshops I’ve 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; I’ll 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.
The course is open to players of any level, but it does help if you have a reasonable knowledge of how to read either mandolin tablature (easy) or standard music notation (a steeper learning curve). Recent workshops I have hosted have attracted some very good players alongside people who have only been playing for a couple of months. It has been quite heartening to see the less experienced rise to the occasion, buoyed by the group experience.
The Craiglands, a grand Victorian hotel, offers extremely comfortable accommodation and is set in six acres of beautiful grounds on the edge of Ilkley Moor. It is about 15 minutes walk from Ilkley station, and approximately 30 minutes by road from Leeds/Bradford Airport
The hotel provides full board and coffee, tea and soft drinks during the day. The kitchen will cater for special dietary needs (let them know in advance). There is full disabled access.
If you also play any other instruments from the mandolin family (mandola, mandocello, octave mandolin, luito cantabile – or even mandobass) please bring them too. The ensemble playing in previous workshops has benefited hugely from the inclusion of some of the mandolin’s lower-pitched relatives.
Please contact me in advance if you’d like the music in bass clef or transposing tablature.
Hilary James and I will be playing a public concert on the Saturday evening at the hotel. Entrance is free to those attending the workshop.
The fee for the weekend is £395.
This includes all tuition, entrance to the Saturday evening ‘Simon Mayor & Hilary James’ concert, full board from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon (breakfast, buffet lunch, three course evening meal, unlimited coffee, tea and soft drinks during the day) and use of the hotel’s spa facilities.
Please use the booking form to secure your place. We ask for a 50% non-refundable deposit and the balance three weeks ahead of the event.
If you’ll be attending as a couple and sharing a room, or if you’d like to bring a spouse or friend who will be sharing your room but not attending the course, please use the contact form to request a special rate.
If you have any other questions please contact Anne Jones on 0118 926 8615.