Mark Bridge

Mark B.

Park Rapids, MN

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I teach beginning to advanced students in Scruggs or 3 finger style, melodic style, Reno style and Minstrel or stroke style. Other areas covered are basic music theory, chord inversions, back up techniques, creating leads and many other valuable subjects.
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Mark teaches



Mark delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+

Teaching since:
August 1990

Mark B. has played and taught banjo and mandolin for over 30 years and has performed with the Circle B Cowboys, The Blue Bell Lodge Wranglers, The Smokey Hills Wranglers and has performed at venues at Disney World, the National Festival of the West, Medora Cowboy Poetry Gathering, The Journey Museum and many more. Mark currently teaches at the Itasca School of Folk Music, The Headwaters School of Music and Art and at Overbeek Music in Bemidji, MN. Classes are also taught through community education in a number of towns as well as online.

The internet is loaded with free video lessons for banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and every kind of instrument under the sun. But even videos can be a static method of learning when compared to personal lessons taken in real time. Nothing can replace having a teacher to guide you step by step as you learn to play your favorite instrument. Interactive online lessons will help you to avoid the stumbling blocks and hang ups that occur while using books and videos – nothing can replace live lessons with a caring teacher. Now, no matter where you live, you can take lessons in real time with a qualified instructor – it’s almost like taking lessons at the local music store.

Lessons are structured for each individual student to provide the personal attention needed for effective learning.

*** Lesson Details ***
Through my in person and online lessons, a music student will not only learn to play a stringed instrument he or she will also learn important elements of basic music theory. The student will be taught timing, notation, improvisation, chords, tablature, playing in group situations and more. With this knowledge, an aspiring musician will be prepared to enjoy a lifetime of playing music. Basic music theory can be taught using popular fretted stringed instruments like guitar, banjo, mandolin, and mountain dulcimer that can be played and enjoyed for an entire lifetime. Here is some of what will be covered in your online music lessons. The fundamentals of music covered are Note Values and Rhythm, Time Signatures, Sharps and Flats, Common Scales, Chord Structure, Chord Inversions and more of the elements of music. Lessons will also cover improvisation, playing with other people, music styles and other skills that will help students of any age to open doors to the world of music. *You will be up and playing quickly with painless and fun lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Deering Banjos, Boucher Minstrel Banjo for early playing styles, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, autoharp.
High defination webcam.
Full recording studio.
Cubase DAW.

*** Specialties ***
Banjo styles include Scruggs or 3 finger, Reno, melodic, early minstrel style. Mandolin style folk, country. Autoharp and dulcimer are taught using traditional styles.

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Oct 2013 - Present
Headwaters School of Music and Art

Teach banjo, mandolin, dulcimer and autoharp.

Teacher - Owner
Oct 2002 - Present
Itasca School of Folk Music

Teach banjo, mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, voice, performance, recording


Aug 2009 - Mar 2010
Recording Institute of Detroit
Certificate - Audio Specialist
Sep 2006 - Jan 2007
Recording Institute of Detroit


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Artist Grant
Nov 2015
Minnesota Legacy

Photos & Videos

Mark Bridge presents a variety of musical genres on a variety of banjos.
Online banjo teacher, Mark Bridge, presents an introductory lesson on banjo tuning and relative tuning.
This video covers movable chords or chord inversions on the 5 string banjo.  Instructor, Mark Bridge, explains how chord inversions work all over the neck of the banjo as well as the patterns used.
Performance with Western music group The Wranglers.

Nice comfortable seating for lessons in the Park Rapids studio.

Mark along with band member Dave Karam during a recent performance.

Replica circa 1855 Boucher banjo used for Minstrel banjo style lessons.

Portrait taken before a performance in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Mark Bridge performing minstrel style banjo at a museum gig.  Styles played for the performance were minstrel, clawhammer and melodic.
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20 Reviews

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Pat Mar 12, 2018
Banjo · Online

Mark has been wonderful! He has the knowledge of music theory and a lifetime of experience playing the banjo as a professional musician. He understands the importance of that feeling of accomplishment for a beginner, all while maintaining appropriate challenges for the student to aim for. He is easy to talk to and is always encouraging, which makes me feel comfortable to make mistakes as I learn more techniques at faster tempos. I would highly recommend Mark to anyone who is remotely interested in the banjo!

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Ze D. May 25, 2017
Banjo · Online

Mark is a great teacher. He is patient, flexible and quick at spotting what you are doing wrong and how you can improve it. I am a novice banjo player, and have been struggling for the longest time with some basic issues. Mark has been helping me move past these fundamental difficulties, and it has been fun too.

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mike May 24, 2017
Banjo · Online

Mark is a great teacher, especially for a beginner adult like me.

Gordon S. May 9, 2017
Mandolin · Online

Mark is an excellent teacher. He is well versed in Banjo and Mandolin techniques and music theory. He also teaches mountain Dulcimer, I believe. He brings forth the information in an interesting fashion as well as fun. His sense of humor is a delight which helps in the learning process. All in all, he is a teacher worth learning from.

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Gordon S. Mar 14, 2017
Mandolin · Online

Mark seems to know the instruments well. He appears to have a lot of patience with me and is able to explain the nuances of playing both the banjo and mandolin.

Lucas Mar 6, 2017
Banjo · Online

Great teacher.

melissa Feb 20, 2017
Banjo · Online

Jay K. Jan 23, 2017
Banjo · Online

He's very patient, and has a personality style that makes me as a student feel very comfortable.

Alex Dec 21, 2016
Banjo · Online

Don F. Nov 10, 2016
Banjo · Online

My first lesson was very helpful. Mark is expert and patient and sextremely supportive. I would certainly recommend him.

Alla Z. Oct 20, 2016
Banjo · Online

Levi M. Oct 19, 2016
Banjo · Online

I had a lot of fun and enjoyed him a lot. He made things very clear for me. I think he has a cool mustache!

Myron Oct 18, 2016
Banjo · Online

He is super helpful and encouraging even though I knew nothing about the banjo. Would definitely recommend.

Joel A. Sep 13, 2016
Banjo · Online

Great instructor. Looking forward to many more lessons.

Luke T. May 27, 2016
Banjo · Online

If you're wondering, "I want to learn banjo, but who should I take lessons from? There are so many teachers!!" Well I'm writing this review to tell you Mark is one of the best! Mark has been playing Banjo for at least 30 years and continues to play on summer banjo tours. His knowledge of many different banjo playing styles can be modified to your liking and skill level. Whether you're an expert or just a first starter, Mark will work with you and your schedule to maximize your banjo experience. I was a little nervous at first about playing banjo over Skype since he wouldn't actually be there with me, but Mark did a fantastic job online. 5/5, 10/10 would do it again. I would recommend Mark to any banjo player.

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Scott Apr 21, 2016
Banjo · Online

I have really enjoyed my lessons with Mark. As a new student who has never before played banjo, I learned much in my first month and recently signed up for more. He is very patient and personable and has always answered my many questions. For those of us who live in remote small towns, these online lessons have been very convenient.

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Graham R. Apr 28, 2015
Banjo · Online

Mark was a great teacher. He was entertaining as well as insightful, and could play some mighty good bluegrass. Being online lessons it was certainly created its challenges, but Mark did a good job explaining ideas and I learned a few songs over the course of just a few lessons.

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Wayne B. Mar 16, 2015
Banjo · Online

Superb experience! Mark and I have worked together once a week now for a couple of months, and my banjo playing has improved leaps and bounds as a result of his technical knowledge, sensitivity to my situation, and great ability to communicate some fairly difficult concepts. He's provided me with material aimed at expanding my ability for me to work on during the week, I work on that and then play it for him during our lessons and he provides feedback to get me through the parts I'm having trouble with and set the stage for future work. I've been trying to play the banjo for some time, but I've never made the kind of progress that I've made while working with Mark. We're going to continue for another 12 lessons and I'm certain that my ability and confidence level will much improve as a result. Great job, Mark--I'd recommend him to anyone who wants to get serious about their banjo skills!

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Sarah D. Mar 3, 2015
Banjo · Online

Great teacher. I began playing banjo awhile ago, but seem to only improve when taking lessons. Mark has been giving me lots of tips for improvement based on what I want to learn. He is able to pick up on where I am having trouble and provide tips to help me keep going.

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Hugh S. Apr 7, 2014
Banjo ·

Learned so Much so far

Mark has been Outstanding in just two lesson so far but as an old beginning player, I'm very impressed with Mark
! He makes we want to parctice harder!


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