Mike McKinley

Mike M.

Austin, TX

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I have been teaching mandolin students since the early 1980s. My favorite students are beginners, because I can show them the basics correctly which saved lots of time and frustration later on. The mandolin takes an hour to play and a lifetime to master, so my motto is "lets get started!"I also have extensive experience teaching and playing Americana, bluegrass, swing, and jug band music on the mandolin.
I stick to the basic bluegrass player model, with tuning, chords, exercises, fiddle tunes, rhythm, backup, and lead.
I also can teach other musicians who play other instruments to find their way around mandolin in no time!
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Mike teaches



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

Teaching since:

I teach mandolin at all levels, and I know that it is one of the most fun and friendly instruments.
But to play the mando well looks a lot easier than it is, unless you have learned your lessons and done your homework. I love to teach the basics and show all the basic things you have to do to be a good mando player.
Most tunes I will teach you are old timey, blues, fiddle tunes, swing, also special notes on playing with a band, playing backup, and of course, bluegrass.
I like to teach old school Bill Monroe/ Bill Napier style of Bluegrass Mando.
Basic musical questions are also welcome


Mandolin/ vocals
Mar 1985 - Present
Harmony Grits

I helped start this band in Santa Cruz, CA and have played as a group for 32 years, with some longstanding residencies that have stretched over 30 years.
I still g out to California regs;early to play shows with these guys though I now live in Austin


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Lifetime Achievement Award
Jan 2011
Northern California Bluegrass Society


American Federation of Musicians
Apr 2015

A labor union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada. Founding in 1896 as the successor to the "National League of Musicians," the AFM is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians.

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International Bluegrass Music Association
Jul 1987

IBMA is the trade association that connects and educates bluegrass professionals, empowers the bluegrass community, and encourages worldwide appreciation of bluegrass music of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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