Jack’s Journal: Virtual Mandolin Lessons

He’s known across the state and the country as one of the premiere mandolin players, and it all started unexpectedly right out of high school when a friend introduced him.

“He handed me a mandolin, he said let me show you a couple of chord and a Hank Williams tune. Changed my life. I went a bought a mandolin the next day, and still at it,” says Don Julin.

And play he has, and teach he does. But now he’s doing it a little differently. The old dog is learning new tricks. He is becoming very successful with a new way to teach.

“I started throwing lessons out on YouTube just to see what would happen and they just took off,” says Don. “So, I started including at the end of my lessons on YouTube that you can email me for Skype lessons, if you’re interested.”

Don built a small studio in his basement with computer and camera, where he can work where it’s comfortable and private. 

At a preset time he and the student log in and the lesson begins. Currently, all his students live in the USA, but he has taught via Skype to students overseas.  One student prefers the Skype method of instruction.

“I hate to use the term, but you really are stuck with the pool of teachers with in a 15 or 20 minute comfortable drive. With Skype you are able to access people like Don,” says Steve Moore, mandolin student.

Don has worked through some of the differences between traditional side-by-side and virtual. He sends tracks of music to students who can play along with them.

“So I can see how they are interacting, which is actually better because I’m really observing instead of playing along. I can pay attention and catch every little thing they have right or not, so I enjoy it,” explains Don.

Don is no stranger to doing things differently. He is the author of Mandolin for Dummies!  

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