A Few Minutes with Tim Connell

Tell us about your teaching style and why you like to teach.

I taught elementary school music for 17 years - this experience serves me very well in teaching the large groups I see at mandolin workshops. I tend to be goal-focused in my classes and workshops, with a very specific performance goal for students in each class.

While I read standard notation, I generally love to memorize my repertoire and learn/teach by ear - it's so much better for our musicianship and performance. However, I do provide necessary handouts in tab, standard notation and chord charts at some point during each class or at the end of class so the students can have a reference for finishing the job at home.

I am so grateful to all of my mandolin teachers: Mike and David and the rest of the Symposium faculty over the years who have enabled me to improve my mandolin playing and musicianship so much. So, it is such a pleasure for me to help others in the same way, especially when I see such huge improvement over the years.

What will your ensemble be like?

I am planning on my ensemble performing the Beatles tune "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". There are melody and counterpoint lines, but also very easy chords in the B and C parts, so I welcome students with a range of levels, and certainly hope to have a good low-end, octaves, 'cellos, even bass.

I take a half-and-half approach to arranging: bringing sheet music for specific parts and chord charts for the whole thing, but I tend to arrange and re-arrange on the fly to best suit the personnel on hand, often teaching new parts by ear/rote.

What other things do you expect to experience at the Symposium this year?

I am excited to have a full week of focus on our collective art, together with my best friends in the world. The rest of the world disappears for a week and we all get a chance to go deep into the mandolin and music: neurons firing, synapses linking, positive change on a cellular level - I always feel I take a great leap forward this week each year.

I'll get to see all of my good old friends and make some new ones. I look forward to many inspiring performances in the evening shows and fun jams and parties at night. Really looking forward to meeting Roland White, Drew Emmit and Mike Mullins, and psyched to see my dear friends Michiel & Marijke Wiesenekker, who are once again making the trip from Germany to join us.

Tim Connell's Web Site