Do I need to be able to read music?

You do need to be comfortable with stave notation. If you are a folk player, and more used to working by ear or from tablature, this may seem quite daunting – and you may need to put in some hours in the woodshed. (Actually you might need to come OUT of your woodshed for this bit, and head into your study). But as long as you come along with some basic knowledge and experience of the stave, you would be surprised how quickly you can pick up the rest once you are practising and rehearsing regularly. Ask some of our members who have done just that.

I am a fairly basic player, and am not sure if I am good enough to join

The MMO caters for a wide range of abilities and it is not necessary to be an advanced player in order to join. The group’s players have quite diverse musical backgrounds – for example some have learned mandolin as their first and main instrument, some are classical violinists who have taken up mandolin, others are folk players who have become interested in orchestral playing, and learned the necessary skills “on the job”.

The main thing is to be comfortable with stave notation (see above).

I’ve got an old mandolin that my aunt kept in her attic for 40 years. Will it do?

It could of course be a fantastic instrument, and in wonderful condition. However, all that glitters is not gold, and it is also quite possibly

a) knocked out on the cheap for the Italian tourist trade, and

b) badly warped !

Even the quality turns out to disappoint, it might give you a start, and if you decide you want to stick at it and develop your mandolin playing, then members of the group will be very happy to advise you on where to find a decent instrument without breaking the bank. You may even find someone has an instrument for sale from time to time.