Polly Bolton

Student favorite
Mandolin, Banjo, Clawhammer Banjo, Bouzouki
(117 reviews)
1000+ lessons booked on Lessonface

Lesson Fees
from $28.00 / 30 Minutes

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Polly Bolton first picked up the mandolin as a child and has been touring internationally in various line ups on mandolin, Irish bouzouki, 5-string banjo and vocals since her teens. Polly is endorsed by Eastman™ and plays an MD815-SB.

“A virtuoso exponent of mandolin, banjo and Irish bouzouki. ”

— BBC Radio 6 Music

With a unique style that can only be described as ‘effervescent’ (Sunday Times), Polly has established herself as one of the most up-and-coming personalities on the UK scene as part of power folk trio The Trials of Cato. Hailed as a pioneer of ‘folk with finesse’ (Daily Mail), Polly has an innovative approach to writing and arranging. She is influenced by a wide range of musical styles and instruments from across the globe including the American bluegrass and old time tradition, Celtic folk, Eastern European folk, Middle Eastern traditional music, Indian classical music, and metal and progressive rock.

“One of the finest mandolin players on the planet.”

— The Mike Harding Folk Show

Polly is known as a powerful performer with a charismatic stage presence and passionate live delivery. She has performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Shambala, Wilderness, Boomtown Fair, Deer Shed, Larmer Tree, Festa do Avante (Portugal), Musicport, Towersey and Warwick, and has performed with artists including Molly Tuttle, John Smith, Tcha Limberger & Mozes Rosenberg, LAU and The Hot Club of Cowtown.

“Polly's highly original and unexpected tune-writing and a take-no-prisoners right hand makes for killer music. ”

— Luke Plumb, Shooglenifty

“She makes the tune come alive. Her playing is fantastic, positive and gutsy. Put simply, traditional players don't come any better than Polly.”

— Simon Mayor


“An authentic folk voice in a beguilingly contemporary setting. Polly's music has a lighter-than-air quality which I find utterly compelling. ”

— BBC Radio 2

Polly is in high demand as a tutor of mandolin, clawhammer banjo and Irish bouzouki. She teaches students of all levels from beginners to advanced. As well as her  online classes, she is a tutor at York St John University, UK and has regular one to one sessions with students of all ages in the UK. She has run workshops at festivals including Towersey (UK) and Costa Del Folk (Portugal), and was the guest tutor at Simon Mayor’s Mandolin Retreat at Kenwood Hall in Sheffield.

"I love tailoring lessons to suit individual requirements and interests. It's all about your own personal musical goals. We’ll learn loads of brilliant tunes by ear, mainly from the old time, bluegrass and celtic folk tradition. We’ll be covering fundamentals of technique, including tone production and left & right hand dexterity, as well as areas such as improvisation, chord and rhythm work, having confidence and attitude in your delivery, arranging traditional tunes and composing original melodies on the mandolin. I provide audio recordings, tablature and notation of all the material that we cover so you can practice in your preferred way." - Polly. 

What her students say -

It’s been around two months since I’ve started taking banjo classes with Polly and I absolutely love it, I feel real progression each time we have a class. Thanks to her great taste in music, we are looking into really nice pieces and the classes are very versatile, there’s a fair deal of theory, practice and technique study. After each class, Polly sends me all the tabs and learning video materials, so I never get lost when I practice alone. I would highly recommend Polly as a banjo teacher to anyone interested in mastering this beautiful instrument. Vera

Polly is great. She honed in quickly to point out a fundamental issue with my left hand technique. She's professional and easy going. I really enjoyed the lesson. Looking forward to the next one. Bunmi

I really enjoyed having Polly as a mandolin teacher! As a beginner I was slightly nervous but she made me feel completely at ease and was very clear and patient. Highly recommend! Lydia

Only had one lesson so far but Polly my tutor is great. I have already learnt so much from her, I can't wait to develop my mandolin playing. Malcolm

First Class BA Hons Theatre & Performance - Goldsmiths, University of London.

Reviews of lessons with Polly Bolton

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