Here is a decent starter tutorial, http://support.forsite.net/mysql_tutorial.htm,
as for the error you are getting, I remember getting the error myself before but I think mine was a shared module problem with php, mysql and apache. The tutorial should be able to get you past that. Also if you are going to configure apache and php to work with it, there are a ton of excellent LAMP (linux, apache, mysql, php) tutuorials. You may want to have a look at phpMyAdmin.net too, they make an excellent web-based mysql administration tool.