A few things I wish I had done initially (also self tutored):
1) Get to know where all the duplicate and reversed notes are, and when learning a new tune try out different ways of fingering it until you find the best (for you and the tune) way of doing it. For instance, a particular phrase may work/sound better if all the notes are played on a push or pull, or alternately the music might be better expressed with a lot of bellows back-and-forth. Don't get stuck playing everything along the rows.
2) Practice playing as quietly as you can. I've met a lot of self-taught concertina players who only have one volume level: LOUD! (not you, Robin & Paul!) Variations in volume can add a lot to the expression of a tune.
3) If the tune calls for the same note in quick succession, try alternating index and middle finger (or 2 other convenient fingers) for each sounding of the note, rather than just pressing multiple times with the same finger.
4) Really explore the whole 3rd row, and both extreme ends of the other 2 rows. So many players habitually only use 10 or 12 buttons, leaving a lot of the instrument's potential untapped. When you look at vintage concertinas you can see evidence of this in the wear marks above the buttons.
5) Try to find good players in your area, and watch and listen! If there is a session near you go and lurk until you can play a few tunes, then join in! Nothing will advance your playing faster than hanging around better musicians!
6) Don't feel constrained by the home keys. It will be easy to play tunes in C & G ( I assume that's the tuning on your Jones), but D isn't too hard when you figure it out, and other keys and minors and modes are very possible (see #4). If you start learning where the buttons are for other keys early in your learning process, you will have much better command of all 26 buttons!
7) Try using both hands at once. You can usually play most of the melody on the right hand by using duplicates and reversals, which will leave your left hand free for chords, playing in octaves, and doing oom-pahs and bass runs (once again, see #4). It's not as hard as you think it will be, but it won't happen if you don't try. The sooner the better, I think.
8) Have fun. The concertina is an inherently joyful thing to play. Pick it up whenever you can. Don't practice- just play!
Edited by Bill N, 16 February 2018 - 12:30 PM.