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Noel Hill Concertina School


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#19 RP3

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:00 AM

I have attended Noel's classes since 1996 and have grown to believe that his school is very beneficial to all who attend and work to really absorb what has been taught. Never in all these years did I feel that Noel was unreasonable in asking the students not to share his teaching materials or methods. Otherwise what would stop someone from attending one year and then attempt to open one's own school using the information learned -- very much akin to Ken's experience. Never in all these years and with all the other students I have met did I hear anyone complain about having to sign the release.

To help everyone understand Noel's position better, you should know that Noel spent several years putting together material that was to be a concertina tutor. And then, at a music festival (I think), all that material was stolen and years of hard work were lost.

Now in this thread we have a person griping about Noel's non-disclosure requirements. As was pointed out, Noel is a single parent of two great kids and all three of them need to eat. He makes a substantial portion of his annual income from teaching here in the states and he has every right to protect his source of income. If you can't appreciate that concept, then by all means go somewhere else for concertina instruction; but to allege that Noel is being unreasonable or that something is taken away from the experience by having to sign that form is pure poppycock and very self-serving.

Ross Schlabach

#20 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:26 AM

Money and music can be awkward bedfellows. I made a full-time living performing American folk music for 30 years. Lots of school assemblies. Sometime in the 1980s the school media people or video camera volunteers began setting up their recording equipment in the back of the auditoreum or gym to tape my presentations. Aside from often not asking for my permission I think what irked me even more was the possibility they might substitute a cold media ie: taped performance, for future live performances. Whatever happened to the Performing Arts?!

My eventual compromise was to allow a few samples of the performance to be taped.

In some ways I think my situation parallels Noel's. I learned and worked at a traditional art and used it to make a unique presentation. I don't think anyone could argue that I had and have a right to present my unique program, be compensated for its presentation and protect and have some control over its reproduction and distribution.

Noel has taken the inspiration of Mullaly, his instruction from Paddy Murphy, several hundred years of Irish Traditional Music, 150 years of Irish anglo concertina playing and his own intense 40+ year exploration of the instrument to distilled them into his unique method of instruction. Doesn't he have some right to compensation, control and protection of his product?

Perhaps personalities and our own priorities and emotions distract in arguing the rights and principles of intellectual property.

Noel has an intense personality that can evoke strong emotional reactions. He can inspire great loyalty and provoke deep pique. I've experienced both.
But even when I'm annoyed I continue to urge people to attend his camp and experience his instruction. I think it is a wonderful way to decode the keybord and make the instrument's strengths work to the advantage of the music. Noel's history lessons and context for the tunes also provide a rich environment to grow your own interpretation of the music. Quite an intense, unique and rewarding experience. And occasionally it can be awkward too.

Just like money and music.

One perspective.

Greg

#21 dwinterfield

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:36 AM

I'm trying to decide if I want to change up this year and attend the NHICS east coast workshop instead of Oregon, was wondering if there were more session players at the east coast than the west. I was looking forward to staying up late most nights playing in sessions when I was at Tilikum but quickly realized that not everyone who plays anglo is as much of a session slut as I am. The only session we had at NHICS Tilikum last year was the one I hosted, and even that only had a few players. :-)


I'll probabaly be at the east coast school for the 3rd time this year. I think there have been several (many?) late-nighjt sessions in recent yrs, but I tend to fade in the evening and get more from practice - practice - practice - practice after dinner. Linda did tell me that the roster for Durhan is low this year, so you might want to check whether some of the late night players are coming.

As for Noel's agreement, I have no problem signing them. Intellectual property comes in all shapes and sizes. There actually isn't much in teaching "materials" so much as Noel's teaching and many hand-written tunes.

I have a relative who is an internationally known and widely published nature photographer. He now makes his living selling his 40 yr. catalogue of unigue, copy-writed images. It's interesting to me that corporations or magazines are good customers while well-intended environmental groups often rip him off after they discover he won't give them an image for free, or after he offers them a much reduced rate.

If we want the artists to continue, we've got to respect their right to make a living from their art.

#22 McIsog

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:50 AM

If we want the artists to continue, we've got to respect their right to make a living from their art.

I completely agree. And he has my respect and I have purchased his CDs.

My family is large (4 kids). 3 Studying music soon to be 4. 1 is meddling with concertina. I'd like to take the class with him but I am challenged by my work sched and family life to peel away for a week with 1 of the kids.

So his model does not fit me and I am frustrated with it and the paperwork. I represent a market that this artist is not tapping by not publishing a tutor.

#23 McIsog

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:12 AM

Hey Ross,

I have attended Noel's classes since 1996 and have grown to believe that his school is very beneficial to all who attend and work to really absorb what has been taught. Never in all these years did I feel that Noel was unreasonable in asking the students not to share his teaching materials or methods. Otherwise what would stop someone from attending one year and then attempt to open one's own school using the information learned -- very much akin to Ken's experience. Never in all these years and with all the other students I have met did I hear anyone complain about having to sign the release.

If he asked me not to share the materials I would not - but I would want to. With my children....

I never said Noel was unreasonable and I don't think it is a Release I think it is a Non-Disclosure. And fyi - I am not nearly a good enough musician to open up my school. I'd barely call myself a good student.

To help everyone understand Noel's position better, you should know that Noel spent several years putting together material that was to be a concertina tutor. And then, at a music festival (I think), all that material was stolen and years of hard work were lost.

I am very sorry to hear this. I would pay for an authorized copy of such a tutor.

Now in this thread we have a person griping about Noel's non-disclosure requirements. As was pointed out, Noel is a single parent of two great kids and all three of them need to eat. He makes a substantial portion of his annual income from teaching here in the states and he has every right to protect his source of income. If you can't appreciate that concept, then by all means go somewhere else for concertina instruction; but to allege that Noel is being unreasonable or that something is taken away from the experience by having to sign that form is pure poppycock and very self-serving.

Ross Schlabach


Yes I do not like Non Disclosures. Do you?

It is fantastic that Noel is taking care of his family. I do the same for mine every day. And I do not disagree that he has a right to make money from his teaching sessions.

Griping is part of a discussion forum. Get over it.

Dan

#24 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:21 AM

Dan,
We haven't given up hope on a published tutor from Noel.

In my 4&1/2 years of knowing him I've found he does get things done (like his "Irish Concertina II") that we have been begging and bugging him to do.
He cetrtainly has his own schedule. We have to respect that even if it is not meeting our immediate needs.

I hope your life commitments and schedule will allow you to participate in a Noel Hill camp someday. It is quite an experience. And I say that not just from the technique that is taught but from getting to know Noel and sharing in his love and approach to the music. He is an unforgettable and inspiring character. Getting to know the other campers and building friendships is another rewarding aspect of a weeklong camp.

While Noel's camp is unique it is not the only venue for learning worthwhile technique. In your area John Williams is a brilliant player and gives lessons. Millwaukee has a summer Irish fest and Frank Edgley, who is as familiar with Chris Droney's strong playing as anyone, often does weekend workshops.
Mihail O Raghallaigh is even in St. Louis for workshops this weekend (April 4,5,6, 2008)

The concertina can be a demanding mistress and we all have to find different ways of accomodating her demands in our lives. Right now it sounds like you have made a rightous commitment to being a father, husband and provider. Concertina is in 4th or 5th place. It will all work out. It may take some time.

Best,

Greg

#25 Leo

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 11:44 AM

I have been an instructor in an unrelated field since 1976, and still occasionally help students over some rough spots in their endeavors, and now mostly instruct the instructors. I have never met Mr. Hill, however I was in the same situation as him (single parent). It's brutal.

But you know over the years I could not tell you where I picked up or learned a technique to pass onto a student, I've had too many instructors, and my "bag of tricks" is large thanks to them, and too many years to remember which one is which.

I find it difficult to appreciate his efforts at protection of methods. If I tried that the students would have gone somewhere else, and I might have starved. The freedom of information made our jobs easier, because it worked both ways. If I had 10 instructors trying to protect a method, I would have been a lousy instructor; not being allowed to "pass it on" from them.

Ken said it best: " I could defend legally (should I choose to squander the money doing so)".

I sincerely hope he reconsiders, as I suspect he'll be richer for it as I was.

Thanks
Leo

#26 david_boveri

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:19 AM

I have been an instructor in an unrelated field since 1976, and still occasionally help students over some rough spots in their endeavors, and now mostly instruct the instructors. I have never met Mr. Hill, however I was in the same situation as him (single parent). It's brutal.

But you know over the years I could not tell you where I picked up or learned a technique to pass onto a student, I've had too many instructors, and my "bag of tricks" is large thanks to them, and too many years to remember which one is which.

I find it difficult to appreciate his efforts at protection of methods. If I tried that the students would have gone somewhere else, and I might have starved. The freedom of information made our jobs easier, because it worked both ways. If I had 10 instructors trying to protect a method, I would have been a lousy instructor; not being allowed to "pass it on" from them.

Ken said it best: " I could defend legally (should I choose to squander the money doing so)".

I sincerely hope he reconsiders, as I suspect he'll be richer for it as I was.

hanks
Leo


i know this conversation has long been idle, but i would like to say this. noel only protects his recordings, and his sheet music and scale charts. i cannot imagine that he would have a problem if i made my own scale chart or taught any one else to play. he is certainly not protecting or concealing any methods! his techniques are not given to the elite, but to anyone who pays. this is very reasonable. he is only protecting his copyrights, not his ideas. his copyrights have been infringed many times in the past (a magazine once asked if they could do a review on a cd they received of him playing, which he never produced). he is very free with his ideas. i know many people who are much more protective of their ideas--they just dont share them with their students.

you can certainly pass on what you learned, and many have done so. you just cannot have a student and photocopy the sheet music or hand them a recording of noel's class and give them a photocopy of his fingering chart. i gave one piece of sheet music to a cousin of mine--but i gave the original. i made no copy, and if she never gives it back, i will forever be without it.

i know of several people, who are all in good standing with noel and even still attend his camp, that teach using his methods. they just dont use his materials. there is a huge difference in that. it is also very common that a tune he teaches at his camps or workshops get taught by others at other camps or workshops--there is no issue with that, as long as all materials and recordings given follow basic copyright law.

as greg, ross and i pointed out, people have not stolen his methods or his ideas, but his actual, physical and legal property. again, he does not prohibit the use of his ideas, only the misuse of his legal, copyrights.

if it were me, i might not be so forthcoming with my ideas as he is! he is an open book. if you are perceptive enough to ask him a question about how he gets a sound or how he does whatever, he will answer it. no games, no deception.

there are also some ideas i have, in music and otherwise, that i do not talk about to people who i think could use them, leaving me cold in the dust. it is common sense. i believe in the open exchange of ideas, but i also believe in holding one's own copyrights.

it is very easy to read these discussions, and listen to hearsay, to think that he is closed with his ideas. as far as teachers i have met, he is very open with his ideas, very giving of his time, and never tells us any of that we cannot teach anyone else what he has taught us--just that we cannot violate his copyrights. if he really was as closed-minded as some infer, it would seem that he would restrict us from performing any of the tunes he taught us. i asked him that, my first year, if i could ever record an album with tunes he taught me, played the same as he taught me, and he said, "sure, just write in the notes where you got it from."

somebody please correct me if i have misinterpreted anything.

and i'd like to agree, and say as a final note, that just because he has not made a book, does not mean he will not!

EDIT:
after reading michael's thread, i must reconsider. i will grill noel at length about what i can and cannot do. i know that there are many things that i could do which are not violating non-disclosure, but i am still going to ask him, because he is my friend, and i would rather go very stringent and beyond the scope of the agreement, than spread any information that he would prefer i not.

example: i did make a youtube video about the key of A, which is now gone, due to a glitch in youtube or my account being hacked. i know it did not violate non-disclosure, as i put up the video months before he taught me the key of A; regardless, my scale ended up being different than his. i still use the one i figured out rather than the one he taught me. there is therefore no conflict, as it was not strictly his fingering system, and the video is no longer out there. so, according to the agreement, i am fine. but--again--as he is my friend, i would like to know what he thought about this. i have other friends who are musicians, who likewise ask me not talk to talk about things i have every right to talk about, just because sometimes that's what friends do.

Edited by david_boveri, 23 July 2008 - 02:00 AM.


#27 david_boveri

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:50 AM

Hey Ross,

I have attended Noel's classes since 1996 and have grown to believe that his school is very beneficial to all who attend and work to really absorb what has been taught. Never in all these years did I feel that Noel was unreasonable in asking the students not to share his teaching materials or methods. Otherwise what would stop someone from attending one year and then attempt to open one's own school using the information learned -- very much akin to Ken's experience. Never in all these years and with all the other students I have met did I hear anyone complain about having to sign the release.

If he asked me not to share the materials I would not - but I would want to. With my children....

I never said Noel was unreasonable and I don't think it is a Release I think it is a Non-Disclosure. And fyi - I am not nearly a good enough musician to open up my school. I'd barely call myself a good student.

To help everyone understand Noel's position better, you should know that Noel spent several years putting together material that was to be a concertina tutor. And then, at a music festival (I think), all that material was stolen and years of hard work were lost.

I am very sorry to hear this. I would pay for an authorized copy of such a tutor.

Now in this thread we have a person griping about Noel's non-disclosure requirements. As was pointed out, Noel is a single parent of two great kids and all three of them need to eat. He makes a substantial portion of his annual income from teaching here in the states and he has every right to protect his source of income. If you can't appreciate that concept, then by all means go somewhere else for concertina instruction; but to allege that Noel is being unreasonable or that something is taken away from the experience by having to sign that form is pure poppycock and very self-serving.

Ross Schlabach


Yes I do not like Non Disclosures. Do you?

It is fantastic that Noel is taking care of his family. I do the same for mine every day. And I do not disagree that he has a right to make money from his teaching sessions.

Griping is part of a discussion forum. Get over it.

Dan


if you ever found the time, i would try this--hi noel, i would like to take your class. i cant afford for my children to take it. can i teach it to my children, providing i do not teach it to someone else?

that way, you would end up getting a straight answer, he might even say yes, and you are following copyright law, to the T, as he would have given you a partial, limited use of his copyright. i bet you that you could even show the fingering charts to your children with his permission.

i do not mean to belligerent, but just as griping is part of a discussion forum, so is speaking up for a friend, especially when they do not read these forums. i think your original post was a bit inaccurate, as it seems your main issue is time, money, and helping your family, not non-disclosure. i hope that my idea of talking to noel will be helpful, and that they will help you resolve the issues that seem to be more pertinent to your life rather than non-disclosure. if you have trouble getting a hold of him, please let me know, as i can help you get a hold of him for you. if i have the opportunity, when i see him next week, i will talk to him about this very insightful thread.

and yes, i do not mind non-disclsoure. i believe in the open share of ideas, but i also believe in social contracts and building relationships. as i posted in my other reply, noel's friendship is more important than me being allowed to photocopy some scale sheets. from what i have learned from noel, i am able to go to sessions and make friends, and very many people always remember me for my "clare tunes." just the other day, i met a wonderful accordion player who was my age from clare, who i enjoyed playing with very much. i would never have been able to play with him or share tunes if not for noel, and neither him with me--i learned a lot from noel in person, and he had learned a lot from noel's concerts and cd's.

Edited by david_boveri, 23 July 2008 - 02:16 AM.


#28 tombilly

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 05:58 AM

What's all this stuff about copyright??? Copyright and traditional music are completely at odds with each other. We wouldn't have a rich source of Irish or any other form of trad. music, if copyright was an issue in the past. Think carefully .. before you risk jeopardising the thing you love most.
It is reasonable for Noel Hill to ask students not to photocopy and distribute his actual written course material. But that's all it can possibly extend to.

#29 RP3

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:18 PM

The only things covered by the NHICS non-disclosure agreement for 2008 are the copying of any printed, audio, or video materials made during the class. The agreement is very simple and merely requires that you not re-distribute anything you get from the class -- videos, recordings and sheet music included. I doubt that the non-disclosure restrictions would apply to other family members. It's focus is only to inhibit the unauthorized commercial reuse of his performances, his teaching methodologies, and his arrangements of traditional Irish tunes.

Now, if we can stop kicking this dead horse, I'm going to pack my bags and head off for the Mid-West class. This is my twelfth year and I'm sure I'll enjoy it as much as I did my first one. And with luck, it won't be my last either!!

Ross Schlabach

#30 Michael Reid

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 02:28 PM

What's all this stuff about copyright??? Copyright and traditional music are completely at odds with each other.

Not exactly. You can copyright your arrangement of a traditional tune. See http://www.pdinfo.com/identify.htm -- "Anyone can create and copyright an arrangement of any music in the public domain. So even though music and lyrics may be in the public domain, there frequently are numerous arrangements of any public domain work under copyright protection."

#31 david_boveri

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:20 PM

The only things covered by the NHICS non-disclosure agreement for 2008 are the copying of any printed, audio, or video materials made during the class. The agreement is very simple and merely requires that you not re-distribute anything you get from the class -- videos, recordings and sheet music included. I doubt that the non-disclosure restrictions would apply to other family members. It's focus is only to inhibit the unauthorized commercial reuse of his performances, his teaching methodologies, and his arrangements of traditional Irish tunes.

Now, if we can stop kicking this dead horse, I'm going to pack my bags and head off for the Mid-West class. This is my twelfth year and I'm sure I'll enjoy it as much as I did my first one. And with luck, it won't be my last either!!

Ross Schlabach



What's all this stuff about copyright??? Copyright and traditional music are completely at odds with each other.

Not exactly. You can copyright your arrangement of a traditional tune. See http://www.pdinfo.com/identify.htm -- "Anyone can create and copyright an arrangement of any music in the public domain. So even though music and lyrics may be in the public domain, there frequently are numerous arrangements of any public domain work under copyright protection."


thank you both very much. your response, ross, validates my first thought! i'm glad. it makes things easier in the long run.

see you there, ross!

#32 tombilly

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:55 AM

Not exactly. You can copyright your arrangement of a traditional tune.


Perhaps, but the point is, the fact that you CAN do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD do something. Part of the very essence of a traditional music culture is that it is passed on freely, usually aurally, between generations. The process of ornamentation and variation, often on the fly, to vary what are often simple enough basic melodies, would also indicate that no 'arrangement' is likely to be unique - it's all be done before, many times.

#33 david_boveri

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:41 PM

Who did Noel Hill learn from?
his name escapes me,but I think it was the same man who was a neighbour of Paul Davis,from whom Paul also developed his Irish style.
we must remember that there was a time when Noel did not play the concertina,he too had to learn from people,he did not just invent his style of playing,it evolved from listening and watching others,getting information from other people.

was it not Paddy Murphy?


paddy murphy sounds about right, but i dont know. others might. beyond concertina, he also learned a lot of musical ideas from other instruments and based his fingering on recreating these ideas. but the across the row idea was of course not his own!

but i would like to point out that noel is not preventing anyone from learning from him or teaching others.

i know many of his students who teach, and you can bet that they all teach his system.

#34 lucyb

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:21 AM

Hi all,
I have signed up for a day workshop with Noel Hill this Saturday in Monaghan and have absolutely no idea what to expect...!
I only started learning in April but the people running the festival have assured me that Noel will be able to teach all abilities in the workshop.

Anyway was just wondering if anyone had any experience of what might be covered in the one day workshop as I am alternately excited and nervous at the moment!! :unsure:

Thanks!

Lucy

#35 David Levine

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:17 AM

Hello Lucy,
I can't think of a better teacher for somebody who is relatively new to the Anglo concertina.
He is precise in his approach and attentive to a student's needs.
He will make sure you have A before moving onto B. He's an inspired teacher.
He is also generous with his time, so you can ask about something you may not be sure of.
And finally, he is very, very intelligent and what he says makes total sense.
You're very lucky to be doing a workshop with him.
Please come back and tell us how it went for you.
Good luck,
David

#36 lucyb

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 05:00 AM

Hi David & everyone,

Well have been to the workshop and I think I have a lot of practising to do... ;)

When I arrived it was only me and 5 small children in the classroom, was v embarassed!! :rolleyes: Thankfully another grown-up arrived before the class started though which made me feel a bit better! Didn't really help myself by completely forgetting every tune I know as soon as he asked me to play something so he could assess my level - ended up playing the first one that came into my head which I didn't know that well and made a mess of it!! As expected the others were all much better than me (even the tiny boy who only came up to my waist!!) so Noel gave me a different tune to do on my own.
I found it strange to get used to his preferred fingering method but I guess that's just a matter of practise, it did seem to make sense though. Got a second tune in the afternoon then we were finished at about 3.30 or so.
It was quite a short day (about 3 1/2 hrs altogether), it would have been nice to have more time but I did get a lot of useful pointers and info so it was definitely worth going. Noel was very nice and very patient with me!

Lucy



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