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Steve Wilson

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Posts posted by Steve Wilson

  1. Thanks Alex, very interesting. This is a futile mission you're following you know, there's no future in concertinas! Just joking, what you're doing is great but as you know I think an inexpensive midi concer would be the way to entice new young players. You are the sort of fella that could possibly make that happen. Perhaps you should think about that along side your traditional concertina creative adventure.

  2. G'day Kevin,


    Welcome to the world of concertinas and concertina enthusiasts. We are special you know and so will you be if you pursue your desire to play a concer.


    After playing an english concertina for a squillon years I have very recently acquired a duet concertina, a very nice Wheatstone McCann system instrument. I've long played the english as an instrument for song accompaniment for which I think it is well suited but as Jim has pointed out the english does have limitations. However for song accompaniment I don't think the limitations are all that relevant. The reason I acquired the duet was first, it became available, and then to pander to a desire to play accompaniments that require a different, more complex approach. And also to play instrumental music that requires more of a piano type approach.


    After two months of fairly concerted effort with the duet I feel it's quite difficult, mind you I'm not a natural muso, I have to work at it. I've a few tunes/songs up but none very tight or sophisticated. Getting each side working independently is quite a challenge. That's my perspective so far.


    With the english system, for song accompaniment, I think you would be able to move ahead much more quickly, just with a simple melodic line to start with and then later with some chordal accompaniment. Keep in mind if you become a concertina tragic you will very likely want to upgrade to a quality instrument. They really do make a huge difference to your playing and quality instruments hold their value, when you die your children will be able to cash in for very little loss. With duet, the Hayden system seems to be the popular option these days, a very logical system but quality instruments are difficult to acquire unless you are prepared to wait years and pay the large price for a brand new one. Mind you I did that for an english and don't regret it one bit. Vintage duets of different systems are available of course and I'm content to plow on with the McCann, a quite manageable system.


    But if I were starting again I think I'd still go for an english with the ability over an anglo to play in any key. Of course you can just play one side of a duet in any key..... but no, if I were starting again I'd still go for an english.


    I hope my experience gives you something to reflect on and some guidance.


    Cheers Steve.

  3. Many thanks, it was a pleasure listening to your fine playing. Thanks for making the video, there was some effort involved in that but it demonstrated very well meantone compared to ET. Liked how you demonstrated some of the dodgy bits where notes can clash. I do enjoy playing my 1/5 meantone english concer.

  4. Hi Matthew,


    If you get the time could you record and share some of those "R&B pop covers" you've been playing? I'm always keen to hear outside the box stuff on concer.


    I sometimes busk, always for charity, and for concertina exposure and really enjoy the whole experience. It's good to have a sign indicating your charity and also get approval to fund raise. I find people are very generous and they enjoy the music and the concertina.


    An acquaintance has just returned from the US with his new Wakker english baritone and he's delighted. And my Parnassus is a dream.



  5. Hello Simon,


    Nice to hear your keen for some concertina song accompaniment. I guess C/G is just a squeak too high. Good luck with your search, I'll look forward to enjoying a song or two sometime.




  6. I think most parents, especially if they were not very musical themselves, would be happy if their child had the opportunity and was keen to learn to play a concertina, be it a cheap or a quality instrument. As such parents and child they wouldn't even have a concertina philosophy and it would be wrong to try to steer the child toward another instrument. If the child was gifted they may graduate to other instruments later on, but hopefully they would still play a concertina sometimes.

  7. Thanks Robert, Don and Alex for your responses. Never realized Alex that plastic could be so expensive.


    Robert, thanks for your input, obviously you've put a lot or effort into the development of a midi concertina. Sadly 50 euro (without bellows, or profit), is too expensive to be a GAME CHANGER.


    And Don, thanks for alerting me about Paul's "gadget".


    Now neither Robert, Don or anyone, have responded to my suggestion that a midi concertina could be battery powered and have a speaker, just as the old Casio keyboards did, little toys almost that kids learned to play "Twinkle, twinkle little star" on. Could a midi concertina be set up like that? Or is that an android sort of thing? Sorry, I'm ignorant about this sort of thing.


    Anyway, I'm beginning to realize perhaps I'm indulging in some wishful thinking. But perhaps this will go on the back burner for down the track. I believe a cheap concertina (and it would have to be a midi) would be a GAME CHANGER.

  8. In Alex Wade's post in the "Concers in Public Education" thread she is certainly of the opinion that the instruments need to be real concertinas, not apps on iphones and I agree with her. She says the kids were fascinated with these little magic boxes, doesn't seem like she had to battle uphill too much. So a cheap concertina would have to have bellows and buttons that go in and out and a degree of quality to avoid frustration as has been pointed out. But it could be mostly plastic, possibly even the bellows, and have some sort of small internal speaker and take a couple of small batteries for a power source. I'm not sure how the bellows movement would relate to the sound produced, there are some among us who know about that and it could be a development problem.


    Actually I'm totally ignorant about how a midi concertina works so I hope a few involved in their development might add to this thread and either confirm or dispel any merit to this proposal. Perhaps I am just indulging in wishful thinking.

  9. I've just re-read the recent "Electronic(Midi)Concertina - Current Options" thread, probably should have done it before posting above. Seems there are midi concers available but probably not very cheap. From that thread I gathered a goal is to make a realistic instrument with the sound and feel of a traditional concertina. But it seems to me Robert's idea of a very cheap instrument, not much more than a toy, without dynamics would be the GAME CHANGER. Hundreds of concertina playing grandparents worldwide would be buying their grandchildren these concertinas and schools and community groups could afford them. Children who excelled could upgrade (be upgraded - thanks Granpa) to more sophisticated midi instruments and probably eventually "real" concertinas. A few years after a cheap concertina hit the market there could be thousands of children worldwide mucking around with concertinas.


    Can we make it happen? It's probably mostly up to you fellas doing the development work but can the rest of us in our concertina community assist in any way?

  10. Hi All,


    If you haven't seen the thread "Concertina in Public Education" in the Teaching and Learning forum I urge you to have a look. What Alex Wade has been doing with children is fantastic but with limited reach because as she says "It really boils down to the cost of instruments, so we need to get inventing!"


    A cheap concertina, certainly less than $100, hopefully a fair bit less, would be a game changer. I know a few of us C-net folk have been involved in developing midi concers and also Concertina Connection have done some development work. But I don't think they have one available yet, couldn't find a price at least. It seem though from what I've read in these forums and elsewhere that a midi concertina is pretty close to being sorted out. Commercial development is probably the bigger issue.


    So where are we up to with the development of this GAME CHANGER? Can we as a group facilitate development? Can the few few involved with development of midi concertinas get together and pool resources? (IP issues I know). What is needed to get things rolling? Funding? Industry partners?


    For the sake of a big future for concertinas I'm starting this thread to hopefully get things rolling. Ideas please.



  11. Thanks Alex for your detailed account of what you've been doing. Having been involved for many years myself in educating children with music I agree completely that motivating them is not a problem and I think what you are doing is fantastic. Thanks too for your thoughts on how concertina education in schools could proceed and yes, it boils down to the cost of the instruments.





    It(hopefully) doesn't help immediately, but in 2008 when I redid my will, I left an amount (I think 5% of my value at time of death) to the ICA to be used as a fund for the encouragement of concertina playing among young people.


    Perhaps if more of the members of Concertina.net and the concertina fraternity did likewise, we could start a ball rolling.


    I realise that by announcing this, I have made myself a target for assassination by members of concertina.net to release the money sooner :(


    I'm in contact with my local underworld group to organize a hit. Hopefully they have UK connections. 5% eh, bravo, I hope you're a billionaire Paul. I'll consider a similar bequest.

  13. The Anglo is optimised for playing simple melodies by ear with a simple accompaniment. It was designed as the common man's instrument.


    However, they are expensive and quite delicate, and young people usually want to hear something that plays the sort of music they already know: pop, rock, rap, etc.


    But it is possible to play pop, rock and mmmmm, maybe rap on a concertina! If concertinas are to have an expanded player base into the future then the musical genres played will certainly go beyond what is generally played these days. Yes they are expensive, hence the need for a cheap midi concer.


    At the cost of a pizza for a decent one, the harmonica is by far the best choice. Even a kid who isn't interested in simple melodies will probably want to chug, wail and bend on a harp.


    Harmonicas are great little cheap, portable instruments, easy to play but you can't sing while playing one. And they're not concertinas. Here we are looking at the possibilities for teaching concertina in the classroom situation.

  14. eskin, what you've done is fantastic and I do hope it takes off. I see your app as a great practice resource for a student who borrows a concertina at school or at their music lessons. When they go home they could practice on an iPad. However I think to get enthused a student would have to have had a go on a real concertina first, albeit possibly a midi one if they happen sometime, soon hopefully.


    If cheapies become available and lots of kids start playing (I'm a hopeless dreamer) then it would drive demand for your app. I can't see much happening otherwise. If I'm wrong well that would be great, kids pestering their parents for $400 concertinas after playing a 99c iPad one. Good luck with it.

  15. I take my hat off to all involved in the development of midi concertinas. Great work is being done by the likes of Bruce, Robert and Jim and others I'm sure. I encourage you all to pursue this midi project with urgency cause I want one for Christmas.


    What Alex Wade has been doing with primary school children is exciting.

    Concertina In Public Education

    Started by Noel Ways, 24 Apr 2016


    Cheap concertinas and motivated teachers could advance concertina usage significantly

  16. I have long pondered how to get young people, children and teenagers, to take up concertina. In Australia in proportion to the player base there are hardly any young concertina players and apart from Ireland I imagine it's much the same for the rest of the world.


    Thanks for posting these links Noel, and thanks Alex if you read this for pioneering your little program which has the potential to significantly change the future for concertina usage and appreciation. THIS COULD BE A GAME CHANGER IF A FEW OF US WERE TO BECOME MOTIVATED. In Australia schools usually jump at the chance for community involvement, community members coming in to run programs. There must be a few retired teachers among us and in fact almost any of the reasonably accomplished among us could do what Alex is doing if the program was structured and with the necessary resources, recordings, sheet music (not to mention concertinas, see next paragraph).


    Of course the main thing that needs to happen is for a cheap concer to become available and so it would have to be a midi concertina. There have been posts before about midi concers, most recently

    Electronic (Midi) Concertina - Current Options?

    Started by Bruce Thomson, 21 Mar 2016 icon_tag.pngMIDI electronic


    Great work is being done by the likes of Bruce, Robert and Jim and others I'm sure. I encourage you all to pursue this midi project with urgency cause I want one for Christmas.


    Cheap concertinas and motivated teachers could advance concertina usage significantly.

  17. What music type am I? I'd say I'm pretty much a plodder.


    In the music strata I'm a level below the top, those that have music in their bones, who can just feel it and consequently express it in their playing. There are lots of 'em in these forums and a few I know in the posts above. In the level below we second tier ones, well speaking of myself, have to work hard at it. Yes we have the music in us to a degree but for me it takes a fair bit of effort and a lot of practice to work up a song with an accompaniment more complex than a simple melody line or simple chording. It's not uncommon for me to work on a new song for two or three months before I consider I'm ready to perform it. And I practice a lot. In fact due to fairly recent health issues I'm driven, totally besotted with the concertina, and driven in aspiration of perhaps one day squeaking over into the lower part of that upper strata of musos who have it in their bones.

  18. I can't seem to watch one of your videos without wondering just a little if I should have chosen the English system after all...


    Bob Michel

    Near Philly


    Oh no Bob, your anglo playing is a delight. Well on second thought you could acquire and play an english as well! After the NFF at Easter I've become inspired to have a go at anglo. I do play a button accordion so anglo should be a snack, the only concern being spreading one's time too thinly. That's why I stopped playing accordion and banjo and all the rest of 'em.

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