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Mike W

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  1. Just a note to let you know that I have been teaching English Concertina at Music Under the Southern Cross for the last 6 years. It is a live-in School lasting 6 days starting on Sunday evening and going to Friday lunch time. This year we had 7 English concertina students and I was assisted for two days by Sarah Wade. For those interested in attending please go to www.celt.com.au and follow the link to the School. The School has classes in English Concertina, Harp, Scottish Fiddle, Irish Fiddle, Canadian Fiddle, Uilleann Pipes, Mandolin, Guitar, Tin Whistle and Traditional Singing. The classes are not for beginners. Students need to be able to play a jig or reel at dance speed as a minimum - except for the singers. The School offers intensive tuition with Australia's top players/teachers. It is held in Australia's summer which is also the Northern Hemisphere's winter - hint, hint. Concertina students are invited to join the closed facebook group Music Under the Southern Cross Concertinas. This binds students together and helps with the planning of my classes. I try and get students to learn a couple of tunes before the School so we can concentrate on ornamentation, variations, rhythm and fluency. Each year a tune is taught by ear but music is also provided after the hard work has been done. The School also offers slow jams, a variety of sessions and electives on topics like dance and rhythm and has a large lake and pool. Music Under the Southern Cross is Australia's premier school for teaching traditional music. The School in 2015 will run into the nearby Newstead Folk Festival where many tutors and students will be performing. The School will have it's own concert. Everyone is encouraged to attend so that all can continue playing their new tunes and enjoying the friendships developed. For more information go to the website or email me at music@celt.com.au .
  2. If you would like a break from the northern winter have a look at Music Under the Southern Cross. It is a traditional music school held in Australia in January. It is a live-in School providing full board that runs for one week. They have lessons in a variety of traditional instruments including the English Concertina. For more information go to the web site www.celt.com.au and follow the link to the School.
  3. I guess the gum leaf and the musical saw were added to the festival as there are very few opertunities to play these instruments in public. The Festival was described as quirky just like the gum leaf and saw. There are recordings of Australian gum leaf playing competitions and the playing is amazing. The festival also included a harmonica workshop that was taken over by the audience as players brought with them some rare and interesting harmonicas. Next year we will do the same with button accordions and concertinas. Should be fum.
  4. The National Windjam was held for the first time in Evandale, Tasmania last year. It attracted about 20 box players from mainland Australia and an equal number of players from Tassie. Most of the Tasmanians players thought that they were the last of their breed as they were all good solid dance players but sadly the dancing no longer happens. What we did find was that there were some very talented musicians all with a sense of humor. The winner of the National Button Box Championship had not played in public for about 20 years. This festival is open to all boxes, accordions, concertinas, gum leaves and saws and occurs every second year. Being the odd year this year, we are having a one day event called the nOtional Windjam Festival. I have just completed a website on the windjam. It can be found at www.celt.com.au/wind/index.htm
  5. If you happen to be in the Edinburgh area on your way up or back, please get in touch, and we can arrange to meet somewhere. I hope to get to the Arran event again this year - perhaps we'll meet there. Thanks, I'll keep your email and let you know when I am heading north. Edinburgh is a must Cheers, Mike Watts
  6. Thanks for all the help. I am now in a position to venture forward. I will definately be at the Sheffield sessions in early September. The Arran Islands sound great and i will try and make it there. Is there any advice on how I should do this ie take a car, tent (is other accommodation possible? Kilve sounds like a good thing to do before I leave. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will be in touch for more details
  7. I would like to add that every one has completely underestimated the Uilleann pipes. In fact, with Uilleann pipes, there should be three spaces left blank above them as nothing is more difficult, more frustrating, more prone to failure and sounds so terrible in the hands of a beginner than Uilleann Pipes. I have left out Bodhran for obvious reasons. So my list is autoharp whistle Keyboard hammered dulcimer accordion melodeon concertina pipes fiddle Uilleann Pipes
  8. I will be travelling to England in September and Scotland in October. I have been trying to find out if there is anywhere I can meet up with other English concertina players. I intend to get to Witney (without the H). Before that I will be in Sheffield and then Southern England. When I am in Scotland I intend to head north until I have to stop. Visiting Skye is a must. These are vague plans that can be varied. Being from Northern Tasmania there are very few opportunities for me to mix with and learn from other players. I am house trained but do enjoy a few bad habits.
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