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    Professional storyteller who sometimes includes music in her programs
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    southeastern Michigan

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LoiS-sez's Achievements

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  1. Many words of wisdom here and might even help me! I especially agree with Tradewinds Ted's "amateurs tend to practice a tune until they get it right, while professionals practice a tune until they can't get it wrong." He's also right about how we forgive ourselves in practice. In storytelling it's easy to do the check your memory idea given here for memorizing music. Music memorization was always a problem for me and even if I learn something, it's not something that stays with me after a gap in time, unlike "running my mouth." However once learned, re-learning is always easier. My reason for bringing my own field of storytelling into the picture is because I remember another storyteller was criticized for insufficient practice by someone who was a classical guitar player. She gave some kind of ratio, don't remember exactly but maybe 4 hrs. for a piece? Learning a story to tell, as opposed to memorizing word for word, is far less and I suspect we musical amateurs are comparable when practicing until we get it right. I've also found a few other musical problems not fitting just the practice end. My mother was trained to teach music. Wisely she didn't try to teach me, BUT she still would call out from the next room "That's not right!" I could hear my own mistakes. Didn't need to think she was, too. When playing for others somehow my "they just want to enjoy this and have fun" storytelling attitude disappears and I know ""That's not right!" shows . . . especially if anybody in the audience is a musician. When playing at our local folk society there's a bunch of them. It also doesn't help that, like you, David, my internal metronome is entirely too forgiving. My storytelling concentration plays to my audience. The talk here about focus and concentration shows I dare not do that with music. On another forum for a different instrument I asked essentially this same question a month ago. Someone said he tells his students "to avoid two things when they make mistakes in front of an audience: don't stop (break rhythm), and don't change your facial expression. These are dead giveaways, and if you can avoid them your audience won't even notice many small errors. Of course, some things are too big to hide, but this will cover many of the small ones. And if you play the wrong note or chord, but it doesn't sound bad, do the same thing the next time through if you are playing multiple verses; for your audience it becomes just part of a unique arrangement!" Unfortunately both that rhythm problem and a too expressive face tend to work against me on his advice. Thank you for this discussion. I plan to do a condensed version of it and put it on as a further look at the problem on the other forum. At least I have an excuse I can always give: Now you know why I'm a storyteller and not a musician!
  2. Love this resource! Thanks. Wish there were more English lyrics, but they're easily found. "some easy tunes: a Dutch 100 page pdf online document with free sheet music tunes Shanties some famous international tunes http://hjj.home.xs4a...mansliedjes.pdf texts of some tunes can be found on the net."
  3. Sounds like "watchful waiting" is in order until it's just to much to handle. Guess those of us with it need to stay in the loop to learn when these "new and better treatments" are available. My husband just doesn't understand why I'm not eager to meet his surgeon.
  4. I'm still finding that when I sing and play I can't get too complicated, but playing a 1/3 above or below the melody is a simple way to give a "fairly sparse accompaniment" that supports without dominating the melody voice. For my 30 b it's right next to the note you're playing from low A to high E on the left hand if you omit the accidentals and middle B to high A on the right hand. It's the same principle as simple vocal harmony. Maybe this is more basic than you want.
  5. Geoff, I'm interested. A local hospital claims they can do the surgery and my husband's after me to see the surgeon who did his elbow and knee replacement. Saying there's only 2 or 3 doctors in the world able to correct it could be a way of saying I'll live with it. Dirge, call me chicken, but I'd like somebody to give me a local anesthetic before trying your method. Better yet anesthetize me and then somebody else whack it into position. Didn't know I had any Vikings in my genetic makeup, must have been invaders to the Celtic Isles on my mother's side. Nothing like a delayed genetic present. Why didn't they just make me blonde?
  6. Doesn't it slow them down a lot? You say they're very good players, but it sounds like the concertina form of Hunt and Peck Typing.
  7. In prowling the Ergonomics forum I see the pinky or little finger has often been discussed, but not to the extent that might help some people with a very specific condition. My problem was first treated as Trigger Finger, but the therapist noticed it didn't match that condition and wasn't responding to treatment for Trigger Finger. She was familiar with a genetic condition called Dupuytren's Contracture and suggested I see a doctor to be evaluated. Yup, that's what I have. I need to go back over the Locked Little Finger discussion and contact the person who said his little finger tended to lock in a curl. Perhaps he's in the early stages of either Trigger Finger or Dupuytren's Contracture since he said he was able to flick it free. I can't do that. Dupuytren's Contracture comes on slowly, bending the pinky and sometimes the ring finger so that it can't be straightened. Currently there are 3 different treatments. I tried the least invasive. Needle aponeurotomy had my hand numbed and a hypodermic needle tried to divide the diseased tissue. At first it seemed successful. Perhaps I didn't exercise enough afterwards, but I'm inclined to believe the splint I was supposed to wear while asleep was the problem. It was too large and my finger would slip out of it. Another is collagen injections into the damaged tissue and then manually straighten it. Seems to me like the same problem might occur. Surgery can remove the tissue in the palm affected by the disease. This gives a more complete joint release than the other two methods, but may require therapy and takes longer to recover. Don't know if this information will help anyone, but I know of a fellow storyteller/puppeteer with this condition. Both of us are inclined just to adapt if at all possible.
  8. WOW! Thanks for the suggestion, Jim! (None of the "Smileys" do justice to my excitement.) This really gives me hope. I confess the concertina is not my main instrument and while I was away from it for the duration of my other health battle I just wasn't up to it. My little finger on my left hand can manage the keyboard on my computer, but just is too puny on the concertina, added to a constant feeling of uncertainty with it. That is a condition very unlikely to change. I just went to my instrument to see about the hand bars. I'm sure it can be done. Added to that I'm noticing that if I want to work my ring finger extra, that also might be a way to adapt. I did a check to see if this genetic hand condition has ever been discussed here. It hasn't. Theoretically it can be treated, but the one treatment I tried failed and I'm not eager to try the other more invasive methods. Let's face it, there's a reason 30 b. concertinas exist and, now that pushing the bellows is again doable, I'd love to be able to have that full range. The F# and everything from B down is where I have problems. Six buttons out of 30. I'd take this discussion over to the Ergonomics forum, but have continued to find some really helpful suggestions on this since the Glued Ends discussion started. Thank you to all who have had suggestions and who knows where this will lead?
  9. Thanks, Jim, I should have thought of that. Also it's so hard to give up any accidentals. <SIGH!> Ted, you make a good point about the G/D vs. C/G. It all keeps coming back to the point of trying out a 20 B to see if this is worth the switch. Back when I 1st started this I knew 1 condition -- my little finger on the left -- was a continuing problem. The other problem -- my strength after a health problem -- is showing all signs of returning to normal so I really need to see if transposing might help. There are limitations on my instrument for that, but if it's doable, it would be worthwhile.
  10. Graham, Are you talking about the Marcus Traveller? Unless the pound drops radically opposite the dollar, it's definitely beyond my budget. Not that I might not save towards it if it's the right 1 for me. I'd need to try it to be sure and doubt there's 1 in the U.S. Can't understand how it manages that many keys, but it certainly makes me drool! Don't understand the faint pictures in the corner. Looks like 3 rows of 15 on 1 side and 2 with 10 on the other yet says 21 keys (maybe the 21st is the air button which I didn't count in the rows). G/D might be a bit low for singing with it. I prefer to have an instrument that makes that possible, too, as I sometimes do use it that way.
  11. Hi Ted, Thanks for the photo. I hated to ask my husband for another as he's currently quite busy. Now I see why we didn't make sense to each other. Mine has the buttons and hand grip at the narrow ends with the pointed parts of the hexagon at the sides. In other words each of us would say the other one's concertina is made sideways! I think my little 10 button is a mini. It's in terrible shape and not worth repair since that gluing was apparently the only way to attach the bellows to some low quality wood. That's a shame as the bellows are both attractive and in better working order than the buttons. It's cheaply made, but it wasn't useless as it shows me what's possible. My 30 button isn't a good match for my hand problem. If I continue with it, either I need to transpose pieces to avoid my damaged pinky or continue paying close attention any time it's used so I can reach sufficiently. In the meantime I want to plan to move to either a 20 or 10 b. I need to consider which will be sufficient for whatever pieces I might play. If the 10 is an Anglo that's 20 tones. If it's fully chromatic that's an octave + 7 which should be adequate. Chords are optional as I really could be satisfied with just the melody. I found chords or even just simple harmony took a lot of concentration. I would have thought a mini too puny looking at photos showing extended bellows dipping like a hose, but even in terrible shape my little beat up 10 b shows this isn't necessarily true.
  12. They are lovely. I didn't think this was a mini, but might just be. Thank you, Ted.
  13. Hi Ted, Saw your email after the Ebay auction ended. It did give me an idea though about Ebay. Rather than just rely on Ebay reputations which may not be about concertinas, if the seller has a C-net reputation that's good they probably are reputable. I'm a rarity as my 1st concertina was bought online being a cheap Chinese concertina. It was enough to show I enjoy the instrument and needed to get a good one. My Stagi would probably be good enough, but that little finger problem has me thinking less may be more in my case. I'm getting my strength back, but I don't expect the little finger to improve and even before this noticed it caused hesitation reaching F sharp, B flat, and all those notes below C. Maybe I just need to be more selective in my material or transpose it. Transposing is something I do a lot for my mountain dulcimer to keep my singing in vocal range which is easy in C.
  14. Thank you, Wolf! Foolishly figured Search covered all the site. About the time you were posting, I was prowling Castiglione online. C-net didn't post your reply until 2 hours later. Found two incidents in my own search. I'd say the write-up here and those two both say they are both a business and an individual which is the best resource we may have locally, but proceed with caution and be sure you're satisfied with what you want to buy before you buy it. Yes, the promised set-up of Canadian list-member, Troy, also gives me concern about their repair department. It's worrisome that Troy needed to resort to the Better Business Bureau for even a partial refund to pay for set-up to be done by someone else. It's rather like buying via Ebay. It doesn't leave me feeling as secure as I might wish. I suppose any business with a large enough clientele and years of operation can expect a few people dissatisfied. I know Elderly Instruments, which I highly regard, sends business their way, but probably because Elderly doesn't have people highly knowledgeable when it comes to concertinas and accordions. Accordions are Castiglione's strength. Concertinas are an after-thought they carry simply because it's a relative of the accordion. When it comes to button boxes/melodeons, they don't even want to be bothered. This lack of priority is important, also the fact that their return policy is only for credit toward another instrument. Their website homepage mentions "We have an exchange policy - Inquire for details." I don't recall if that was what was offered to Troy, but it definitely came up in the other one star reviews at http://www.yelp.com/biz/castiglione-warren and http://www.yellowpages.com/warren-mi/mip/castiglione-accordions-11771037?lid=11771037 . Those reviews and Troy's experience documented here are the only reviews online. In all fairness, I know people tend to write only either complaints or glowing reviews, while locally they've a good reputation.
  15. Over on the Construction and Repair forum I'm asking about Glued Ends, complete with photos. Might anybody have heard of 10 button concertinas? 18 or 20 buttons seem to be as small as I can find. There are no markings on this little concertina I found in an antique store. It's not in the greatest shape (fortunately the price wasn't high) and I'm wondering if repairing it is worthwhile, but love it's light weight and easy action.
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