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  1. Best Practice: Inspiration and Ideas for Traditional Musicians Practical Advice for Adult, Self-Taught Musicians Available from Amazon, in Paperback ($19.99) and Kindle ($9.99) and through direct order Free Shipping for U.S. direct orders via Media Mail "Practicing" is a Practice Turn practicing into a joyful activity you engage in for its own sake. Work Efficiently, Progress Faster Practice more effectively, using the advice of great teachers and scientific learning. Become Your Own, Best Teacher Identify the traits of the best teachers, and use them to teach yourself. Integrate Mind and Body Learn practical methods that will help you play with ease and fluency. Start with an Intention Begin each day’s practice with a concept to help you stay focused and positive. Play More Musically Learn to make your playing more musical, engaging, and listenable. A Chapter for Every Day You Practice 197 self-contained chapters each offer a single idea or technique. Read one whenever you practice, or once a week, or whenever you want. Read them in order, or pick one that looks interesting. Musicians' Praise for Best Practice "This is a fabulous book! Judy makes us want to apply her methods, often right after reading a sentence. The bonus is that the tools she gives us for practicing music can really apply to myriad areas of our lives. This is the kind of book I imagine every musician will enjoy." Liz Carroll "Filled to the brim with practical insights, solid advice and wisdom that will benefit all traditional musicians, regardless of instrument, style, genre or skill level. There are vast wells of information in these pages that you can dip a toe, swim or dive deeply into. This is a rich and finely wrought work and I highly recommend it." Happy Traum "A very lively, entertaining and friendly book which I'm sure will be a boon to players everywhere. Contains a wealth of exceptionally useful advice for musicians of any level." Kevin Burke "A wealth of ideas and tools for making progress as a musician, all presented - in keeping with the book's own advice - in small, clear, achievable steps." Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, founding editor, Acoustic Guitar magazine, author, The Complete Singer-Songwriter "A veritable bible of a practice guide. Players of all levels and all styles will benefit from reading this very well thought out, very thorough and accessible approach." Natalie Haas "A highly organized, empowering approach to the practice of practice." Shannon Heaton "As a resource for any musician who wants to improve on their own, this book has it covered. A treasure trove of ideas in a concise and easy-to-access format." David Leonhardt, renowned jazz pianist "Having this guidebook is a godsend. I highly recommend it for all musicians, regardless of instrument, level or genre." Mary Flower, award-winning guitarist Buy direct: wwww.judyminot.com/bestpractice [free shipping on U.S. orders] or order through Amazon
  2. Hi all, might be a long post coming up so bear with me! I recently acquired a new-to-me Rochelle and have been enjoying the last week or so, practicing an hour or two a day. I'm working through the beginning of Gary Coover's books Easy Anglo 1-2-3 and Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style. I'm planning on setting up a couple lessons with a teacher soon, but wanted to plunk around for a little while first to get a sense of what challenges I might be facing. I have a feeling a lot of my questions will be addressed when it comes time for one-on-one lessons, but this community seems like a wealth of talent and experience. I have some questions that I'd love input / feedback on from a concertina player's perspective - thanks for anything you have to share Practice Questions 1. What is a good "structure" for an hour-long practice session? Currently I start by playing a few of the "easier" songs from Gary's books to nail in the muscle memory. As they've become easier, I focus on consistent note length, tempo, and general "smoothness". Sometimes I see how fast I can or can't play something. The bulk of the session is then moving farther "right" in the practice books, getting to the next song down the list that I can't play easily yet. I enjoy that Gary's books seem to slowly introduce new skills with each song - slowly adding the G row, then the pinky finger, and so on. 2. Should I be working in music theory time? And is learning to play solely via tablature going to hurt me in the future? I'd like to make sure I'm "learning the instrument" and not just "learning songs". I have experience reading music / playing music from trombone in school for 6-7 years, but this instrument is, well, quite a bit different from low brass. Instrument Questions 3. How do I not run out of air? It seems like I'm constantly ending up with the concertina "closed". Maybe it's just the beginner songs I'm playing, but I don't often have enough "pull" time to compensate for how much "pushing" I do. I end up taking "breaths" via the air button between phrases, but this inserts a big pause into the music and isn't very smooth. 3a. How do I compensate for the lack of air pressure when using the air button while playing notes? I try to fix #3's problem by using the air button while playing notes, but then whatever note I'm playing loses a LOT of power. I'm not very good at compensating by simultaneously pulling/pushing harder -- is this the right approach? 4. One or two of my middle row buttons on the right side sounds very "tinny" when I play it - is this an instrument problem? The fourth button "down" in the right-hand C row has a sloppy buzz to it when I play - is this a function of a relatively cheap concertina, or could this be an instrument repair problem? I could record it tonight if it makes it easier. It's a little disappointing, I must admit. **EDIT** 5. Totally forgot to ask - the left side of my concertina sounds SO much louder than the right side. Is this expected? It seems obvious that the deeper notes would be louder than the thinner upper register, but is there a way to compensate for this while playing? Watching youtubes and such, I haven't noticed the low end completely overpowering the high end, but when I sit and play it definitely seems like the low notes are really "in front" of the higher ones. That's pretty much what I've been dealing with for a week now. I appreciate any advice y'all might have to share.
  3. Even though my teens sometimes roll their eyes when I practice the concertina, I never thought my faithful dog would mind. But lately when I start to play, he comes over and shoves his nose between my palm and the instrument, effectively interrupting my flow. He stops when I tell him to. Still. I do feel judged.
  4. I am currently rehearsing with a couple of different bands, Squeezers and Ein Lanu Z'man. For both we have a pretty regular rehearsal schedule. Now I am realistic that we have busy lives and most of us make our living in other ways than musicians. Some of us are retired and some are young and lighting out on our own. But taking music seriously to improve and develop is not just daily practice. And putting yourself out there is more than a YouTube video. Especially if you want to develop yourself and your playing outside yourself. So I am amazed, especially with booked performances and many opportunities to perform ahead, how people don't show up for a rehearsal, don't call to let you know, and then don't communicate after as to why they were not there. I guess I have officially hit alter-kocker status that this irks me to the point of a posting. just saying... rss
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