Long Haired David Posted March 26, 2011 Share Posted March 26, 2011 (edited) I have just spent the day up at Mendlesham at Melodeons and More. I have a 20 key Anglo. As a beginner and a first time visitor, I thought I would give my impressions of the day. I arrived late due to major accident on my route across country so I was just in time to find out where I needed to be. I was to attend the morning and afternoon sessions provided by Mary Humphreys and Anahata. These were based on an 1850's manuscript. I had spent the last four weeks learning the pieces and was confident that I could play them all and also play 3 of them from memory (remember I only started playing at Christmas although I have played other instruments in the past and can sight read music). I waas thrilled to be in the company of these two accomplished musicians and was eager to get 'stuck in'. It didn't turn put that way unfortunately. What I was to find was that although Mary and Anahata were patient and clear in their instruction - the second that we all began to play, my mind became a blank! It was as if I couldn't read music and didn't know where any key on my 20 key Anglo was. They slowed everything down and for a while I was able to get somewhere. In the meantime, the most amazing sound of 26 concertinas (sorry - 25) played wonderful music. I learned a lot from their instruction though so it was overall a great morning. Lunchtime came and my chicken roll, bag of crisps and celery was just about enough - so maybe next year I will take my own lunch. Don't take this as a criticsm as they had a tight budget and I understood that. I braved a 1/2 pint of real ale - having been a lager man for more years than I care to remember. Then I went into the Céilidh. What an experience - 10 melodeons and Mary/Anahata playing concertinas - well what a sound! Then there was some dancing but the high point for me was the step dancing - especially the lady that danced to Davy Davy Knick Knack - she was tremendous. I then decided that I had to do something about my poor morning performance so went back to the concertina venue before time to do some practice to prove that I could play the pieces to come in the afternoon. This worked well for my self esteem. The session started and I didn't so too badly. However, once they got up to speed, my inexperience showed and I wasn't able to keep up with everything so I just did what I could (without the depression of the morning). However, the arthritis in my knuckles finally took over and proved that I can't do this for more than about one hour at a time. The final renditions of each tune were, however, amazing and I listened in wonder and hope for the future. It was interesting to have some melodeons in the group in the afternoon - they certainly add depth to the playing. I didn't stay for the Workshop showcase - which was where every group got to play their best pieces - mainly because if I had sat in, I would have faked it and that I couldn't do - and I already knew how good the group was. They asked for a survey form to be filled in - they got excellent in everything but when asked what did I learn, the only answer was - to practice more - smile. I have come home determined in a few things. Practice everyday for at least one hour and then maybe I will get there and to try and improve my instrument as it just wasn't capable of moving as quickly as I wanted to keep up with the beat - a cheap EBay Stagi Gremlin which costs £75 shouldn't be exposed to such things - grin. What is the saying? Next year in Medlesham! David Edited March 27, 2011 by Long Haired David Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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