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Question about workshops.....


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A question for workshop leaders...if you play one type of concertina, but are doing a workshop including all types...do you feel you can sympathize or understand issues that might arise and offer assistance on other types of concertina you don't play?

 

Because for me there is always a dilemma... for example: if (as an anglo payer) I go to a workshop run by someone who plays english concertina, would I get more out of it if they were an anglo player?

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An experienced player can give advice on all systems.

An anglo player can however give you tips on air control, other routes for what you are playing.

From any good musician you can learn, as I have done from Will Fly on alternative chords and base runs.

Al

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From my own experience issues such as rhythm and phrasing are universal topics for improvement. With Irish trad music workshops over the years I have seen may players who in all likelihood are sitting for the first time in front of an "authority" on the instrument. The thing for me about an English concertina player attending an Anglo workshop is that they don't "have" to change bellows or rows for some notes. I have watched a few players on English concertina become enlightened by the fact that bellows direction strongly influences rhythm. I have even sat down with a very good player of an English system, explained which buttons and push and pull, and noticed a more "Irish' sound occur when tried.

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"All systems" workshops, by their very nature, tend to be about aspects of music or musicianship rather than being specific to a particular instrument. Most of the ideas you will gain from such a workshop should be broadly applicable to any instrument, not just concertinas (and even less a particular system of concertina). So, for example, an "all systems" workshop on adding chords to tunes will probably look at the general principles of chords and harmony, whereas one on the same topic specifically for a particular system will probably go on to look at how these can be applied to that particular instrument and the sort of issues which can arise.

 

Of course, if the teacher plays the same instrument as you do then you may pick up some tips through observation, but that's a bonus. Don't be put off if the tutor plays a different system - the question should be whether the topic is of interest and whether you believe the teacher has something to impart on that topic.

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A question for workshop leaders...if you play one type of concertina, but are doing a workshop including all types...do you feel you can sympathize or understand issues that might arise and offer assistance on other types of concertina you don't play?

Your question makes me wonder why a person would do an "all systems" workshop if they have no experience with more than one system. 'Cause then it might be a workshop about some general musical concepts, but not about how to effectively make use of the different systems.

 

I remember a workshop in which I was teaching a particular tune, and it became crucial for me to be able to recommend and demonstrate specific fingerings for both C/G and G/D anglo, even though my main instrument (after my voice) is the English. I.e., there were individuals in the group who simply weren't at a level where they could instantly work out a comfortable sequence of buttons and push-pull on their own.

 

Because for me there is always a dilemma... for example: if (as an anglo payer) I go to a workshop run by someone who plays english concertina, would I get more out of it if they were an anglo player?

I think what you're really asking is whether an instructor who plays only the English could be as much help to you as someone whose main squeeze is the anglo. Almost certainly you -- and particularly you, based on your descriptions of your own odyssey of learning the anglo (and melodeon) -- would get more out of a workshop run by a competent anglo instructor than one run by an equally competent instructor who can play only the English... although that would partly depend on what particular concepts and skills were being emphasized. But a good teacher who plays the English and has spent at least some time contemplating (and even better, experimenting with) anglo-specific issues could be more help to you than an anglo-only player who is not as good a teacher.

 

And while a lot depends on the concepts being emphasized, I'm sure it's important that the instructor be able to help individuals who may be having difficulty realizing a particular concept. E.g., if what's being taught is phrasing, it's not enough for the instructor to say "make it sound like this." (S)he needs to be able to teach how to "make it sound like this."

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Went to a basic irish appreciation workshop at Southwell at the weekend run by the group called Tri.this was for all instruments and i have to say so far it's the best workshop i've been to.The group were very good teachers and i knew most of the tunes they used,and i would say this is the nub of it.bd

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Hi

 

Have just been reading through this interesting subject.

 

I do run concertina workshops (Jubilee Concertinas) and I play English concertina (although I have attended a great beginners workshop on Anglo by Brian Peters so I know one end of the instrument from the other). I also have a Crane duet which I am just trying to get to grips with.

 

When we have the workshops we will play a tune and then discuss the various difficulties of each instrument when playing, such as pull/push for Anglos, location of notes, ease of playing etc and it is surprising what we pick up from each other. I do try to cover all aspects but obviously I do know more about the English. However we are very much a self help group and there is normally more than one player of each system so they can help each other. Concertina players I find enjoy their instrument so much that they are more than willing to help each other.

 

At big festivals there are normally enough players around to warrant individual workshops for each system but smaller events need to combine all three.

 

I am hoping to run a 'Concertina Cafe' at Saltburn Festival this year (12 - 14 August) on the Saturday and Sunday mornings where players of all systems can get together and chat about concertinas, play a few tunes, and people who haven't played before can have a bit of 'hands on' as I have a few boxes that can be used for this. I have approached John and the organisers of Saltburn Festival about this and am hoping they can find room for me. The more people I can encourage to take up and enjoy and love this wonderful instrument the better. If anyone else is going to Saltburn, do you think its a good idea?

 

I do go to other workshops and have to admit, I always come away the better for it, I have picked something new up, or 'discovered' the way to do something better. This does happen with workshops for all systems (or I find it does). I find they both have their good points.

 

Keep squeezing

Angie

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