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Best video tutor for learning C/G cross row?


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Apologies if this has been discussed to death already, but I did do a search and didn't find what I was looking for.


First off, I don't play concertina-- C#/D box and mandolin/banjo-- BUT a friend who plays a very nice Tedrow C/G comes over from time to time to work on tunes-- I hesitate to call them "lessons" (though she does) because all I do is go over tunes with her and occasionally make suggestions such as, "You may want to try a roll on the high G there"-- something along those lines. In fact, we have a "lesson" tonight.


NOW- she's doing very well, and has started asking questions (very good questions) about ornamentation particular to the concertina. While I appreciate her faith in me, I have explained that I'm not much help there since I don't freakin' play the thing and have suggested more than once that she is at the stage in her playing where she would benefit greatly from attending a summer school.


So far as I know, she's taught herself from books and I don't know which one-- and she has mentioned possibly going to a Noel Hill school, which I think is a great idea. BUT-- from talking to some who have gone I know what's in store for those who play on the home rows, and from reading posts here I gather that's what John Williams teaches in his concertina tutor (I started off with John's accordion video, then of course bolloxed it all up by switching to D box...).


Here's my question: Which (if any) of the tutors out there teach fingering that is at least close to some of the things Noel teaches? I read about the non-disclosure forms, right... Again, I totally acknowlege my inadequacy as a concertina teacher, that was never my aim (she originally took mandolin lessons from me)-- I'd just like to be able to point her in the right direction and spare her some of the discouragement that many face when they get to the Noel Hill system. Irish music can be discouraging enough already without finding out everything you know is wrong!


I haven't totally ruled out concertina for myself some day-- maybe when I retire....


She was blown away by some session recordings I sent her of Edel Fox from East Durham a few years back. I really don't know whether she uses the same fingerings as Noel, her phrasing doesn't sound the same but I don't imagine too many players would be disappointed to be able to play like her!


Thanks folks,



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hey rick, welcome to concertina.net.


as of right now, there is no book that i am aware of that teaches anything close to Noel's style of concertina playing. i myself learned from the book you mention, and had to unlearn everything in it to learn Noel's system. that being said, it helped me get started, but i do not use anything in my own playing that i learned in that book.


in my years of learning music, i have found direct exposure to experienced players essential. concertina technique can be especially problematic, because there are just so many factors that go into playing a single tune. it is not easy to find concertina players at all, never mind a good teacher. personally, i think Noel's camp is an unbelievable opportunity to immerse oneself in an instrument so rare in the United States.


Edel Fox is one of Noel's most famous students. her basic G scale is one note different than Noel's, and i'm not sure how she approaches entire tunes. if she was excited about Edel, she'll be just as excited by Noel live.


if she would like to learn from Noel and is nervous about being unlearning everything she has learned, my advice would be to sign up for this year! an extra year of reinforcing "other" habits will not make it easier in the future. i still wish i had gone my first year of playing rather than my second.


if your friend is interested, pleases show her this video, below, of me playing. i started with the same book she did, and then went to Noel. even though i had to unlearn a lot of things, i think i may be better off for the experience. 7 years later, this is where i am in my playing. everything i do in the video i learned from Noel, even though he did not teach me these tunes. the mistakes are my own, :lol:




if your friend is at all interested in attending his camps this year, there still is space in the midwest camp (western kentucky). if she has any questions about camp or the experience of relearning technique, you are more than welcome to pm me for my email and forward it along to her. there is also contact information for registration and other questions listed on Noel's site.



if you were wondering, i would like to clarify about the non-disclosure agreements. they are designed to protect Noel's copyright on sheet music, classroom recordings, and concerts--not to prevent any of us from teaching his system. this may seem to be overdone, but just 2 or 3 years ago a major organization in ireland made a recording of Noel's playing (as well as others at the same concert) and illegally sold the bootleg as a fundraiser. i will not mention the organization, but it just stands as an example of people infringing on Noel's copyrights in the past.


there are several of us who have learned from Noel that teach our own interpretation of his method, including his basic scales, alternate fingerings, chords, and ornamentation. we are not prohibited from doing this by the non-disclosure agreements, but we have to make our own materials and recordings. even so, the best way to learn Noel's system is from Noel himself.


hope that is as helpful an answer as possible given that there are no books on the market describing anything similar to Noel's system.

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Many thanks David, I just sent her the link to this discussion.


Really nice playing there, and I like the A part of Woman of the House particularly, might steal that :D



Thanks for the clarification on the non-disclosure thing, I've been scratching my head over that. And I do stand corrected on what I said earlier about Edel Fox's phrasing-- I was going strictly from my own memory of playing in sessions with her in NY a few years back. In the most recent clip of her playing from a performance of last week, she sounds an awful lot like Noel Hill! Ah, what do box players know, eh?



I have suggested Hill's Kentucky school since that's only about 4-5 hours from here (Birmingham, AL), and that's a possibility for her. One of these days I may lose my mind entirely and take up this twisted path for myself (Bob Tedrow's shop is 15 minutes from my house), but for the moment I have my hands full!


Thanks again, David!





Edited by RickC
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  • 1 month later...

Nice playing David. have you put a CD out? !

Thanks, Michael! I don't have a cd yet, lol. I think about it a lot, but I still have a lot of work to do to fill up a whole cd well. It would have to be a duet one to start, because I probably couldn't manage a solo cd. I've always wanted to do one with my Grandma's cousin, or my friend in the video. One can dream... Now all I need is the money and the talent, ;)

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