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Hi, I just retired and on my bucket list is learning to play the concertina. Unfortunetly I also had to have surgery on my shoulder and upper arm. So I thought I could try and learn to read music. I don't see any books on reading music for a concertina. Does one just get a book on reading music for the Piano? The concertina I will get to use is english but I don't know if it's 30 or 48 buttons. Hasn't arrived yet and my Aunt doesn't know.

Thanks

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Hi, I just retired and on my bucket list is learning to play the concertina. Unfortunetly I also had to have surgery on my shoulder and upper arm. So I thought I could try and learn to read music. I don't see any books on reading music for a concertina. Does one just get a book on reading music for the Piano? The concertina I will get to use is english but I don't know if it's 30 or 48 buttons. Hasn't arrived yet and my Aunt doesn't know.

Thanks

 

Just go to www.concertina.com and download the tutor for English concertina by Frank Butler. It's free, and it's by far the best book for learning to read music on the English. Enjoy your voyage of discovery!

 

Gary

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Well there's the book then, and I'd suggest once you've got the basic idea you get a song book and teach yourself to sight-read by singing while you wait to get your arm better. That would stand you in very good stead.

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Hi, I just retired and on my bucket list is learning to play the concertina...

The Butler book is fine, very fine actually, but it does not really teach you to read music independently from playing the concertina. The advice about learning to sight read and sing sounds good, but I know that I could not do that without a teacher.

 

What might be more doable for you while you are waiting is to learn to recognise intervals. There are some online internet programs that you could try and there are lots of apps for the iPhone or for Android. Google 'interval recognition'. Try www.trainear.com for example.

 

Don.

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Notwithstanding the above comments, I would concur that the Frank Butler tutor is the very best for EC and will be perhaps forever more!

 

I'll be posting an observation from it in a moment on Shelly's 'Bass clef' practise post, which flags up a minor issue on some piano pieces.

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Notwithstanding the above comments, I would concur that the Frank Butler tutor is the very best for EC and will be perhaps forever more!

But we don't know that "my next life" plays the EC.

 

I used the word "notwithstanding" as other worthwhile comments were made.

 

In the absence of actual tutorials, a plethora of music theory websites online can be sourced for a very basic grounding, otherwise a hard copy of a music theory encyclopaedia or manual would be handy, injury permitting. A first port of call might be the music pages at the back of a dictionary.

 

The 1988 ('89 reprint) Chambers/Cambridge "Chambers English Dictionary" - formerly the "Chambers's C20th Dictionary" ('01) - has such! [an aside: I asked my gran for this for my 20th in 1990; and asked her for the 1991 Oxford Thesaurus 2nd Ed (1997) for my 30th knowing how great the former had been as a decadal birthday present.]. Anyone else's dictionaries have the same?

Edited by kevin toner
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The Butler book is fine, very fine actually, but it does not really teach you to read music independently from playing the concertina. The advice about learning to sight read and sing sounds good, but I know that I could not do that without a teacher.

 

Let me put the question: If you're learning to play the concertina, why should you need to be able to read music independently of the concertina?

I'm a very poor sight-reader, so I've thought a lot about sight-reading. And sight reading has two aspects:

 

1. The ability to name the notes on the lines and spaces, recognise the durations of the notes, count out the time signature, recognise which notes are sharped or flatted according to the key signature, identify the chord that a group of notes represents, notice whether the notes represent a waltz or a minuet, etc., etc.

 

All this I can do!

 

2. The ability to see a dot (or dots) on the stave and immediately finger the associated keys (or frets or buttons or holes) on an instrument.

 

This is something I cannot do!

It's something that you're supposed to learn at piano lessons, but I lacked the motivation back then. I have a good ear, and any music that I want to play, I can play by ear. Over the years, I've learnt to "spell out" the notation slowly and laboriously on several instruments - piano and mandolin mainly - but this is not sight-reading as most understand it. The instrument I've had most success at sight-reading for is the Crane Duet.

 

Which makes my point: sight-reading is different for each instrument (unless they have a common layout, like piano, harpsichord and synthesiser, or violin and mandolin). The allocation of dot to fingering is even different for the different concertina types.

 

What you can learn by singing along with a song-book is the note durations (minim, crotchet, quaver if you're English; whole, quarter and eighth notes if you're American), and the time signatures. This is only part of the skill of sight reading - and for me as a singer the easiest part - and there's no substitute for practical training of eye/finger coordination.

 

BTW, intervals are useful mainly for us singers, who are pitch-independent. We define a tune as a sequence of intervals from one note to the next. For instrumentalists, a tune is a sequence of notes. Each dot represents a note, and this note calls for a finger position. What I know I should be doing is getting this two-stage association down to one stage: each dot maps to a finger position, without thinking about what the note is called!

 

Hope you get better at it than I did!

 

Cheers,

John

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The Butler book is fine, very fine actually, but it does not really teach you to read music independently from playing the concertina. The advice about learning to sight read and sing sounds good, but I know that I could not do that without a teacher.

 

Let me put the question: If you're learning to play the concertina, why should you need to be able to read music independently of the concertina?

I'm a very poor sight-reader, so I've thought a lot about sight-reading. And sight reading has two aspects:

 

1. The ability to name the notes on the lines and spaces, recognise the durations of the notes, count out the time signature, recognise which notes are sharped or flatted according to the key signature, identify the chord that a group of notes represents, notice whether the notes represent a waltz or a minuet, etc., etc.

 

All this I can do!

 

2. The ability to see a dot (or dots) on the stave and immediately finger the associated keys (or frets or buttons or holes) on an instrument.

 

This is something I cannot do!

It's something that you're supposed to learn at piano lessons, but I lacked the motivation back then. I have a good ear, and any music that I want to play, I can play by ear. Over the years, I've learnt to "spell out" the notation slowly and laboriously on several instruments - piano and mandolin mainly - but this is not sight-reading as most understand it. The instrument I've had most success at sight-reading for is the Crane Duet.

 

Which makes my point: sight-reading is different for each instrument (unless they have a common layout, like piano, harpsichord and synthesiser, or violin and mandolin). The allocation of dot to fingering is even different for the different concertina types.

 

What you can learn by singing along with a song-book is the note durations (minim, crotchet, quaver if you're English; whole, quarter and eighth notes if you're American), and the time signatures. This is only part of the skill of sight reading - and for me as a singer the easiest part - and there's no substitute for practical training of eye/finger coordination.

 

BTW, intervals are useful mainly for us singers, who are pitch-independent. We define a tune as a sequence of intervals from one note to the next. For instrumentalists, a tune is a sequence of notes. Each dot represents a note, and this note calls for a finger position. What I know I should be doing is getting this two-stage association down to one stage: each dot maps to a finger position, without thinking about what the note is called!

 

Hope you get better at it than I did!

 

Cheers,

John

 

This is spot on. Many years ago I had to learn to touch type on a QWERTY keyboard, which is just the same as point 2 above. In the beginning I thought it was never going to happen for me but in the end I qualified at 50 wpm.

 

When you first start the eye sees the character you want to type which registers with the brain which in turn works out which finger to use , this all takes time but eventually you learn to bypass the conscious part of the mind and the signal from the eye passes directly to the finger. My wife amazes me when I see her typing; she can copy type from a document and hold a conversation at the same time.

 

If you want to learn to sight read/touch type you have to put the time in. In my humble opinion it will pay enormous dividends in the long run.

 

Have fun.

Edited by tony
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BTW, intervals are useful mainly for us singers, who are pitch-independent. We define a tune as a sequence of intervals from one note to the next. For instrumentalists, a tune is a sequence of notes.

 

Not sure I agree with that - I am a learner and slow sight reader, but I tend to play by a mixture of relating the lines to a button, and the interval. I think I play faster and more smoothly when my brain gets into "interval" mode, and I have to stop and think to actually name a note.

 

And I am not a singer - I haven't sung since school days.

 

Just goes to show, perhaps, we all have different ways.

 

Malcolm

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BTW, intervals are useful mainly for us singers, who are pitch-independent. We define a tune as a sequence of intervals from one note to the next. For instrumentalists, a tune is a sequence of notes.

 

Not sure I agree with that - I am a learner and slow sight reader, but I tend to play by a mixture of relating the lines to a button, and the interval. I think I play faster and more smoothly when my brain gets into "interval" mode, and I have to stop and think to actually name a note.

 

And I am not a singer - I haven't sung since school days.

 

Just goes to show, perhaps, we all have different ways.

 

Malcolm

 

Yes, but with enough practice that may go. You will probably see the dot/interval, hear the sound with your inner ear and press the key.

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Not sure I agree with that - I am a learner and slow sight reader, but I tend to play by a mixture of relating the lines to a button, and the interval. I think I play faster and more smoothly when my brain gets into "interval" mode, and I have to stop and think to actually name a note.

 

Malcolm,

 

I did say "mainly for ... singers" (I must be getting diplomatic in my old age!:P )

 

Of course, with any activity as complex as getting a tune from the page to the sound-waves, the more flanking strategies you have, the better!

I must admit that when I see a low E in a choir score, I just go for it - because it's my bottom note, and I can hit it no matter where I'm coming from.

On the other hand, when I'm trying to decipher an instrumental score - on whatever instrument - and the melody line goes line-space-line-space, I know I just have to locate the first note of the sequence and then step up or down the scale (without really knowing what the second and subsequent notes are). That's why it's so important to practise scales! ;)

 

So why can't I sight read?

 

I heard a good adage recently:

 

"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is!" B)

 

Cheers,

John

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  • 1 month later...

I too finally started on the English Concertina part of my bucket list now that I am retired. I came upon a paperback book titled "Learn to Read Music" by Howard Shanet, I think through Amazon.com. It is the only one I found that doesn't assume you are playing an instrument while you are reading.

 

I will take exception to some to the recommendations for Frank Butler's tutor on the English Concertina. It is, indeed, an excellent approach to learning it. However, as I said in another posting,in this forum the song examples he gives were of no use to me. Living in the U S. I never heard of the songs he used in the examples. I much prefer Pauline De Snoo's English Concertina Course from concertina academy.com. It provides sound files that demonstrate exactly how the music sounds when played on a concertina. The preference of learning method is kind of like religion, they are all supposed to get you to the same place but your choice is always better than someone else's. Enjoy the concertina, it will provide endless enjoyment in your retirement.

Edited by Jim Cush
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I find that relating the notes on the stave to Do Re Mi etc and also the ABC system of notation is very helpful, especially when you move on to playing by ear. I'd also learn some simple major chords in the favourite keys to get the feel of intervals and harmonies to build tunes round.

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Reading this about "do re mi" and learning to play by ear I want to point at the three articles or rather lessons I wrote in the magazine Concertina World of the International Concertina Association. Issues 438 of December 2007, 439, 440 and 441 of 2008. I have used the sol-fa system in these lessons to learn to play by ear.

On request of some readers I am planning to continue the "Learning to play by ear lessons" in the Magazine.

This is a great way of learning to play by ear but it takes practice (time) as does all learning.

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Reading this about "do re mi" and learning to play by ear I want to point at the three articles or rather lessons I wrote in the magazine Concertina World of the International Concertina Association. Issues 438 of December 2007, 439, 440 and 441 of 2008. I have used the sol-fa system in these lessons to learn to play by ear.

On request of some readers I am planning to continue the "Learning to play by ear lessons" in the Magazine.

This is a great way of learning to play by ear but it takes practice (time) as does all learning.

How can I access these articles?

 

Don.

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Which makes my point: sight-reading is different for each instrument (unless they have a common layout, like piano, harpsichord and synthesiser, or violin and mandolin). The allocation of dot to fingering is even different for the different concertina types.

 

Cheers,

John

 

I agree with part of what you say here John but the statement "sight-reading is different for each instrument" is way off the mark. Sight reading is exactly the same unless you learn to play an instrument that's notated in a different clef ( a cello for example) or you move from a melody only instrument (recorder or trumpet perhaps) to something multi-timbrel like a concertina that can play a fistful of notes as a chord , that does require different sight reading skills.

 

Once you've learned to read music and you have a reasonable understanding of musical theory you never have to relearn that, the skills are wholly transferable. I understand what you are saying about teaching your body to have a reflex reaction that's relative to the instrument you are playing but just like driving a vehicle, left and right and up and down are the same so it doesn't matter if you are driving a bus or flying a jumbo jet, the basic rules apply so the new skills you learn are entirely linked to the specifics of an object you are unfamiliar with.

 

Reading music is worth persevering with as it opens new horizons, in the meantime I'm trying really hard to learn the skills of playing by ear!

 

Pete.

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