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Hi All .I play for dance and accompany my singing.Sometimes I have to lay on my own and here is the problem .I can recall and play many tunes first time through without hesitation but to play these tunes more than once or twice through I stumble and often have to start again hopeless for any one who is dancing to my tune ..The more I think about what I am playing the worse it gets .

I try to practice out the gremilins and I have a life outside of music. Am I alone with this or do any of you have a similar experience and do you have a way to cope..Thanks Bob

 

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That's a strange one. If I can get through a tune once I can normally reckon to play it a few times OK. The problem is switching to a second tune, trying to remember how it's going to start, while still finishing off the first one. Not always easy, unless I always play the same tunes in the same sets.

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I have experienced this problem off and on. My difficulties have usually come either with tunes that being played too fast (the band playing faster than I like to practice and play) or tunes that have accidentals in the 2nd or 3rd parts. I play english and call this situation "the finger tangles". Sometimes, if we are playing the tune several times through, I can relocate my space and get it right, sometimes, I have to stop and re-hear the music from the band. I learn most of my music from notes on the page and once memorized I really do not stray knowingly from that source. Over time I forget sections or they evolve and that might contribute to the problem when my ears and fingers do not agree. Recently, I have been trying to listen better and and trying to learn by ear. I think that once I make the ear connection, my fingers should be able to follow what I am hearing and perhaps that will help with the "finger tangles." Good luck!

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Try practicing whilst doing something else ,like reading a book or watching television.... get the tunes to play in automatic so that a different part of your brain is doing the music whilst you are watching the dancers.

When playing solo for dancing it is most important to have this auto play function.

 

Keep this important repertoire as small as possible so it can be played 'fool proof'.

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I agree with Geoff above. I'm just beginning with the concertina, but have been playing guitar and singing for a long time. I also play harmonica a lot. I will sometimes get to the end of a song and wonder if I did it correctly, because I won't remember how I sang it. I often have to wonder whether I skipped any verses. I practice to the point that I can play and sing a song without paying attention.

 

This works for me, of course I'm just singing simple songs to friends around a campfire. A real virtuoso playing a difficult piece probably has to give his performance his full attention.

 

Terrence

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Try practicing whilst doing something else ,like reading a book or watching television.... get the tunes to play in automatic so that a different part of your brain is doing the music whilst you are watching the dancers.

I find for song accompaniment I have to learn both the song and accompaniment at first separately then together. I then practice so that both are stored in automatic reflex. I practice not until I get it right, but until I can't get it wrong.

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Hi All .I play for dance and accompany my singing.Sometimes I have to lay on my own and here is the problem .I can recall and play many tunes first time through without hesitation but to play these tunes more than once or twice through I stumble and often have to start again hopeless for any one who is dancing to my tune ..The more I think about what I am playing the worse it gets .

I try to practice out the gremilins and I have a life outside of music. Am I alone with this or do any of you have a similar experience and do you have a way to cope..Thanks Bob

 

Unlike some of the others who have posted I see this problem (which I sometimes have too) as loss of attention. Sort of like thinking "gee, that went nicely now I can relax and watch the dancers..".BANG That is, it is an unconscious lack of attention to what you are doing. The amount of attention you need to give to a tune is a function of how well "built in" it is. That's why the suggestions above of playing while doing something else can be helpful. They train you to keep the subconscious attention on the tunes while your conscious attention goes elsewhere. IT is a bit like talking with someone while playing. At first that is impossibly hard. Then it gets easier. How much easier is an issue of how completely you've absorbed what you are playing.

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IT is a bit like talking with someone while playing. At first that is impossibly hard. Then it gets easier. How much easier is an issue of how completely you've absorbed what you are playing.

 

I have been playing the piano since I was six years old - but never managed that. If I try I hear at least my words adopting the rhythm of the music (which is obviously still taking the lead role then)... :D

 

Perhaps I should follow that suggestion from Geoff, might take me beyond that...

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IT is a bit like talking with someone while playing. At first that is impossibly hard. Then it gets easier. How much easier is an issue of how completely you've absorbed what you are playing.

 

I have been playing the piano since I was six years old - but never managed that. If I try I hear at least my words adopting the rhythm of the music (which is obviously still taking the lead role then)... :D

 

Perhaps I should follow that suggestion from Geoff, might take me beyond that...

 

You need to play out on the hammered dulcimer. You get really good at answering questions! It never seems to occur to anyone that you might be concentrating.... First you learn to grunt "It's a hammered dulcimer" and "very old" Later you get better at it. Except, of course when they ask the question at the middle of that really hard passage... :(

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Unlike some of the others who have posted I see this problem (which I sometimes have too) as loss of attention.

 

This was my immediate reaction too. The moment I become blasé and think I can run on auto pilot (as I did for so very many years on guitar because I was carrying the chordal structure rather than the tune albeit with flashy fills that actually become reflex and easy to do on the fly) it all goes wrong at an alarming rate!

 

Playing top line melody with or without self accompaniment demands constant attention, for me at least. Finger picking a rhythmic guitar part whilst the voice did all of the hard melody stuff was somehow much easier!

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I think the two points made by several posters about 1. automatic playing and 2. concentration are valid. In theory, your fingers should find the right notes in the right sequence automatically, so that you brain can concentrate on the expression in the music. But typically, concertina music is complex, with melody and harmony, so there's a lot to automate. Very often there will be passages that you still have to play by ear, or by consciously recalling your dots. If there's only one such passage in a tune, you have to concentrate on concentrating on this passage. And if someone does come up and ask you whether your instrument is chromatic or diatonic, it will be at this moment!

 

The downside of automatic playing, however, is that after a while you forget what your fingers are doing, and rely on them remembering what to do. If you "crash out" in this playing mode, you're done for, because you can't override the fingers by ear or by score memory.

 

A preventive measure against this is to take your really well-practised pieces, those that "always" play themselves automatically, and try playing them through very slowly. This gives you time to see what your fingers are doing, and you become consciously aware of what comes when, and what it sounds like. This helps you to "take over manual control" quickly, should your "autopilot" break down somewhere.

 

Cheers,

John

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I'm not the OP, but this is very helpful for me. I've only been playing for 4 months and am trying to get a few tunes memorized and somewhat up to speed. I plan to try what Geoff Wooff said and play while doing something else, I think that will help me with getting it to be "automatic".

 

John aka Anglo-Irishman - really good advice as well.

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