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Hello Marcus,


Yes, I have seen and tried The Concertina Diaries: Discovering the language of the concertina in Irish music by Heather Greer.

I responded to Heather's request (on concertina.net some time ago) to read over and try out chapters/tunes in her book as they

evolved, and I can tell you that this book is a wonderful new tutor for beginners (and intermediates!) Heather's 'diary', written as she learned to play the anglo concertina, is thoughtful, well-written and leaves nothing to chance or the imagination, as some

tutors do... and the 47 tunes included are well-chosen and sequential. I am self-taught as well, and surely wish I had had the

benefit of this tutor back then!

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Hi Marcus


Heather Greer (author of "The Concertina Diaries" here. I thought I'd just post a response to say that I wrote this manual because, as a learner, I had found it so difficult to obtain a tutor which (a) was sufficiently comprehensive enough to show a beginner what buttons to use, where the notes actually are on different types of layout, and (B) didn't follow some one line of thinking that says you MUST use a particular button for a particular note - or more usually that you must NOT use a given button (for example, for some reason many players, including good ones, just forbid the use of the D and the B buttons found on the LH inside row - a perspective that I find confusing: all of the buttons are potentially useful, and a learner needs to find the many different ways of playing a given sequence of notes.


"The Concertina Diaries" grew out of my own lengthy learning process. I tried to make it the kind of manual that would have been useful to ME as I started to learn my way around the Anglo. I hope it may fill a gap for other beginners, or indeed people with some prior experience who want to explore the potential of the various layouts in greater depth. The approach is a bit like people learn a foreign language these days - NOT by learning lots of grammar (keys and scales) first, but by being guided into how to play a sequence of tunes easily and well, with essential stuff on scales and keys thrown in as the need arises. In reality, I find that "learning scales" is not a generally helpful thing to do with the Anglo, since that tends to confine the player to learning one position only for commonly used notes. I teach trad music, along with my partner (see DustyBanjos.com for more), and just last night a concertina learner who was experiencing difficulty in playing Tobin's (jig - an excellent tune for getting to grips with that pushed G on the LH outside row, if you're playing a Wheatstone type layout); she was accustomed to using the D on the LH middle row, and didn't even realise that even though she was using the 2nd button on the LH inside row for F#, she could obtain the D she needed just by pushing that same button! That's the fault of being taught by someone who insists on using or not using certain buttons to play a scale.


If anyone would like to learn more about The Concerina Diaries, see IrishTunebook.com; and if you would like to ask anything about it, feel free to mail me at heather.cleggan@gmail.com

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