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Exercises (Aka Drills?)


paulb
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Greetings from a newbie, both to the forum and to the playing of a musical instrument, not that producing the squeals from my anglo (Rochelle) can be described as playing an instrument. As I squeeze, pull, and press, defiling the simpler tunes in the Rochelle tutor and Coover's Easy Anglo 123, I would like to practice ruining a melody line with one hand and a rhythmic accompaniment with the other. (If that's how it's described.) Are there any written exercises (drills?) I could follow? I like videos but seem to do best with something on paper, too. Perhaps there is a topic full of suggestions already but the searches I tried produced a flood message.

 

Thanks in advance, humbly,

paulb

brooklyn

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Greetings from a newbie, both to the forum and to the playing of a musical instrument, not that producing the squeals from my anglo (Rochelle) can be described as playing an instrument. As I squeeze, pull, and press, defiling the simpler tunes in the Rochelle tutor and Coover's Easy Anglo 123, I would like to practice ruining a melody line with one hand and a rhythmic accompaniment with the other. (If that's how it's described.) Are there any written exercises (drills?) I could follow? I like videos but seem to do best with something on paper, too. Perhaps there is a topic full of suggestions already but the searches I tried produced a flood message.

 

Thanks in advance, humbly,

paulb

brooklyn

 

 

I don't know about printed material, but you live in Brooklyn, where one of the premier Anglo players and teachers offers lessons. I can't imagine anything that would jump start your playing as effectively as lessons with Jody Kruskal.

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Jim

God knows it's possible I've waited in line at the supermarket with Mr. Kruskal. But I'd like to make some progress on my own before I reach out for lessons (which I will certainly do if/when I feel ready). But thanks for the lead as I didn't know about him.

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You might have waited in line with me. Are you a member of the Park Slope Food Coop?

 

I do have written exercises that can start you down the right path with harmonic playing. These days, I've adopted the Coover tab/staff system for all my materials.

 

Small world. My dad lives in Park Slope and I was down there for a few weeks over Christmas holidays. During that visit I also ran into a different concertina player (forgot his name, but not Jody) at a restaurant in nearby Crown Heights. Is Brooklyn a hotbed of 'tina players?

 

-Lincoln

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I would highly recommend taking some lessons from Jody before you teach yourself and potentially develop bad habits. ( I learned the hard way after teaching myself how to play the hammered dulcimer I am still trying to unlearn bad habits years later)

 

Jody is a great teacher and will definitely jumpstart your playing the the Coover notation is very logical as well.

 

Good luck!

 

PS I assume that you really didn't mean to say " I would like to practice RUINING a melody line with one hand " and meant ".... RUNNING a melody line with one hand "but the typo made it pretty humorous.

Edited by Daria
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I assumed "ruining a melody line...." was completely intentional; a kindred sense of humor.

 

I've never met Jody, or heard him play, but narrowly missed a couple of opportunities to do so in the past, and based on his participation here you would do well to seek him out, even if just for an occasional lesson. I agree with the idea that early lessons can point you in the right direction, but I also agree that it is great to figure things out on your own, and develop your own style. So an occasional lesson can be much better value than anything regular, if the instructor is willing to work that way.

 

As for written exercises, many of the tunes in G. Coover's books have tab for more notes than just the melody line shown in standard notation. Personally I don't like to read tab, and would strongly prefer to see those notes written in notation instead, but I admit it does provide information on which button is intended when there are alternatives that the notation wouldn't make clear. So this is a resource you already have a start on.

 

Bertram Levy's books are another good resource, although if you do use tab, his system is slightly different, as I recall.

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Yes Bertam's system is quite different.

 

I like Coover's system for my teaching materials because of how easy it is to make sense of, that's why I use it. Still... the best system is your own personal mental imaging. Those dots and numbers on the page may be helpful in figuring things out at first, but really the mental image of the keyboard you build up in your own head is the one that will last you. A teacher can only point the way. Every student of the concertina must in the end, figure it out for themselves as musicians do.

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You would do well to seek him out, even if just for an occasional lesson. I agree with the idea that early lessons can point you in the right direction, but I also agree that it is great to figure things out on your own, and develop your own style. So an occasional lesson can be much better value than anything regular, if the instructor is willing to work that way.

That's how I'd look upon it too. Individual impulses, proposals and corrections can prove to be invaluable, but need time to be adopted and adapted into your personal approach...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Thank you for all the replies. I did mean "ruining," which describes my, uh, "playing." Jody, I don't belong to the Food Coop, but, we all have to shop at Met or Key Food occasionally, don't we? I will watch your website and try to come to a gig. Even at the risk of bad habits, I want to keep at it on my own awhile longer. I've been following the musical notation so far, but from your replies I see I have to pay more attention to learning the tabs. Thanks all. If you hear a thumping sound, don't worry, it's just me hitting my head against the wall.

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No, really... go for it. I did not have a concertina teacher and no teacher is needed for the Anglo concertina. If you have an ear you can certainly teach yourself. There are only a few possibilities as for fingerings and chords and articulations and bellows work. It's really so limited an instrument that if you know what you want, there are only a few ways to achieve it. I'm sure you will find your way.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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The best exercises I have ever done have been playing scales both along and across the rows in octaves - that is, left hand playing an octave below the right.

 

The reasons: it gets both hands working together, and it gets you used to knowing at least one note that will always harmonise! The funny thing about the Anglo is that with the push pull action, you sometimes find yourself playing a note that you can't fit the desired chord to. What are your choices? Leave a gap in the accompaniment or play an octave.

 

Octaves are only a small part of my playing, but the ability to find them for individual notes or short phrases is really important.

 

Others will have better ideas, but describing exercises in writing in a forum is not easy.

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Paul, I can certainly second all the previous comments, except for grocery shopping in NY of which I have no clue! Although I suppose when shopping it's a lot of trial and error just like the Anglo. The tab system I ended up using in the books is nothing more than a crutch to jump-start the discovery process. Once you're more familiar with the notes, you'll not need any tab to play or create new arrangements, but it will prove handy for quickly writing down and notating your discoveries for future reference.

 

Although frustrating at first, one of the beauties of the Anglo is its limitations - which means a lot of the wrong notes are left off, or are in the wrong direction - so you're more likely than not to find a nice harmony simply by poking around. It's perfectly ok to explore and experiment and hit lots of clangers in the process - you're not "ruining" tunes one bit, merely finding "alternate expressions"!

 

But I would highly recommend at least a couple of lessons with your neighbor, Jody. He's an excellent teacher with an infectious enthusiasm for all sorts of wonderful tunes, chords and sounds. If nothing else, hearing him play will be a great inspiration as you progress forward.

 

Drills? Exercises? Yuck! I'd rather just experiment and play more tunes!

Gary

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Mikefule, thanks, I've diddled a bit with the octave scales and from your explanation I now understand I should do them regularly. Gary, I apologize for what I'm doing to the tunes in your book; at least no one but the cats can hear me. (One leaves the room, the other just stares, trying to make me feel uncomfortable.)

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Drills? Exercises? Yuck! I'd rather just experiment and play more tunes!

 

But isn't that a sort of drills/exercises in itself? It's definitely the kind I enjoy most. :)

 

Paul, pick tunes with bits and pieces that give you trouble, and work on them until they're no longer difficult. Then pick some more.

 

Edited to add: E.g., if the idea of practicing scales puts you off, pick a few tunes that include significant parts of a scale (e.g., Speed the Plough). If you work on two or three tunes where the "scale" parts overlap to form a full scale, then you'll be experienced in playing the whole scale without ever "practicing scales". ;)

Edited by JimLucas
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