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darticus

Practice Or Learning Suggestions

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I hope you do not take this posting as being rude ,but many learners think that there is some sort of short cut to playing well.They try to skip learning scales, or methods to improve playing that many experienced players have suggested and attempt tunes that are outside their capabilities.Nothing can beat pure practice,playing over and over again until those around you are driven mad.There are some things that beginners do that can immediately improve your playing ,that is to practice pull notes to shorten the note ,similar to what you are playing on the push.The other is to play quieter, this gives you more air, reduces the strain on your voice if you are singing with the instrument and enables listeners to hear the words over the sound of the instrument.By playing quieter this increases the speed of your playing and reduces air loss .Always push yourself on working on things you cannot play until you can,but do not forget the ground work and above all experimentation.Is it possible to play the tune another way? Can you improve your speed by using accidentals, or playing across the rows? These little short cuts opens up a new plateau and suddenly what used to be so difficult becomes easy.

I am still learning fifty years on ,but still using techniques (right or wrong ) I used thirty years ago.

At least I still love the instrument as much now as I did when I started.

Al

Thanks for your suggestions. I have been playing music for 60 years but this is a new instrument. I enjoy it and the suggestions I get help with methods to improve. Thanks All Ron

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...Is it possible to play the tune another way? Can you improve your speed by using accidentals, or playing across the rows?...

 

This is good medicine...

 

My (fairly pedestrian) approach is to put 'concertina tabs' into the ABC score of any tune I want to try out

The first thing I do after finishing this task is to look at the fingering to see if there's a 'better way' which

is apparent, without even playing the tune. Surprisingly (to me), this technique frequently gives a positive

outcome.

 

R.

Edited by lachenal74693

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Ron my comments were general ones and not aimed at you .

R your a bit more organised than me but thanks for the back up.

Al :rolleyes:

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Thanks all your suggestion are all great. I wish the younger generation would still like to play music like years ago. Ron

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A lot of good advice offered here.

 

Several things could be complicating your progress. How you approach the music (speed and your approach to practice), the buttons you choose and the fingering you use, how you hold the instrument, hand strap adjustment, even characteristics of the instrument itself. Then too, it takes time to learn to play. It may look easy when others play, but it takes time to develop that degree of familiarity with the instrument.

 

I encourage you to seek instruction from a competent player, at least to get started. That will help you sort out the basics and onto the path of unhindered learning. They will be able to make specific recommendations as to how best to achieve your goals based on their assessment of your needs.

 

Living in New Jersey I would think you could find someone willing to give you some personal guidance. If you are interested in playing Irish music for example, I suggest you (Google) search out and attend a few local Irish music sessions, likely you will be able to find someone playing a concertina at one of them. Most concertina players I know are pretty friendly and happy to encourage new players. Introduce yourself and ask if they'd could find a few minutes to give you some advice on the basics.

 

I'm not discounting the value of what has been suggested here, rather just suggesting that some in-person time with another concertina player would likely be quite beneficial.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey

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I wish the younger generation would still like to play music like years ago. Ron

Don't worry, the kids are alright: https://youtu.be/d3ikv6GN4fw

starting at about 40 seconds in.

 

Just saying being an X teacher in the USA many kids don't want to play music. Were many in a family years ago now 1 in 1000 kids want to play. Ron

Edited by darticus

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I agree with all the advice here about playing at the tempo that suites you and building up using a metronome or amazing slow downer or similar app. And I agree with Al about trying different pathways to play the tunes to increase speed.

 

However, I want to bring up the topic of muscle memory for moving really really fast and the value of just moving your fingers that fast. I just got back from my weekly foray to Winfield Kansas, where I play in a giant jam of 60+ musicians, playing a great variety of tunes (all keys) at top speeds. With that many musicians, an occasional wrong note is completely unheard because everyone is filtering to hear the right notes. I have been playing these tunes for years on the drum and more recently the concertina, so they are firmly in my brain, which greatly helps. Playing in this setting can free you up to work out the structure of the tune, if you do not know it, and then to fill in the fancier bits. If you know the tune, it allows you to play it at high speeds, but to also step back to the gestalt of the flow for each phrase and really work to hit the timing of the tune. Early on, before I knew any of the tunes, I would merely move my fingers that fast without making a sound, just to get the feel of fast movement on the instrument. I think this has a lot of intrinsic value - just moving that fast, stepping back to the overall patterns and ingraining them, hitting the emphasis notes harder than the rest (dynamic practice). This may not transfer into your solo playing right away, but it is practice for your future self and it makes your fingers nimble and your brain step back from the minutia.

 

I have rarely heard this type of practice mentioned here on the list, probably because we all want to play better in a solo or small session setting. However, I have found it to be immensely useful and satisfying. So if you have the opportunity to play this way, I highly recommend it... in general I think we don't let ourselves freely flow with the music nearly enough.

 

Claire

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... in general I think we don't let ourselves freely flow with the music nearly enough.

 

 

Claire,

 

I think you're saying what I often say: Don't play tunes one note at a time (however fast). Play them in phrases that each have a beginning, a middle and an end. Play them as if you were singing them, and remember that even dance tunes are based on speech rhythms. Song is the source of all melodic music.

 

Cheers,

John

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Another way to think of it - use the bellows to breathe life into the tune, not to just push out notes.

 

Gary

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As someone who struggles with keeping time on any instrument, I can confirm that there's nothing that can cure the innate inability to keep time. Some people have it, others haven't.

But you can improve on what you've got.

What works for me is to deliberately play wrong notes. Play the piece with no regard whatsoever for hitting the right notes. It will sound awful, but you can train your brain to put the rhythm first, above the melody.

I find, if I concentrate on the melody, and hope that good timing will come, it never does.

So it's something to try. Play the piece as badly as you like, but never break the rhythm. Eventually, the right notes might fall into place for you without having to think them, which kills the rhythm. (for me) It might make your practice sound awful, but it might work, for some. You never know till you try.

 

I also try to make my left hand 'dance' with my right, rather than just playing note after note. When you dance with someone, you try to merge your movements with theirs, and I try to imagine my hands dancing with each other.

 

As far as metronomes go, you can get a much better deal with any cheap old S/H electronic keyboard. There are millions of them around, doing nothing, but they all have perfectly good rhythm sections. Charity shops usually have some, or S/H shops, or car boot sales. Or there are programs online that you can use.

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As someone who struggles with keeping time on any instrument, I can confirm that there's nothing that can cure the innate inability to keep time. Some people have it, others haven't.

But you can improve on what you've got.

What works for me is to deliberately play wrong notes. Play the piece with no regard whatsoever for hitting the right notes. It will sound awful, but you can train your brain to put the rhythm first, above the melody.

I find, if I concentrate on the melody, and hope that good timing will come, it never does.

So it's something to try. Play the piece as badly as you like, but never break the rhythm. Eventually, the right notes might fall into place for you without having to think them, which kills the rhythm. (for me) It might make your practice sound awful, but it might work, for some. You never know till you try.

 

I also try to make my left hand 'dance' with my right, rather than just playing note after note. When you dance with someone, you try to merge your movements with theirs, and I try to imagine my hands dancing with each other.

 

As far as metronomes go, you can get a much better deal with any cheap old S/H electronic keyboard. There are millions of them around, doing nothing, but they all have perfectly good rhythm sections. Charity shops usually have some, or S/H shops, or car boot sales. Or there are programs online that you can use.

I think it might be like tapping the beats on the table but not sounding as bad as wrong notes. I do this but never thought about it. Maybe I'll use it more. Thanks Ron

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Of course, the obvious has to be stated too. Going by many many great players, the best metronome is the foot.

And there's nobody better to illustrate that than Edel Fox.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEE8JBBcpUw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISO6BOthqAg

 

And I found this especially interesting, as it's a great one for comparing the sound of two brilliant players, one on a Jeffries anglo and the other on a Wheatstone English, both playing the same music. And only 550 views !!! For a gem like this !

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M9hTH4jkSk

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Of course, the obvious has to be stated too. Going by many many great players, the best metronome is the foot.

And there's nobody better to illustrate that than Edel Fox.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEE8JBBcpUw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISO6BOthqAg

 

And I found this especially interesting, as it's a great one for comparing the sound of two brilliant players, one on a Jeffries anglo and the other on a Wheatstone English, both playing the same music. And only 550 views !!! For a gem like this !

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M9hTH4jkSk

Very good fine example. Ron

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I play a D/G instrument. For years, I've put off trying to play things in other keys.....but I've finally bitten the bullet.

I actually find that playing scales and arpegios really does help.

Phil

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I play a D/G instrument. For years, I've put off trying to play things in other keys.....but I've finally bitten the bullet.

I actually find that playing scales and arpegios really does help.

Phil

Thanks for the suggestion. Where would I find scales to practice with? Thanks Ron

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