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Hello From A Reader


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I just wanted to say a quick hello to everyone on concertina.net and thank you for providing great information in the forums. I've been reading the forums, on and off, for a few months now, and I think I've only scratched the surface!

 

However, you've all been instrumental in helping me decide on an English Concertina and I've begun my search for a nice, older, entry-level instrument, kind of like me. ;). The music theory course via the University of Edinburgh is proving to be quite interesting. Great recommendation!

 

Several years of piano lessons a few decades ago may help me a bit, but I consider myself to be starting with a blank slate. I've got a room with a door to practice in, away from my dear spouse and the cats, which may preserve domestic harmony. (Fingers crossed.)

 

I live north of Madison, Wisconsin and recently had contact with an Anglo player, so perhaps another English player will be near as well!

 

Angie

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hope you find a great instrument and that your spouse and cats take to it as much as you do. As with many things there's something of a steep learning curve at the start with a concertina but some lovely music to be played once you have the basics mastered. Good luck with this new adventure.

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Thank you, Bruce. I should soon have a Lachenal to practice with via Greg Jowaisas and I've braced myself for the curve!

 

Is an hour of practice daily a reasonable target? I wonder if I'll being working up to that as I'll probably be building some muscles. ;)

 

~Angie

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Welcome Angie,

 

You won't go wrong with a concertina from Greg.

 

I suggest you don't force yourself to a specific length of daily practice, but strive to play a bit each day as is comfortable. Play as long as is comfortable, but play some every day.

 

You will soon be playing some fine music. Good luck!

 

Daniel

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According to my NLP and Accelerated Learning training, one learns most at the beginning and end of a practice session. So 6 ten-minute sessions are better than a straight 1 hour one. I leave my instrument where I can see it and pick if up and play a bit whenever I am passing by.

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Apart from practising technique, one thing you might want to do is search for tunes. If you have some tune books, you can go through lots of tunes in a book, just playing each straight through once, and marking the ones that grab your attenton for further practice.

 

Typing corrected; "losts" = "lots"

Edited by John Wild
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Thank you, Daniel Bradbury and Hereward. I very much want to play and enjoy my concertina, so I will try incorporating each of your suggestions into my day.

 

Trying out songs for "keepers" sounds fun! Thank you, John Wild.

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Hi, Angie: I don't know if you're in the stage of driving kids around, but I've started bringing my concertina along on my chauffeuring. So, while the wee girl dances, I sit in the car in the parking lot and play. And when the middling boy plays soccer, I practice (sometimes parking the car around the corner so as not to embarrass him). 15 minutes here and there, it adds up.

 

Best,

 

Christine

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Thank you, Daniel Bradbury and Hereward. I very much want to play and enjoy my concertina, so I will try incorporating each of your suggestions into my day.

 

Trying out songs for "keepers" sounds fun! Thank you, John Wild.

 

Welcome to the madness. It's always nice to see another EC player. I often think we're the minority here ;).

 

Anyway, as to getting started and trying out tunes, my 1st recommendation is not to be intimidated by sheet music that's black with 1/8 notes. The EC was made to rip through such runs without having to think much about it. Thus, even beginners can quickly get into playing rather up-tempo tunes. So my advice is to jump right into such things.

 

My next recommendation, if you haven't do so already, is to get a good computer program that handles music files written in ABC notation. I use ABCexplorer myself. The beauty of such programs is that

 

1), they can translate ABC notation into normal sheet music, that you can see on your computer screen, save a PDF files, and print off.

2) they can create MIDI files from the ABC notation so can play the tune for you, so you know how it's supposed to sound if you're unfamiliar with it.

3) they allow you to edit ABC files to tweak tunes to your liking, or compose your own music (which can then be exported as sheet music and/or MIDI files)

4) they open up the whole massive internet world of ABC tunes for you. There are probably millions of them out there, both old and new tunes, which you can download for free. And then the program converts them to sheet music and/or MIDI files for you.

 

Go to the home site of ABC notation to get started: http://abcnotation.com/

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Thank you, Bullethead! "...sheet music that's black with 1/8 notes." - what a great phrase! I'll give those tunes a go soon.

 

I need to explore ABC notation more; your summary makes that clear. Thanks for the link, I'll follow that soon! I have an ancient Mac notebook, but use my iPad daily so I'll look for an app....there must be one. I recently purchased forScore and I'm fumbling through it. Maybe it does ABC notation? I wish I could make it talk to iBooks where a number of music PDFs live on my device, but I suspect I'll have to expand my cloud storage (the name escapes me-argh) to provide more functionality to forScore.

 

Just a day or four and I'll have real buttons at my disposal! Englitina app is great when you have nothing else, although I must confess to contemplating ways to make a button overlay with plastic wrap and Elmer's glue.

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Thank you, Bullethead! "...sheet music that's black with 1/8 notes." - what a great phrase! I'll give those tunes a go soon.

I need to explore ABC notation more; your summary makes that clear. Thanks for the link, I'll follow that soon! I have an ancient Mac notebook, but use my iPad daily so I'll look for an app....there must be one. I recently purchased forScore and I'm fumbling through it. Maybe it does ABC notation? I wish I could make it talk to iBooks where a number of music PDFs live on my device, but I suspect I'll have to expand my cloud storage (the name escapes me-argh) to provide more functionality to forScore.

 

Just a day or four and I'll have real buttons at my disposal! Englitina app is great when you have nothing else, although I must confess to contemplating ways to make a button overlay with plastic wrap and Elmer's glue.

 

Most 1/8 note runs are your fingers on alternate hands taking alternate steps up or down the central 2 rows of buttons. Sometimes you pause to hit the same button twice in a row, but it's still simple. The EC is the easiest instrument to play lead with I've ever encountered.

 

You don't really need to know ABC yourself at first, just have a computer program than can translate it into sheet music. I don't do Apple so can't be certain but looking at the forScore page, I don't see any mention of ABC.

 

You don't need overlays. Just remember that in the treble clef, the lines of the staff are the left buttons and the spaces are the right buttons, and you're golden. When I started, I went to a lot to unnecessary time and trouble trying to remember the names of each line and space, but it turns out that was a waste until I started tweaking tunes in ABC to be easier to play on the EC. All you need do is check which key you're in, then recognize a note as a line or space (so left or right hand) and relative position on the staff (so which button). Then everything just flows and pretty soon you'll be improvising.

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There have been several mentions above of learning tunes from sheet music. I would also strongly encourage you to learn tunes by ear. Listen to recordings and youtubes (doesn't have to be concertina players) and play what you hear. You'll find there is so much more to the tunes than what's written on a page.

 

Then write them down (that's where abc comes in handy) so you don't forget them. B)

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There have been several mentions above of learning tunes from sheet music. I would also strongly encourage you to learn tunes by ear. Listen to recordings and youtubes (doesn't have to be concertina players) and play what you hear. You'll find there is so much more to the tunes than what's written on a page.

 

Then write them down (that's where abc comes in handy) so you don't forget them. B)

True, so very true... one thing I have resorted to in addition to writing them down is to record myself playing the pieces w/ a metronome, then periodically playing back everything I recorded so far on random shuffle, trying to play along. Needless to say, it's an experience for my ears only, but it does help the progress in a number of skills related to music.

 

@Angie: Would you call yourself more of a reader or a reeder? SCNR :D

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@Bullethead Thanks for your encouragement! Just to clarify-my "overlay" thoughts related to the iPad and the concertina app (the screen needed button bumps)-just my weird sense of humor.

 

@David Barnert I will try playing by ear. I know I will be quite pleased with myself if I have some small success at it --- it seems a bit magical in light of my current skill-state. Yes, writing things down is a necessary action, unfortunately.

 

@RAc. You made me laugh!

 

My concertina is now in hand and I'm very pleased with it, so I will start acting on all your thoughtful suggestions! Thank you!

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@cboody: I downloaded Tunebook and it seems very functional. I also found an ABC version of The Beer Barrel Polka. My mom will get a kick out of hearing me play that tune. What can I say?! I'm from Wisconsin!

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