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Noel Hill's Cincinatti Concertina School 2018

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Just finished the Noel Hill concertina school at the Transfiguration Spiritual Center in northern Cincinnati, and it was overwhelming. More instruction, insight, and camaraderie than you could shake a bellows at, in a setting so peaceful and accommodating that there were absolutely no distractions from playing and learning. Wake up, eat, play, eat, play, eat, play, sleep. Repeat. Five intense and intensely valuable days for anyone interested in learning Anglo from a master. I was in completely over my head, but the shore was always nearby and lined with helping hands.

 

The same setting in Cincinnati is already locked down for next year's school, and I'm definitely planning to return. Can't recommend it highly enough.

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Just wondering if a REAL novice would be able to attend. I just returned from Boxwoods at Lunenburg Nova Scotia. It was a great experience with Mairaid Hurley. She was a wonderful teacher and can really shred a concertina when she performs. But the other players had at least 5 years experience. I started playing last September and it is my first instrument. I would love to attend more training since I live where I have no teacher but don’t want to be out of place as the slow one.

Amazing that I am already thinking about next year

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I can tell you that 20 years ago, Noel was happy to teach beginners and typically put them in a separate group so they didn't feel overwhelmed. I wrote an essay about NHICS on the now-defunct static pages of the old concertina.net where I suggested you know where the note names are on the buttons of your concertina before you go (also get an idea of what notes are in major scales of C, G, D, from a guitar or piano teacher if necessary), or else Noel will take the first day to teach them to you. I expect that is moot in your case, but maybe not for others reading this. There are several scale patterns he uses when you start out and it helps if you already know where the notes are.

 

If things are different now someone who knows will chime in.

 

Ken

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Noel usually divides his schools into beginner, intermediate, and advanced groups. Because the school session I attended had less than a dozen students, Noel only split us up into two groups, intermediate and advanced. I was in the intermediate group, and I was easily the least advanced player, having come to the school without any other personal instruction or formal training in music, much less the concertina. I can tell you that I was never made to feel by anyone like I was holding anyone back, ever.

 

I can imagine a beginner class based on my experience in the intermediate section, and if I were you, Mathhag, I wouldn't hesitate to sign up. The more familiar you are with the button layout of your instrument, the better off you'll be...and you'd also benefit from being as good at sight reading as possible. But after having the experience of jumping in the deep end and being forced to keep my head above water, I wouldn't have had it any other way. No matter what section of Noel's school you get put in, you'll get stretched. And that's exactly why you do it, yes?

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Hi

 

I would have to say after attending many Noel Hills workshops that not only are novices/beginners accommodated they will experience positive encouragement and validation. Starting off with Noel's approach and strategies will give a person a great and useful start on playing Irish music on the concertina, no matter what scales or systems one later evolves towards. In other words a beginner starting off with Noel will be at a great advantage.

 

Richard

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I couldn't agree more with the comments made previously.  Noel is very patient and meets each student at his or her level.  I just came back from Cincinnati as well and it was a fantastic experience.  The venue couldn't have been better either.  You won't regret going.  I hope to attend next year as well.

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