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Teaching the EC Again: A Couple Habits That Could Use Improvement

Randy Stein

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At the insistence of my good friend Jim Besser, after a hiatus of some 30 years, I've started teaching the the English Concertina again. I was fortunate to have both Boris and Sergei Matueswitch as my mentors and their method for teaching and learning was and still is invaluable and for me, proven.

I've started with a handful of students who are part of the Northeast Squeeze-In and consist of some new players and some who are more advanced. All are enthusiastic.

A couple of observations, I've noticed some habits I find slow their playing. First is how one holds the instrument. The thumbs and pinky should be perpendicular and elbows in. So many let the Concertina lean forward or just rest on the knee with open bellows which puts strain on the wrists and arms. Not to mention a strain on the bellows. It also effects bellow movement which is the next issue. Proper holding of the instrument (balance) and posture should be maintained allowing one to play relaxed and make sure you're breathing (also essential). This allows bellow movent to happen naturally without pushing and pulling with the arms. It also allows for better bellow control for phrasing in playing regardless of the type of music played.

I'm sure there has been a lot of previous discussion and forums on this but I know what I know and what has proven successful for students and teachers alike. 


Edited by Randy Stein
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Randy,   I was recently playing as a returning newbie and thinking exactly that in terms of hold the EC.   I have taken lessons from Pauline de Snoo and   advocate strap to hold the concertina.  One of the reason I had an hiatus from playing was due to thumb surgery and I do find when i use the neck strap I put less pressure on my thumb facilitating playing.   I am gong to have to watch some of your videos on hold.   Would you send me  a text to so I can discuss lessons with you when you have a chance.  My number is 903 570 0655.  Thank you Stephen  Texas. .                                                                                     

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