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2 hours ago, wunks said:

Keep at the ones you know to be sure but continue to throw some new tunes in.  When you start a brand new tune you make a quantum leap.


I’ll definitely be doing that! I think I’ll try to just take things slow until I’m comfortable with the absolute basics, then I’ll start focusing on learning songs at a faster pace.

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15 hours ago, GPKarl said:

...If I have a problem, it is because I want to play so many tunes. I have about 20 songs I keep playing and have a hard time focusing and mastering one. I hobble through each one, every time sounding better, but feel I should buckle down and get a few down pat. I need a book or sheet music...

You aren't alone!

 

If you are looking for a book or sheet music because you want to play so many tunes, you could do a lot

worse than download one of the many tune books available on the internet.

 

Doing this will give you loads of tunes to have a go at - far more than you will find in any printed tutor of

which I am aware. The point here being that if you have more tunes to look at, you are more likely to

stumble across tunes that you really like, and the more you like a tune, the more likely you are to stick

with it till you can play the thing properly.

 

My personal favourite is the tune books available in a variety of formats on Paul Hardy's web site. The

2020 Tune Book has over 600 tunes to work on and hobble through. Should keep you busy for a while...😎

 

PS: See also Listening to Tunes from the Tunebooks. (the EasyABC link is a little outdated - try this instead).

Edited by lachenal74693
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18 hours ago, SliverOfSand said:


I’m definitely going to check that out, I love to learn about the history of instruments; it’s so interesting!

 


I feel like I’ll be in the same situation... I want to learn all of the different songs right away, but I have to remind myself to stick to one or two until I can master it. I’m also glad I found this site, it makes it seem less daunting to commit to the concertina when I can read about other people’s experiences.

 

Hi there, SIlverOfSand, and btw welcome to the concertina community!

 

I'm in danger of repeating myself, but at this point, I'd like to issue a small issue of warning:

 

Define "master a tune." If to you it means to be able to play the tune to your own satisfaction in your practice room - fine, but you are very likely in for an unpleasant surprise as soon as you take the tune outside of this environment - you'll find that as soon as someone else listens in (or if you even believe somebody to listen it), you may as well never have played the tune before, it'll be gone. Part of that is nervousness, but it's also related to the fact that the process of making music consists of a number of very different skills that are independent of each other (sometimes even contradictory), each of which must be practiced individually.

 

For your practice regimen, that means that you should (of course, as you yourself point out) strive to playing your tune set fluently, but DON'T LEAVE IT THERE. As soon as you feel reasonably comfortable with the melody, try adding harmonies, try speeding up, by all means play against a metronome, play for audiences if possible, record yourself and try to play along with your self recording, attempt to play along with youtube or soundcloud renditions of the tune by other people, ideally attend sessions and dances and so on. All towards the goal of practicing those skills that belong to musicianship but that no sheet music collection will ever help you with.

 

And please don't put this off as too advanced at your stage, it's not. A perfect musical rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in front of a two listener audience may have more musical value than a complicated piece mastered only at home with no distractions whatsoever, so you can't start early enough, in particular since some of the strategies outlined above don't require other people involved.

 

Best of luck to you!

 

 

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Another thing that may help is to compose your own tunes, however simple.  if you sit with your 'tina and create things together there seems to be a deeper "set" in your brain, perhaps because the tune is perceived as a whole rather than different parts that need to be joined together ( dots, fingerings, bellows movements etc.).  At least that's how it works for me...🙂

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🙂 Or you can just play a bit each day on whatever tune you want and just have a good time. Also a valid strategy! It'll take longer to "get good", but if you're having fun, who cares? It all depends on your goals.

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7 hours ago, RAc said:

 

Hi there, SIlverOfSand, and btw welcome to the concertina community!

 

I'm in danger of repeating myself, but at this point, I'd like to issue a small issue of warning:

 

Define "master a tune." If to you it means to be able to play the tune to your own satisfaction in your practice room - fine, but you are very likely in for an unpleasant surprise as soon as you take the tune outside of this environment - you'll find that as soon as someone else listens in (or if you even believe somebody to listen it), you may as well never have played the tune before, it'll be gone. Part of that is nervousness, but it's also related to the fact that the process of making music consists of a number of very different skills that are independent of each other (sometimes even contradictory), each of which must be practiced individually.

 

For your practice regimen, that means that you should (of course, as you yourself point out) strive to playing your tune set fluently, but DON'T LEAVE IT THERE. As soon as you feel reasonably comfortable with the melody, try adding harmonies, try speeding up, by all means play against a metronome, play for audiences if possible, record yourself and try to play along with your self recording, attempt to play along with youtube or soundcloud renditions of the tune by other people, ideally attend sessions and dances and so on. All towards the goal of practicing those skills that belong to musicianship but that no sheet music collection will ever help you with.

 

And please don't put this off as too advanced at your stage, it's not. A perfect musical rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in front of a two listener audience may have more musical value than a complicated piece mastered only at home with no distractions whatsoever, so you can't start early enough, in particular since some of the strategies outlined above don't require other people involved.

 

Best of luck to you!

 

 

Thanks for the advice! I live with other family members, so like it or not, they are most likely going to listen to my playing! 😅

 

I haven’t really practiced playing an instrument in front of others before, as I usually do it for myself. I’ll definitely give these suggestions a go, especially recording myself. I feel that would be good to do, since I can actually see what I’m doing and what needs improvement.
 

I’m not aware of any dance or music sessions in my area, but I’ll look into that for after the pandemic is over. It’s interesting how, even though we may have learned a song, we can just as quickly forget it when under pressure!

 

Thanks again for the reply, this really helps give me a place to start.

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7 hours ago, wunks said:

Another thing that may help is to compose your own tunes, however simple.  if you sit with your 'tina and create things together there seems to be a deeper "set" in your brain, perhaps because the tune is perceived as a whole rather than different parts that need to be joined together ( dots, fingerings, bellows movements etc.).  At least that's how it works for me...🙂


I’ve never thought of making my own songs, mostly because I no nothing about music theory, but maybe just fiddling with different notes and combinations might work as well.

 

6 hours ago, MJGray said:

🙂 Or you can just play a bit each day on whatever tune you want and just have a good time. Also a valid strategy! It'll take longer to "get good", but if you're having fun, who cares? It all depends on your goals.

 

Yes, I’m not planning on turning pro or anything, I’m doing this mostly for myself, but I do want to have the skills so I can play somewhat competently. I’m sure I’ll have fun at whichever pace I’m learning!

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19 hours ago, SliverOfSand said:

I’ve never thought of making my own songs, mostly because I no nothing about music theory, but maybe just fiddling with different notes and combinations might work as well.

To pick up this line of thought: I just recently had this YouTube clip pointerd out to me. It deals with my other instrument, the banjo, but I reckon the principles discussed are not instrument-specific.

https://youtu.be/SZR-u9SF7-Y

 

Cheers,

John

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On 1/9/2021 at 10:01 AM, GPKarl said:

One more thing, If I have a problem, it is because I want to play so many tunes. I have about 20 songs I keep playing and have a hard time focusing and mastering one. I hobble through each one, every time sounding better, but feel I should buckle down and get a few down pat. I need a book or sheet music, as none are sticking in my head by memory...yet. The fun and learning continues. This whole website and it's contributors have been VERY helpful.

Re Memory training:

Can you hum the tune without difficulty? Easily bringing it to mind?

For me this is the key. It means my brain has "taken in" the melody so when I attempt to play it even if I get a note wrong I know instantly it's wrong.

 

The process of how we learn is a fascinating study. I found the information at Brainjo helpful. This is a book/ blog by a neurologist who also plays banjo and explores how the brain learns and remembers  and how you can use these ideas to learn a music instrument as an adult.

 

 

https://www.brainjo.academy/aboutbrainjo/

 

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11 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

To pick up this line of thought: I just recently had this YouTube clip pointerd out to me. It deals with my other instrument, the banjo, but I reckon the principles discussed are not instrument-specific.

https://youtu.be/SZR-u9SF7-Y

 

Cheers,

John


This is a really interesting video! The method he uses actually makes a lot of sense, I’m definitely going to practice like that. Thanks for sharing!

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 Apologies, the link I provided is to his subscription course - which only whets your appetite of course unless you play a secondary instrument - fiddle or banjo.

 

This is the better link- it breaks down his theory of learning to be a musician into digestible chunks.

 

https://clawhammerbanjo.net/the-immutable-laws-of-brainjo-deconstructing-the-art-and-science-of-practice/

 

Index to all the lessons:

https://www.banjohangout.org/blog/36259

Edited by Breve
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Hi, I’m actually new to concertina too, but I’ve been playing guitar and mandolin for a while and at one stage made an attempt to learn the melodeon. (Before I learned mandolin) I could play five or six tunes with a good rhythm, but that was it.

I think my biggest problem at that time was that I would often try to improvise intuitively, and too fast, learning mistakes. It’s a fun instrument though!

 

My advice would be to definitely get regular lessons, use a metronome or drum machine a lot during practice,  and also while learning any of the odd rhythms, the different types of swing, 7/8 time etc. 

Remember that whatever genre of music you choose, if you learn even just one tune from a different genre that will help you advance rapidly. Practice slow a lot of the time, learn small chunks one at a time and move on to another chunk only if you’re totally blocked, that is, while you learn a particular flow of the fingers. Try to visualise the keyboard.

Make zero mistakes while practicing, and make zero mistakes while practicing( :) ).

A personal rule I have, and it’s really open to debate: if you cant play a tune to a metronome, then you cant play the tune. Think of the metronome as a musician (friend) who is too focused to be able to listen.

Good luck!

-I’ll find my tenor English concertina soon and be on the same road.

 

Also, just out of interest, here’s some French tunes with melodeon tab.

http://diato.org/tablat.htm#tab2-3

Edited by simon ds
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1 hour ago, simon ds said:

Hi, I’m actually new to concertina too, but I’ve been playing guitar and mandolin for a while and at one stage made an attempt to learn the melodeon. (Before I learned mandolin) I could play five or six tunes with a good rhythm, but that was it.

I think my biggest problem at that time was that I would often try to improvise intuitively, and too fast, learning mistakes. It’s a fun instrument though!

 

My advice would be to definitely get regular lessons, use a metronome or drum machine a lot during practice,  and also while learning any of the odd rhythms, the different types of swing, 7/8 time etc. 

Remember that whatever genre of music you choose, if you learn even just one tune from a different genre that will help you advance rapidly. Practice slow a lot of the time, learn small chunks one at a time and move on to another chunk only if you’re totally blocked, that is, while you learn a particular flow of the fingers. Try to visualise the keyboard.

Make zero mistakes while practicing, and make zero mistakes while practicing( :) ).

A personal rule I have, and it’s really open to debate: if you cant play a tune to a metronome, then you cant play the tune. Think of the metronome as a musician (friend) who is too focused to be able to listen.

Good luck!

-I’ll find my tenor English concertina soon and be on the same road.

 

Also, just out of interest, here’s some French tunes with melodeon tab.

http://diato.org/tablat.htm#tab2-3


Thank you for the advice! Just got my concertina yesterday and can already play Oh Susanna using both the left and right hand sides at the same time, which is much more progress than I thought I would make in a day. I definitely need to practice with a metronome, it might help me to just try and reach a steady pace instead of the starting and stopping I sometimes experience. It seems my biggest challenge is learning songs I’m not familiar with. I listen to the song a few times, but when I go to play it, I forget it immediately. 😅 I think I need to just listen to those songs on repeat until they’re stuck in my head so I can actually play them! Also, good luck with the English concertina!

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Thanks! :) 

I actually just bought Michael Eskin’s English concertina software player app for ipad. 3.50 euros, well worth it.

-soon there’ll be the version where you can play an .abc file and it shows you which buttons to press next, like a piano app, and gives you points each time you get it right, or those little pizza slices points. 

 

The layout is so cool because it’s almost exactly like a mandolin fretboard, a lot of fourths and fifths and simple rules for jumping intervals.

I cut out a cardboard template so I don’t have to look down to see the fretboard, I mean keyboard. And I’ve learned some of the rules at least -you know, things like if you’re playing this note where would that relative note be?

 

I’ll post regular vids once I get the instrument.

Good luck with yours,  a vid of Oh Suzannah would be fine -especially if it’s not perfect, then later we can see a progression. Always motivating.

Edited by simon ds
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48 minutes ago, simon ds said:

Thanks! :) 

I actually just bought Michael Eskin’s English concertina software player app for ipad. 3.50 euros, well worth it.

-soon there’ll be the version where you can play an .abc file and it shows you which buttons to press next, like a piano app, and gives you points each time you get it right, or those little pizza slices points. 

 

The layout is so cool because it’s almost exactly like a mandolin fretboard, a lot of fourths and fifths and simple rules for jumping intervals.

I cut out a cardboard template so I don’t have to look down to see the fretboard, I mean keyboard. And I’ve learned some of the rules at least -you know, things like if you’re playing this note where would that relative note be?

 

I’ll post regular vids once I get the instrument.

Good luck with yours,  a vid of Oh Suzannah would be fine -especially if it’s not perfect, then later we can see a progression. Always motivating.


I saw a few of those apps as well, although I don’t remember seeing one for Anglo... that is very cool that it will be able to convert abc tabs to buttons, could be really useful if you can’t read that specific tablature. 
 

I’d love to see some videos of your English! I don’t have a good recording set-up myself, but I’ll look into maybe recording some audio of my playing, even if it’s just for myself. It’s always so cool to see progression of learning any instrument. :)

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