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Managing air and tempo

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Hello all!


I recently bought myself a 30 button C/G concertina from gear4music and the coveted Concertina in the Harmonic Style by Gary Coover which has been great so far. I have however hit my first major snag.


I was having a crack at For Ireland I'd not tell her name, got to the 3rd bar/measure and no matter what I try I always run out of air before I can start bar 5.


I make sure to pull the bellows beforehand as much as possible to maximise air. I tried playing slow and quiet but then I go too slow and the reeds don't sound. It's very frustrating but I don't want to give up so soon on my learning journey.


Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated :)


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The more experience you get, the less air you use.  Little things add up: learning alternative fingerings (almost every note is available in 2 or more places, sometimes in opposite directions), playing the accompaniment "percussively" rather than as long notes, and generally learning when to "snatch a breath" often with the air button, rather than taking a deep breath only when you need it.


The air button is the hardest button on the instrument to learn, then one day you will realise you no longer have to think about it.

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Sounds like your new Anglo might use a little more air than most - sorry to hear that! I really try to make all the tunes suitable even for "leaky Lachenals" and other beginner instruments whenever possible by making sure there are not too many long stretches of push or pull, and sometimes deliberately changing directions sooner than I would normally do  because I know some folks will need it. But yes, this tune will take more air than most, so you have a good challenge on your hands!


On my Wolverton hybrid I can play this passage almost three times consecutively with no problem, so here are some things to consider. Like Mikefule said, beginners (including myself at the time) tend to push much harder than need be. I think it's a psychological thing, trying to force the tune out - doesn't work that way! Also, beginners are usually playing much slower because they are learning, so that compounds the issue. Suggestions for now:  don't hold the longer notes at the bottom, tap all the bass notes lightly. If and/or when the time comes, you can hold things for longer. Or even leave out the #4 and #5 buttons altogether. If you can make it to that pull d at the end of the last measure, it is there specifically so you can grab some air while playing it. Good luck!




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Beginners in general have problems with pull notes and play them much longer than push notes. It is well worth trying to  practice short sharp push and  pull notes.


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