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Where Are The Children


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In addition to performing on the EC I also teach. All classes are via Zoom primarily since, with one exception, my students are located outside of the DC Metro area where I live. 

Most recently I was contacted by someone interested in EC lessons for their 11 year old son. We met and he is just delightful and excited about playing. But it made me realize that it has been years since I had the chance to play music with or teach a child the concertina. I know that in the UK, Europe, Japan and China the playing of free reed instruments starts early and is often encouraged. Many of the great players I saw on the WCD concerts learned to play from within their own family and communities. In the US...not so much I think. 

But I hope my experience is just unique and there are places where children learn and play the concertina.  

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A good question.

 

And a related one:

 

How many in this forum began playing the concertina as children?

 

I play several instruments, and some of them go back to childhood (starting with the cello at age 10), but I was in my 30s when I started playing the concertina.

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My view is similar to David's. I started as a child by playing whatever I could lay my hands on, which meant the instruments we had lying round at home: mandolin, violin, piano, Autoharp and mouth organ. I suppose children from less well-equipped homes would have started out with some "conventional" or "mainsteam" instrument, such as the recorder, which is taught at school, or the piano or violin, for which tuition is readily available.

If I recall correctly, i was at least 18 when I got my first concertina (at my own wish). That is, I was able to make my own decision on what to learn, and was at liberty to choose something less "mainstream."

Cheers,

John

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I first learned about the existence of concertinas on shanties concert when I was 11 and was immediately hooked. But I never saw one up close until I was 25 and it took me 19 years to get my hands on my first, DDR made Anglo-German...

The problem is the entry price (and in case of Poland, up until internet shopping era, availability of instruments or even any written sources on concertinas). Even nowadays, entry level Rochelle/Jackie/Elise is 3 times more expensive than an entry level acoustic guitar. Then, in case of duets, there is a very, very steep price curve to get your hands on an instrument large enough for a serious repertoire. Few days ago I had a long chat with a fellow polish Anglo player, who recently switched to melodeon, because he could find a decent one for a fraction of a price of a decent Anglo.

 

I'm perfectly aware why concertinas are as expensive as they are, but if you don't have a box in your family or very supportive parents it is very hard to get that kind of money before your first proper job.

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My nephew decided to learn Piano Accordeon at the age of five. I decided to learn the concertina at close to fifty, in parts because I had hauled his Weltmeister from A to B one too many times...

 

But I had tried myself at the guitar for about 30 years prior to that, and I guess my nephew and I picked our first respective instruments for the same basic reason: We had heard someone play it somewhere and liked the sound. Thus the formula appears simple: The more popular an instrument is, the more young followers it will attract. 

 

Of course, there are other effects. My father had dediced to learn the piano at a young age also for the same reason, and it would have been natural for me to get started on the piano as well when I was a kid. Yet it seemed uncool at that time; the guitar seemed so much cooler (and was rather rebell-ish back then which made it even cooler).
 

Edited by RAc
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2 hours ago, Paul_Hardy said:

Yes, I first saw a concertina aged 22, and got my first aged 40. However I've left some money in my will to the ICA to encourage concertina playing by young people.

On my solicitor's advice some details are omitted from my Will and specified instead in a "memorandum of wishes", which I think gives my executors more latitude. The MoW leaves my concertinas to the ICA, to be lent to deserving players including beginners.

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I think it is good to encourage all ages to try out something different to the mainstream, as far as music in concerned, as wonderful as mainstream instruments, such as guitar, piano, etc.. they have already a certain theory and method often attached to them, which is often perhaps a bit daunting for newcomers, and yet with free reed instruments there is still a feeling of that improvised, approachable quality,  and somehow a more friendly nature to them; they look curious, interesting, have a nice reedy voice like sound, and are easily portable too, being held in the hands. With bonus of a simple tablature system to  get to know the notes and buttons, what could be more endearing? Or to enthuse a new student? And yet has such great capabilities.

Incidentally, I started playing my first concertina [a 20 key Anglo], when 22 years old, I had never thought of playing one, and got it to attempt to accompany my father on his accordion.  But I found I could play it; which was great!

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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I have two sons (7 & 9) who are learning to play Anglo. I started them with just playing melody, but they’re starting to move into left hand accompaniment. Right now we are working on Shepherd’s Hey.

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6 hours ago, Ethan Ham said:

I have two sons (7 & 9) who are learning to play Anglo. I started them with just playing melody, but they’re starting to move into left hand accompaniment. Right now we are working on Shepherd’s Hey.

 

Neat! Are you going to teach them to dance it? It will do wonders for their playing.

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So a follow-up:

My 11 year old student had his 2nd lesson the other day. 

After our initial meeting I had suggested that he and his mother watch some YouTube videos of different players and music to see what he enjoys. At our lesson he said he wants to play music like this guy and proceeded to play me a video of Simon Thoumire. I told him he would have to really practice a lot in order to play as well as Simon.
He then said " What's my other choice?"
Kid's gonna be a star.
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9 minutes ago, Randy Stein said:

At our lesson he said he wants to play music like this guy and proceeded to play me a video of Simon Thoumire. I told him he would have to really practice a lot in order to play as well as Simon.

 

Are you going to teach him to hold his instrument the way Simon does?

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