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Young children: Wren vs. Rochelle 2 vs. ?


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I have a 7 year old and a 10 year old.  Both are showing very mild interest in the concertina (they don't want to 'learn to play' anything yet but enjoy playing with the buttons and seeing how it works) but are nervous handling an expensive instrument.  I am considering getting either a Wren or a Rochelle 2 for them to use - something that I won't be heartbroken if they drop/break it.  Does anyone have experience with young children/small hands and budget concertinas?  Are there models that work better for them?

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I do not know if my suggestion is best; but how about one of those robust GDR made 20 key Concertina types?  ( Kligenthal made)..It is not Rochelle, but they seem quite tough enough, as a basic introduction to a concertina, or reedy instrument; for curious young hands! Then if interest has not faded can move onto something else later.

Sometimes they turn up on eBay, and quite cheaply, yet will probably still be working, and useable.  Then you can keep your own special ones for your own uses.

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Posted (edited)

That's a thought too.  There's a music shop in town that *might* sell that level of concertina, and it'd be a chance to see if their hands were strong enough to work those models.  I don't want to get something that is so frustrating/difficult to use that they don't want to try anymore.

Edit - yes, that was a good thought.  The local shop sells the Trinity College brand and has one of the red plastic Chinese ones too.  We could hypothetically go along and see what they think of them, and how they sound.

Edited by Geraghty
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Safest bet; I would say.. 

In  a funny way my first concertina was one of those [GDR 20 button Anglo] types myself.. it was well made actually; nice wooden case, bigger buttons, and strong tone.  I used it for over 11 years and it was still working.. only that Curiosity made me open it up to see how it worked; and inside was quite robust also! [no hidden treasure inside though!].  

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I gave a rochelle 1 to a kid I used to mentor, he was probably 12 or so at the time. He did learn to play a few things!  Yes, it was big and stiff and I don't think I'd get one for the younger kids, but I'd heard the rochelle 2 was better. Maybe not so much as I'd hoped? 

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I will second that the Rochelle 2 is quite stiff. at least when new. After a short while of playing my finger tips are dented and feeling quite bruised. As an adult, I am prepared to go through that and build up toughness, but probably not best for tender young fingers. I too started on a very cheap 20 button with big buttons that stood me in good stead for many years.

 

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Posted (edited)

Have you considered buying them a 'toy melodeon' as an alternative - an example here. That's

in the UK, but I'm sure you'll find similar in North America.

 

It'll be cheaper, and there are all the buttons etc. to play with. Get them one each, so they can

play duets - get two different colours to avoid fights...

 

I seem to remember reading a story about someone who got a fettler to 'hot-rod' one of these

things, which was subsequently used with great success as a 'novelty' at Morris dance outs...  

 

There are many threads on melodeon.net dealing with these things, eg: here. Do an 'Advanced

Search' on the phrase "toy melodeon" to see more...

 

There's any number of videos on YouTube. This is a favourite...

Edited by lachenal74693
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At last; I believe the answer to your topic ( which instrument for young ones) ..it's already on this site. And will solve all your worries over cost, or damage to worthy, or even budget concertina for children..

Where is it?

It was featured under topic 'going to need some help with this one".. put on by pistachio dreamer; it was made of confectionary. Yes a cake made in form of concertina! Now that will put pay to bother with concerns over musical devices.. and tasty too! It will keep them quiet!

I have image here ( screenshot) which I hope is ok from pistachio dreamer copy for you to see..

It fooled me ( because I thought it was real myself!)..

 

IMG_20220515_222803.jpg

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FWIW, I gave my youngest grandson, aged 6, a harmonica for Christmas, and he's taken quite a liking to it. He even reads the tablature for it.

Now, I'd say a harmonica is to an anglo concertina what a practice chanter is to a full set of bagpipes. So when my grandson's hands are big enough for a normal Anglo, his musical instinct will help him to get off to a flying start.

At least, that's what happened to me, two generations ago!

Cheers,

John

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps, if action of instrument is still stiff, there is need for 'grownup' adult person to free the instrument for a while by playing or adjusting it as much as possible, before then handing over to younger ones; in this way everything will be easier to use  later on.

Thought; then they can watch and learn from a 'master' or great performer how to play as well!!! As you use it! 😁😁😁

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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Thanks all!  After more thought I have decided to get on the list for a Flying Ducks Duckling, 24 button with a drone (because I've never had a drone and it sounds fun).  It'll be a little over a year before it is ready but should be robust enough for kids and double as a travel instrument, and I've seen very good reviews about using them with kids.

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