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Well who knew that all it took to play by ear was a teacher more stubborn than yourself (and bigger!)

 

I've always wanted to play be ear ---- sometime. Just not now. I truly believed that during a workshop was not the way to go - not enough time.

 

Then I met up with an instructor who was bound and determined that I could do this. I can hardly believe it, but he was right.

 

I would not call my fledgling efforts a "you can play by ear" now, but he does. And insists that it was great that I learned three complete tunes by ear in 5 hours. Well I am just thrilled that I could do it.

 

And went back for more at another festival in a higher level workshop.

 

This is so much fun. Now I can go to sessions and tape them and believe that I can figure out the notes.

 

As incredible as it is, I was the one in the second workshop to stick with the playing by ear. Everyone else cheated and got the notes.

 

I love it. :)

 

Helen

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Way to go, Helen!

 

I would have encouraged you to play by ear on the way back from East Durham but I was afraid your head would have been badly bruised by the PA keyboard!

 

I'm glad you found another way.

 

Best regards,

 

Greg J

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Great stuff, Helen, I'm really pleased for you. Even though it's praobbly much harder work than learning from the dots at the moment, you may well find, ultimately, that you prefer learning by ear. Of course oral/aural transmission's also one of the ways in which the folk process causes tunes and songs to evolve. There's no such thing as a wrong note* B)

 

 

 

* this may or may not be true

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Well done Helen and although you had tried before this is the big one,you are now confident that you can do it.You now join many of us who go to sessions without music and eagerly await what the next tune will be to have a go at it.Or listen to a brand new tune never played before at the session and at the end of it can play most, or all of the new tune.

The other excitement is buying a new CD,most by ear players do not just buy a cd to listen to,it is to hear a new tune to play along with. Probably two thirds of folk music purchased is for people top learn new tunes from the artists, or listen to tunes they already know, to compare with the way they play it.This is the excitement that by ear playing brings,I just cannot imagine how by dot players keep up their enthusiasm.To go to a session and then have to fumble through hundreds of bits of paper to find the dots or just to go to a by dot session,"We will now play tune page 58 ", that would just drive me crazy and I know I would not stick with it.

Well done again Helen

Al :)

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Yay, way to go Helen!

 

I definitely agree with Stuart in that learning by ear is sometimes the harder road in the beginning, but it is totally worth it. I find that the tunes I learnt by ear "stick" and are a alot easier to remember than the ones I learnt by dots.

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Bravo Helen! Ya' done us all proud. Soon you'll have to get one of those little silver digital recorders, an' when a new tune comes out at session, just pop in on the table and another tune will soon be at your fingertips.

 

I am still too cheap to buy one and must hear a version live a number of times. Penny wise and pound foolish.

 

Now about those voice lessons..... ;)

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Here is something that developing ear musicians may find useful and could tie in with these "singing suggestions".

 

After being the "dunce" in my Noel Hill class last year I made an effort over the winter to become more adept at sight reading. As my karmic destiny would have it, this year Noel decided to teach by ear and distribute the dots the last day of class! Once again I was the struggling student in the back of the room. After recovering from another taste of adversity I decided to do something about it and got out a course by Homespun Tapes of "Ear training for Instrumentalists" that I had ordered some months back. I'm now humming away in the basement sharpening my feeling for thirds, fourths and fifths while building concertina cases.

While I have only used the first of the six cds in the course I feel this method is going to help sharpen my intuitive ear and give me some additional tools to learn and understand tunes.

 

And it won't hurt my singing either!

 

Regards,

 

Greg J

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Aw, you guys are so sweet.

 

Ironically, Mark, I have one of those little silver thingies to pop on the table and tape music. Guess who told me to get it? My pa teacher! My by the book, don't play by ear, pa teacher. Just what did he think I was gonna use it for?!

 

I can't believe I was defending playing by ear to these pa students in Canada. Good grief, me! This one woman indignantly said that she wanted to have the tune after she left. I said I had learned three tunes in NY. She asked me how many I remembered. I told her all three, but I had forgotten the ones I had learned by notes in the concertina class!

 

As to the singing, well that is a funny story that just happened yesterday ...

 

Helen

 

PS Thanks Al and Morgana and Greg and David and Mark and Stuart and Henk for the encouragement.

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I told her all three, but I had forgotten the ones I had learned by notes in the concertina class!

 

 

 

Helen I have also found that a tune "learned by ear" is memorized almost in the moment. Sometimes I have to hear a phrase and it all comes back with a brand new one.

 

After 20 years of not playing concertina, banjo and singing folk music, I have found that all of it has come back in the last year. I can't say the same for a lot of the oratorio that I sang during those "lost" years (oratorio most often is performed with music in hand).

 

Tunes learned by sheet music I have to memorize right away or I become dependant on looking at the music. Just the way my mind works. It also tends to limit my self granted permission to be free with the music.

 

Now about that interesting thing the other day....

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way to go, Helen!!!

 

I'm still about 50/50. The dots are only useful if it's a tune I've heard often enough to recognize. Noodling out a tune I know very well without benefit of any dots works pretty well but annoys the hell out of my family.

 

Now I need to get one of those high tech thingys that can record to a disk, not tape. Any suggestions, folks?

 

Helen, I am quite, quite proud of you :)

 

 

 

edited to finish incomplete sentence. geesh.

Edited by Rhomylly
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