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Day 1 learning my concertina

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Hello everyone,

So I just bought an Elise Hayden Duet Concertina,  this will really be my first instrument. So I have no musical knowledge to speak of. The instrument is actually due to arrive later today.
I am the type to get disheartened in a new hobby, so I am trying to prepare myself for how I should go about learning this instrument, and enjoying myself as much as possible. I am hoping to eventually learn to play songs from my past (so largely songs from Zelda, Mario and such), and then grow into other areas. Just giving that last sentence to give you an idea of my initial interests.

So my question is, what should I focus on to make this as good an experience as possible for myself, and allow me to grow?

Also, a thanks to everyone on this forum already, as the reason I went forward with buying one in the first place, is this place seemed to be supportive in both finding a decent instrument that fit my needs, and knowledge, as well as a supportive community!

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32 minutes ago, Invertigo said:

So my question is, what should I focus on to make this as good an experience as possible for myself, and allow me to grow?

Have you seen this here thread?



A fair number of the suggestions also apply to your question.


Other than that: Totally impossible to say. Each person's journey through the world of music is unique and individual. It all depends on what you wish to accomplish and what kind of musical intuition you have. 


My personal advice would be to hook up with other musicians as soon as you possibly can. It will be both a potentially frustrating and the most important experience ever.


Good luck!


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8 hours ago, Invertigo said:

...I will give that https://concertutor.wordpress.com/ a read over though for sure...

Maybe I'm missing something vital, but that tutor appears to be for an Anglo? The OP states that they have a Duet?


Aren't the two systems incompatible?


Whatever, here is another Duet tutor...


There are also a couple of downloadable items here, but they may not be suitable on the grounds of different system and/or 'age'...

Edited by Roger Hare
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You should get Wim Wakker's duet tutor with your Elise and Roger has already given you a link to Brian Hayden's tutor. 


AFAIK, that is all there is for tutors for the Hayden layout.



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The tutor that Roger Hare linked to above was compiled by Brian Hayden.

It shows layout charts for all the duet systems.

The other pages can be applied to all systems.

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Best of luck in learning your instrument .. you will enter a world of 'free reed'  mania soon enough, whichever you go for🌝

Main thing in learning is do NOT be discouraged if you may find slow progress as you begin learning process, as you will possibly find your mind is ahead of your fingers in this respect for a while, as coordination and the basics are required.

And plenty of people here will continue to give support and advice as you have seen already🌝

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Figured I would come here to give an update, and keep myself on track/motivated.

The concertina didn't show up until Monday(thanks USPS). Since then, I have been following the book that was included with the Elise, and supplementing it with random information on the web.

I can now figure out which note is on a music sheet if i think about it for about 10 seconds.
I can play half of twinkle twinkle little star. (I can play the left and right hand separately, but not at the same time)
I have loosely memorized about half the buttons on the Elise.

I plan to focus on playing twinkle twinkle until I gain some muscle memory for it enough to play using both hands correctly.
And further focus on reading sheet music, and finding the correct button for it more quickly.

And on a random note, I noticed my c1 note leaking a bit, when im drawing and not pressing the button, it plays slightly. This began about 3 hours into playing.

Thanks again for the support everyone!

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Keep up the practice as you will have moments when you will jump ahead in understanding and progress.  And other moments when it could be slower than you would like.  But you will improve. 

Maybe some buttons notes will need working in for a time as you use concertina ( regarding any buzzes or etc)..

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've was in same boat last October and picked up a Concertina. As someone with previously no music knowledge and still learning a whole lot I recommend making it very easy to practice even a little bit everyday. 

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Store the instrument in a readily accessible place.  If it's not easy to get it out, you will be tempted not to bother.


Practise every day for a few minutes.  10 minutes a day is better than 70 minutes once a week.


Accept that initial progress will be slow and a little tedious.  It will far easier when you have 3 or 4 tunes you can play.


Find a structure for your practice that works for you.  I start off with a familiar tune or two, then try something a bit more challenging that you're working on, then finish on a high with familiar tunes.


Spend a little time on scales.  It doesn't have to be tedious, but it will help you with tunes.


Ditto with arpeggios.  Tunes tend to be made up largely of parts of scales and parts of arpeggios.


Start off with easy tunes.  Walk before you try to run.  Try the foothills before you try the mountain.


Aim to play well, rather than just getting through the tune without mistakes.  Lots of repetition will smooth out the tricky bits.


Don't make yourself miserable by comparing yourself with others.  Enjoy playing what you can as well as you can.

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