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Social Or Isolated?

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Well done on bringing this up to the top, LDT! Lots of names there that I haven't seen before, it's interesting.


I didn't play anything for years after moving to France, because I couldn't find anyone with a similar fiddle repertoire - I also wasn't very good, so it wasn't really possible for me to start anything up.


Interesting too to see comments about sessions being either too fast or too Irish. There is only one session round here, a monthly one, 30 miles away, and it fits both those descriptions!


Finding the sea shanty group has saved me, and given me a reason to carry on playing the concertina. Because I'm just an accompaniment to the singing, there's not the pressure of "impressing" people with complicated solos or anything like that, so I feel a sense of freedom in being allowed to play within my limits, which strangely enough is also what is allowing me to progress.


The psychology of music. :)

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Living in England, where people are fairly thick

I've noticed that too, but was reluctant to mention it. ;)


I play mostly duets with my wife, but also work on duets with a clarinet player (klezmer, Celtic, ragtime and classical), and once a month we have a session with 15-20 neighbors where any and all music is welcomed. Solo, duet, ensemble, session - any way you choose to do it, playing concertina is fun! :lol:

Edited by yankeeclipper
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Play?? Hell, I'm still practicing and apparently I'm not even good at that since... well... I'm still practicing!

The last time I attempted a public "practice", was at a pirate festival in St. Augustine last week. Normally, people will come up and ask "What is that." Of course I'm never really sure if they're asking about the instrument or the tune. Kids seem to like it, they'll stop and listen and sometimes dance. Normally all good fun.

Well, not this day. I was sitting on a coquina wall at the Fountain of Youth when some guy comes up with a black soft case just like mine and pulled out a Rochelle, just like mine, and started to play. He was doing chords on the left and what sounded like a tune on the right. Not that good, but better than me. He said he'd just gotten the instrument so despair started to set in.

Suddenly another dude, older than the first, wearing a captain's cap came up and asked if he could try it.

"I can play the harmonica." he volunteered. So I handed it to him expecting some random notes and having to tell him about the air valve, etc.

He started wailin' on that thing like I've never seen. I'm thinking, "I'll never be able to do that."

My depression deepened.

Then he hands it over to another, younger fellow who just happened to be standing there and said "You wanna try?"

After this guy did things with it which I didn't think were possible, I walked away, put it back in it's case and didn't "practice" again, in public or private, all day. I spent the time licking my wounds.

At this point, I was totally bummed. "Why bother?" :(

That night, there was a band and there were those 2 guys. The older gent played a button accordian and his buddy had a concertina. There was a mandolin, a hand held drum, a base and lead guitar in the group. I've never heard such a rousing set of music. The mandolin and guitars were amplified but not the concertina. I had no idea a concertina could be so loud. I thought he was going to explode the bellows. If awesome is a word, that's what it was.

I've since learned the older gent is pretty well known and has at least one CD out (which I now own). I don't know who the other guy was. I heard he played for Disney.

After hearing such amazing stuff as this, my depression left me and the whole experience has strengthened my resolve to better myself. It showed me that there will always be those who are better than me, but perhaps, someday, with perseverance, I'll come across some guy sitting on a wall and be able to totally ruin his day. :P

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Concertina seems to be my "alone" instrument. In fact, I've been too busy with my other "social" musical projects that I haven't picked one up in a month or so :( . My working projects are playing: tenor banjo in a ragtime band; guitar/mando/fiddle in a celtic group; hosting a weekly jam on by upright bass; and occasional solo singing gigs with as many of those strings as I can haul about--when I bring concertina along as well.


I've been obsessed with music since I was 10 years old or younger. I spent 20 years playing alone, trying to become proficent enough with solo classical guitar repertoire--which was never really FUN--with the goal of performing in public and never became confident enough. Meanwhile, all of the folk forms I'd been absorbing were FUN, and consequently led me into all sorts of social playing situations. Some weren't of much musical interest to me--such as playing pedal steel in a country band. Much of my social playing--such as hosting jams--renders me in situations not always musically interesting. But it's unavoidable, so I emphasize instruction and facilitation at these times.

Edited by catty
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I've always been very much a solitary player with my other instruments - part of my choosing the concertina was because of its connection to folk music and so the folk scene, as I would like to get into playing more with other people! I'll have to get a little better before I start trying to do that in earnest, though...

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I'm having to practice a lot for my classes with Alan on Skype (which today was blinkin' awful, new router on the way). Now my wife is complaining she gets the weekly tune jammed in her head and it's making her violin practicing for her lessons more difficult......I'm calling it, "Concertina's Revenge"......

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