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What Is Your Driving Force?


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Hearing recently of a C net member practicing for four to six hours a day which for a non professional or even semi professional is a lot of hours.I wondered what pushed me along to sit playing my concertina every day which I normally do in short bursts of fifteen minutes with a few hours break in between. For me it is new tunes,Tunes that get into my head and I have to learn them for however long it takes.A break for a few days and then onto the next tune.I rarely play tunes I already know unless I am getting ready for a gig and then it is to refresh my memory.In the early days I made the mistake of playing tunes or a tune I knew every time I practiced and I realised that I was wasting time.

What drives you to practice for hours and are you making full use of the time you are playing ?

Al

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Hearing recently of a C net member practicing for four to six hours a day which for a non professional or even semi professional is a lot of hours.I wondered what pushed me along to sit playing my concertina every day which I normally do in short bursts of fifteen minutes with a few hours break in between. For me it is new tunes,Tunes that get into my head and I have to learn them for however long it takes.A break for a few days and then onto the next tune.I rarely play tunes I already know unless I am getting ready for a gig and then it is to refresh my memory.In the early days I made the mistake of playing tunes or a tune I knew every time I practiced and I realised that I was wasting time.

What drives you to practice for hours and are you making full use of the time you are playing ?

Al

 

 

I play about one hour a day. But there are days I do not play at all, or days I will play two hours or (rarely) three.

I play new tunes. But I also rework old ones that I learned a few years ago. Because my abilities / technique has changed (for the better I hope) I can add to an old tune and make it more interesting than before.

In fact when I learn a tune I start learning the basic tune, and then there is a (more creative) process of what can be done with that tune and what ornamentations, chords, variations etc. I can apply to that tune. At the end I play the tune and have an array of possibilities to pick from as I feel inclined at that moment. At the beginning the possibilities are limited because your technique is limited. I have fun in using technique not for technique sake but to broaden my possibilities. I am now sweating on playing melody on two octaves at once (hard on the EC especially when you want to do it fast and smooth - a lot easier on the AC).

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Hearing recently of a C net member practicing for four to six hours a day which for a non professional or even semi professional is a lot of hours.I wondered what pushed me along to sit playing my concertina every day which I normally do in short bursts of fifteen minutes with a few hours break in between. For me it is new tunes,Tunes that get into my head and I have to learn them for however long it takes.A break for a few days and then onto the next tune.I rarely play tunes I already know unless I am getting ready for a gig and then it is to refresh my memory.In the early days I made the mistake of playing tunes or a tune I knew every time I practiced and I realised that I was wasting time.

What drives you to practice for hours and are you making full use of the time you are playing ?

Al

 

 

to be good. to stand out. to play incredible music. to sit among the elite and smile knowingly.

 

when you realize you only have one life, you also conclude you only have so much time, better to spend it being the best you can, even if your not aiming at virtuosity. With the modern digital age and mass information, the bar has risen beyond most players' vision: to make an impact in the musical world today you must be very good, or else you are passed up in a few mouse clicks.

 

ah that double edged sword of technology: the joy of drinking in the wisdom of the ages, the sadness of downloading a lifetime of work in seconds.

 

all you really have is the moment in your in.

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Yer me too but without the poncey bits!

 

As to how; I do one big (hour plus at least) practice and work fairly steadily at new pieces; I always have several on the go. The final polish never seems to stop and I revisit learnt pieces regularly as I find I still improve on them as I move on. If I'm really not in the mood I experiment with trying to play blues or Fats Waller tunes or working out odd chord sequences or whatever; not so structured but still useful in my grand plan.

 

Life interrupts my practice rather than me; I could always play a bit more...

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I've lost my hopes of becoming what I wanted, but in the meantime have become a music junkey. It has therapeutic influence on me (hope so), without practicing for an hour a day I'm ill. Has been ill throughout long weekend.

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I would agree with "Tootler": the sheer enjoyment of playing and making music. . . . .for those who have experienced that enjoyment, there is nothing more worthwhile. . . . .unless it's sharing it with others...........allan

 

To Jim Lucas:

When I was recording my Bach Bouree, my 6 year old, instead of asking to play rhythm or stop, started to dance! Wow! I don't even know what to make of it.

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The (slowly, slowly, very slowly) ability to get the wee beastie to make the sounds it's capable of. I was going to say, "the ability to get the harmonies I hear in my head to make their way to my fingers," but that's not quite right. It's more about discovering what the instrument can do, if I'm good enough to let it do it. Which I never will be, but that's what improvement's about, eh? It's not something that has a final destination.

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Playing for dancers! I've been very fortunate this past year to be able to play within a small group for two English country dances per month (and two sessions per month as well). I can't say I practice every day (I don't), and I don't spend a lot of time on anything too frilly with accompaniment, as we change tunes every dance and I'm still learning from the several thousand tunes in the Barnes books that they use. Octave playing on anglo or straightforward EC, up to tempo with some great musicians who continually challenge me, while playing for some good dancers, that is what is fun for me.

 

I could probably be a much better player if I put my concertina history research and writing time into practicing time. But I like that side a lot too, and always find a bit of time for it. I dropped by a local university research library after work today, and found a few great little stories about minstrel anglo players in England...

 

Dan

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Playing for dancers! I've been very fortunate this past year to be able to play within a small group for two English country dances per month (and two sessions per month as well). I can't say I practice every day (I don't), and I don't spend a lot of time on anything too frilly with accompaniment, as we change tunes every dance and I'm still learning from the several thousand tunes in the Barnes books that they use. Octave playing on anglo or straightforward EC, up to tempo with some great musicians who continually challenge me, while playing for some good dancers, that is what is fun for me.

 

I could probably be a much better player if I put my concertina history research and writing time into practicing time. But I like that side a lot too, and always find a bit of time for it. I dropped by a local university research library after work today, and found a few great little stories about minstrel anglo players in England...

 

Dan

 

You are right Dan there is nothing better than playing for dancers and those new to our type of dance.Watching little tots dancing with their parents with huge smiles and laughter. Students at Colleges, School Kids at Schools really enjoying themselves,it cannot get better. I remember clearly a dance we did for a large school in Horsham Sussex where there were two events on at the same time a Disco and our Country Dance. Early on in the evening we had a job getting a set together and the disco was heaving,gradually however a few started to get bored with it and drifted over to us,I think initially more for a laugh than a dance.We gradually got them on the floor with fairly simple, but energetic dances(one of the advantages of a good caller).The more we got, the more it grew until the whole evening turned around, we had about two hundred youngsters dancing.A fantastic evening with them screaming for more after each dance.It is evenings like those that make you realise what concertina playing is all about.

Al

Edited by Alan Day
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Another dance player here. But while I play several instruments for dances, I reserve my concertina playing for my personal enjoyment, and entertaining family and friends. It's the instrument of choice for me for relaxation.

Edited by catty
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Yer me too but without the poncey bits!
Spoken like a true Antipodean! :)

 

I find playing the concertina in good sessions the most fun I know, state of dress irrelevant. Close behind, and something we haven't done for a while but want to get back to, is being applauded for a good performance of a song (sometimes accompanied on concertinas). Does the ego a world of good, but you do have to practice, because getting it badly wrong in front of an audience is quite demoralising.

 

My partner Anne has just won a place to read music at Bath Spa University from September, and one of the features of the course is frequent sessions of playing in front of other students followed by constructive criticism. Talk about motivation! She's spending several hours every day practicing her two main instruments (voice and concertina) to bring herself up to the standard she imagines that all these 18 year olds will be at when she starts.

 

I'm going to have to start practicing hard just to keep in sight of her :(

 

Chris

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My partner Anne has just won a place to read music at Bath Spa University from September, and one of the features of the course is frequent sessions of playing in front of other students followed by constructive criticism. Talk about motivation! She's spending several hours every day practicing her two main instruments (voice and concertina) to bring herself up to the standard she imagines that all these 18 year olds will be at when she starts.

 

Having spent much of the last couple of days at The Sage, Gateshead watching final year performances by students on the folk degree course at Newcastle, I can understand how Anne feels. She should not worry though: youth brings something to music but experience brings something else, particularly to song.

 

Best of luck to both of you in this new enterprise! Roger

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Because I need to, for myself....that is until 4 years back performing in an elder care center an ancient dear lady toddled up afterward, looked straight into my eyes and said "Thank you. My mother played the concertina. She had black hair and green eyes and I loved to listen as she played in the kitchen." Whew, shakes me up just remembering it.

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I try to play every day because of all the too many instruments I've tried, this one feels right for me. Even though my tendons in my bass hand are sore most of the time these days.

 

I have told myself from day one that I want to learn to play the instrument, not just the tunes, so I am developing my repertoire slowly. But hopefully I'm playing the dozen or so tunes I know more musically than I was.

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Me, I'm facinated by the darned thing. I am reminded of the song about the "wonderful toy" that Peter Paul and Mary used to sing. The instrument is beautiful to look at, gives the feeling of a living breathing thing in the hands (I love the feeling of controlling the column of air), and, joy of joys, it makes the most wonderful sounds when treated nicely.

 

I like that it is dead simple to learn, yet almost infinitely complex to play well. It is as though it is a house with many rooms, each more richly furnished than the last. There does not appear to be any limitation to the styles that it can be put to.

 

And, thanks to the Ladies and Gentlemen here on c-net, I know much more about the culture of the areas where the concertina is played.

 

You just can't lose!

 

Cant keep my hands off of it!

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