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Online Concertina Lessons


AlanEgan
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Hi Everyone,

 

I am thinking of starting up online concertina lessons.

 

I have won numerous All-Ireland titles and have been teaching for years.

 

This will require you to have a broadband internet connection, a webcam, mic/headset, and an Anglo concertina of course! :D

You can download Skype for free and set up an account from www.skype.com

 

If interested in these lessons get in touch, classes will range from 30mins to 1hr depending on your ability and all abilities are catered for.

 

You can email me direct on eganalan@gmail.com for more information.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Alan Egan

Edited by skinsegan
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Hi Everyone,

 

I am thinking of starting up online concertina lessons.

 

I have won numerous All-Ireland titles and have been teaching for years.

 

This will require you to have a broadband internet connection, a webcam, mic/headset, and an Anglo concertina of course! :D

You can download Skype for free and set up an account from www.skype.com

 

If interested in these lessons get in touch, classes will range from 30mins to 1hr depending on your ability and all abilities are catered for.

 

You can email me direct on eganalan@gmail.com for more information.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Alan Egan

Finally!

That's an awesome idea! This way you can get conference call for many to participate in a recital.

The only problem is the connection speed. I don't know if you have tried it already, but in my case I often have to turn the webcam off, otherwise it freezes on me for several seconds at a time. OK for just a Hello conversation, but unworkable for music sessions. What's your experience? What kind of Broadband would you recommend? If it will not work, you can consider correspondence lessons, when a pupil records himself with that webcam and just sends the file over the Net.

This can be beneficial for those over the ocean with time shift.

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I don’t think conference with video is feasible at the minute with broadband speeds. The classes are going to be one-on-one as it is more beneficial for teaching also. There should be no issue if you have a 512kb+ broadband speed. The idea of posting videos may be a bit time consuming on your part but if you wish to do this I have no objections. I can’t see any problems arising if you have the latest version of Skype and a broadband connection of 512kb+. A new webcam may also fix your freezing video problem.

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What a terrific idea!!

 

I Skype England all the time, but I must say the reception from here is NOT consistent, regardless of the band speed. They have made great strides in the last couple of years, and it certainly has improved. The time differences might be a little awkward (9 hour difference from here), but I'm sure you can make it work. Our family found the Logitech cams in the $100 CDN range to work best. The MS ones seemed to be a bit fuzzy, and the $40 range were not good at all (we all bought our cams two years ago, so things might have changed).

 

I guess the head set is preferable, as we'd get feedback if just on speakers. But I have had problems with switching from speakers to headset as XP, the Logitech cam controls and Skype all need to be in agreement.

 

Those are the issues we have experienced, but I'm willing to give it a go, just love the idea.

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Alan, I think that is a great idea. I've been taking fiddle lessons using Skype and it has worked out well. With a good camera and mic/headset combo the video and sound is excellent.

 

A few suggestions you may want to consider...

 

1. Make sure that you both have good high-speed internet; cable modem, DSL or fiber would be a minimum.

2. Good camera's are essential to the video quality. I use a MacBook and it has worked out great. If you use an add-on you want a high quality, good resolution lens.

3. A good microphone is required. Top of the line is not necesssary since Skype uses a fairly high codec to compress the sound (and video). A headset/mic combo works best.

4. Use front lighting and keep a dark background, it helps the closer image (being you and your instrument) be clearer since there is no movement or excessive colors behind you.

5. You will not be able to play a duet due to the delay.

6. Send the tunes to learn to the student after the lesson in MP3 format and if you use printed music send it as well. They can then learn it on their own before the next lesson.

7. Have the student send you a recording before the lesson so you can analyze it first and discuss it, then work on the problem areas.

8. There will be times that the quality is less than stellar, so you have to be willing to work through bad connections sometimes.

 

If you want a test subject on the US side of the pond let me know, I'd be glad to help.

 

Good luck!

Edited by jlfinkels
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Hi jlfinkels,

 

Thanks for the handy tips! As of last week I have started the lessons and there have been no problems. Some of the lessons have been to the US and they may aswell be in the next room.

 

Only thing I have noticed with Skype, some times the connection can break up it you are using a wireless connection, it seems to work alot better with a wired connection.

 

Due to the amount of interest I don't have many places left between now and Christmas and who I have been teaching seem pleased so far with everything.

 

Thanks again,

Alan.

Edited by skinsegan
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Wireless connections breaking is more a router problem than Skype. I find cheap routers usually can't handle heavy bandwidth very well. I got myself a Netgear wireless router recently and it's working like a charm, full speed with many simulteanous connections.

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I started my first lesson yesterday at 8am my time (PST) 4pm Alan's time (GMT). I want to rave, but it was after all, just a lesson. As a fairly new beginner it is of course somewhat frustrating I can't just bang off the tune, but that's what I'm here for.....

 

These are my setup actions and problems, others will probably not have to go to these extremes, but I've written about them just in case.

 

I spent about 2 hours the day before experimenting with our laptop, the web cam (Logitech), lighting, and backdrop. I happen to have a green screen for filming and used that to simplify the background (it's an overflowing bookcase). I used spring clamps to stretch and secure the GS to the bookcase. Next I brought in a halogen shop lamp that's on a stand and used it to supplement the lighting, as it was a gray, wet, west coast morning, and the web cam was wanting to use poor light enhancement. Those with a well lit room will be fine.

 

The web cam was the next thing to play with and sort out. Logitech has a flyout that allows me to do all sorts of things with the camera, but I was mostly interested in getting it right for a head shot of me, then swiftly adjusting to a lap shot of my hands and the concertina. I kept the flyout on screen and used the zoom function to adjust both shots while we went forward with the lesson, very handy.

 

The biggest problem I had was setting up the sound. This seems to take more than just a quick settings change. The laptop has internal speakers and I also have externals that I have switched the system to use. XP, Logitech, and Skype all have calls on where sound is to go, and if they are not all in agreement, it just doesn't do what you expect. I have played around with this for the last couple of years and it's always a pain. You are advised to have headphones, as the external speakers will cause feedback if your volume is too loud. It took awhile, and I'm still not sure why it suddenly worked, but I got the externals switched off and the headphones working. I used the mic in the web cam for transmission. Those were my set up problems, others may be more fortunate.

 

The actual lesson started, and went quite well. I was impressed with the sound, lighting, and the Skype transmission, very clear and mostly free of anomaly's. Then about half way through, the laptop froze, absolutely locked up. I rushed out to my camper, where I have my main computer setup (it's a nice quiet place to work). It has all sorts of goodies, but if I have to switch it over to headphones it's a major job of unplugging speaker systems from the back and trying to find the right plug for the headphones, in very cramped quarters, and then doing all the software changes. It seems "Esmerelda of the hot body" was looking for a new friend on Skype with which to share pictures of herself. When that hit the laptop, it froze like a deer caught in headlights. Esmeralda got blocked and booted. I have since edited my Privacy settings, DO THIS! We continued on in the camper with speakers, and it was okay, but not nearly as good as with headphones.

 

Once we got connected, Alan sent an MS Word file containing the ABC. I printed it off right away and we got started. I'm not familiar with this way of doing it, but will work this way from now on, I like the simplicity. The lesson was framed in hearing Alan play, then my attempts to work through the ABC, then Alan playing. He advised on button choices and pinky work, showed by example, and we each moved our web cams from head to lap to show what we were doing. I had to uncheck my web cam software from "Mirror" (handy when attempting to setup as the vid shows your movements as you see/feel them, forgot to uncheck it) as my right hand, to Alan, looked as if it was my left hand. Other than the freeze up, Skype ran clearly with very good sound, however, when out in the camper there was some stuttering and artifacting. By the way, as a note, both computers are on cat5 cable to the router, no wireless.

 

Finally, Alan sent me an mpg file of him playing the tune properly, albeit, plainly and relatively slowly (suited to a beginner). I copied it into my sound editing program (Reaper, great $50 deal, 30 day free trail, full functionality if you continue to use, but with purchase reminders daily, and no, I'm not affiliated) and made several copies as one tune, then recorded it to my mp3 player. I played it while working in my shop, during commercials in last nights opening hockey game, as I went to sleep, and today walking the dog, to get the tune into my head. This morning I spent an hour working the tune out on my concertina and I'm starting to "get it". We will get together on Skype again Sunday morning briefly, to check my progress.

 

This is a great way to learn, I'm very happy with how it's all gone, I recommend it to anyone looking for instruction, particularly those in isolated communities far removed from other players.

Edited by RustyH
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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought I would update my experiences so far.

 

Alan got me off my system of identifying notes and buttons, and onto using ABC notation and equating that to the buttons/notes. Surprisingly difficult at first, as my brain was locked into my adopted system (eg. R7o now is D', L10i is now G). Next stage will be equating the sound of the note with it's letter...... I think it's gonna take awhile..... but at least now we speak the same language, so the teaching and the learning is faster and easier (at least from my perspective, I'm sure Alan has quite a different view!! :rolleyes: ).

 

He also sent me a button diagram of just the notes we will use most often, which has greatly simplified my learning. I had ALL the notes on a sheet, colour coded to identicals, and it was overwhelming. His chart shows us using 11 buttons and all of a sudden everything was much easier. Now it's "Use the high F# with that set of notes.", and I know what he's talking about. Before I would have to translate it to "Left 11 out/pull". In my own defense, the physical location of a note seemed easier and more natural, but now I can see it was quite cumbersome.

 

The dominant problem seems to be finding quality practice time. We have been down in Victoria the last 2 weeks looking after the grandchildren (5, 10, 12) while son and wife are in Asia. I drive on average, 4 hours a day, with some 6 hour days. Hockey, piano, squash, soccer, parties (Halloween and birthday), grocery, medical,......and on and on. One week to go! I can't wait to go back to work for a rest. On top of this lunacy we are getting ready for an art show that opens the last night we are here. That takes up the daytime. Twice now I have fallen asleep practicing, not a good sign. As this is our third week, time is sorting itself out, and I've managed two 1 hour sessions so far today. I've found that about 1 hour is the maximum for me, then I need a break. As well, the notes played are getting much shorter, so my arms aren't getting as sore, and I'm not running on the air button to compensate.

 

I went out and purchased a small stereo system that accepts "data sticks" (Sony Microvault 8GB), sales all over the place, getting quite cheap, and cd's. I can now download Alan's mp3 file of him playing the week's tune to the data stick and just shove it in the stereo's USB port. First, to learn how it should sound, and then to play along (oh, I am soooo hopeless, but that's improving as well).

 

So far the Rochelle is standing up to my (and the grandchildren's) pushing and pulling, but today I was hunting around various sites looking for a "real" concertina, how utterly depressing..........anyone out there interested in my first born?

 

Till next time....

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to post a correction to a statement I made regarding whether Alan will be doing Skype lessons in the New Year.

 

Alan will be taking on new students in the New Year, when this lot is finished their 11 weeks. If you are interested then you should get on his list ...... quickly.

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So far the Rochelle is standing up to my (and the grandchildren's) pushing and pulling, but today I was hunting around various sites looking for a "real" concertina, how utterly depressing....

 

Hmm. What did you expect?

Think about it this way: A used car will cost you 7-8K and will have to be replaced in 10 years, a top of the line brand new concertina will cost you the same money, but in 10 years will probably double in price. What do you say?

Have I treated your depression?

You're so very welcome.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...
Hi Everyone,

 

I am thinking of starting up online concertina lessons.

 

I have won numerous All-Ireland titles and have been teaching for years.

 

This will require you to have a broadband internet connection, a webcam, mic/headset, and an Anglo concertina of course! :D

You can download Skype for free and set up an account from www.skype.com

 

If interested in these lessons get in touch, classes will range from 30mins to 1hr depending on your ability and all abilities are catered for.

 

You can email me direct on eganalan@gmail.com for more information.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Alan Egan

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Just to let people know that the classes are still going as I have been receiving alot of emails about it. The New term has just started this week. If you are interested in lessons contact me at eganalan@gmail.com.

 

Thanks,

Alan.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi Everyone,

 

I am thinking of starting up online concertina lessons.

 

I have won numerous All-Ireland titles and have been teaching for years.

 

This will require you to have a broadband internet connection, a webcam, mic/headset, and an Anglo concertina of course! :D

You can download Skype for free and set up an account from www.skype.com

 

If interested in these lessons get in touch, classes will range from 30mins to 1hr depending on your ability and all abilities are catered for.

 

You can email me direct on eganalan@gmail.com for more information.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Alan Egan

 

Hi I'd be interested for sure. Can you please let me know when it will start.

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