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Its terrible isnt it? Makes my concertina playing look fabulouse in comparison. :unsure:

 

Yes, but maybe your exercise technology wasn't optimal. Maybe after some months of concertina playing you would want to try the recorder anew. If your typing gets better by playing concertina, maybe your recorder playing will improve too. :)

 

But concertina is off course more interesting than the recorder. ;)

 

Sebastian

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Hi

It always puzzles me why schools teach recorder and violin to children, both instruments are very difficult to play. Both are easy on which to make painful sounds, which I feel sure has put off a lot of potential students from playing music :angry: So I guess that this begs the question - what instrument would be good for teaching without putting people off music (parents who have to listen to practice especially)

chris (puzzled as usual)

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Hi

It always puzzles me why schools teach recorder and violin to children, both instruments are very difficult to play. Both are easy on which to make painful sounds, which I feel sure has put off a lot of potential students from playing music :angry: So I guess that this begs the question - what instrument would be good for teaching without putting people off music (parents who have to listen to practice especially)

chris (puzzled as usual)

 

That's an easy one - the harmonica! :rolleyes:

 

Suck and blow as they will, the little ones just can't get a discord out of it, and it's always in tune. When they start picking out melodies on it, they learn about chord changes and the stucture of music. And when they're ready for a serious instrument, they have an easy transition to the Anglo concertina or Bandoneon.

 

Much pleasure for the child, little pain for the parents. Cheap, too, and practically indestructable!

 

Worked for me ;)

 

Cheers,

John

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Hi

It always puzzles me why schools teach recorder and violin to children, both instruments are very difficult to play. Both are easy on which to make painful sounds, which I feel sure has put off a lot of potential students from playing music :angry: So I guess that this begs the question - what instrument would be good for teaching without putting people off music (parents who have to listen to practice especially)

chris (puzzled as usual)

 

Have to agree with the harmonica also a 20 button anglo if their hands are big enough (depending on the age of the child). You could also take the example from China where they used to have mandatory teaching in accordion to all students. There are a lot of ideas out there but teaching recorder or violin as the first ones is not the brightest idea at all.

 

 

Michael

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Its terrible isnt it? Makes my concertina playing look fabulouse in comparison. :unsure:

 

Yes, but maybe your exercise technology wasn't optimal. Maybe after some months of concertina playing you would want to try the recorder anew. If your typing gets better by playing concertina, maybe your recorder playing will improve too. :)

 

But concertina is off course more interesting than the recorder. ;)

 

Sebastian

and a recorder gives me and everyone else listening a headache :P

 

Have to agree with the harmonica also a 20 button anglo if their hands are big enough (depending on the age of the child).

a concertina well its buttons I'm sure all kids could handle that...they take to a games console which is just buttons really fine. And it sounds nicer than a recorder.

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Suck and blow as they will, the little ones just can't get a discord out of it, and it's always in tune.

 

Well, no. Hole 6 and 7 together on draw produce a dissonance, more pronounced, when you play more holes together which span 6 and 7; the same in the upper octave. Many people do have problems with the draw notes on holes 1, 2, 3, slightly bending them without notice. Playing clear single tones on a harmonica can be more a trial than producing clear tones on a recorder.

 

I think it was the intense campaign form Hohner that make people think the harmonica would be an instrument especially suitable for children, and maybe the fact, that it is considered a mere toy.

 

Anyway, I do play different harmonicas (diatonic and chromatic) regularly, so I wouldn't oppose if it would be more widely taught. :)

 

Sebastian

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As a contrary view...

 

I think the presumption behind schools and violins began with the idea that you teach kids classical music rather than pop or folk (the same way they read Shakespeare and Dickens and not Rowling in school - you want to expose them to the more difficult stuff, not the stuff they'll discover readily on their own), and with violins you don't need any set number and everyone can play together. I agree the technical barrier to making a good sound on a violin is high. As against that, it's easy to tune (no thirds), and you can play every kind of music on it. It's probably the most versatile small instrument. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing, however painful it may be for the parents. And at this stage, there is a very large stock of relatively inexpensive school violins kids can use.

 

Recorder is a little less understandlbe but it *is* extremely portable and again, unlike, say, a pennywhistle, it's pretty versatile in terms of the keys you can play it in. (Flute has a much higher technical barrier.)

 

Arguably by now schools should be moving on to, say, guitar, but there isn't a large body of public domain work scored for 30 guitars. There *is* a large body of public domain work scored for school orchestras.

 

wg

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Recorder is a little less understandlbe but it *is* extremely portable and again, unlike, say, a pennywhistle, it's pretty versatile in terms of the keys you can play it in. (Flute has a much higher technical barrier.)

Here I beg to differ on the subject of the whistle. Earlier this year I bought a really nice D whistle for my flute (grade 8 but didn't pursue it any further) and recorder playing partner. It took her a few hours to figure out that it was fully chromatic over three and a half octaves. The basic fingerings are but the tip of the iceberg, there's a lot more to the instrument if you take the time to work it out.

 

Now I, like many others here, have been playing music for over forty years and I have to say that I'm a singularly untalented musician; but hard work does as you said earlier in the thread, have it's rewards. I'm passable on guitar, might even manage to fool you for a few seconds into thinking I'm pretty good; alas it's all to do with years of practice and muscle memory. Talent and imagination I have none. :(

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I've gigged for money on all guitars including pedal steel, banjos, fiddle, mandos, hammered dulcimer, bass, and drums playing many styles--mostly folk--including jazz, flamenco, bossa nova, blues, celtic and cajun. I guess I could say I've gigged with squeezeboxes since I started using them to play dances this year (but I run the dances, so maybe that doesn't count :huh: ). I started on sax and guitar at age 11 and have been crazed ever since. I have been following my music in a psuedo-serious manner the past four years. It has enabled me to attain a goal I had in mind about 12 years ago when I saw the Arts Guild in Burlington, Iowa--a historic church building at the top of the snake alley. It was a random experience, but I thought then that what I aspired to do was play upright bass in various community music projects in a building like that. Currently, as director of a community center, I don't have quite as nice a building yet, but I have plenty of opportunity to cultivate many musical projects among the community and promote the various roles of music in society, which has been highly fulfilling--far more fulfilling than when I pursued a strict performance repertoire on classical guitar. I made a deliberate break from making music alone in my room to doing so in public; while the music I fretted over so fastidiously may have been "better," it lacked much of the satisfaction, and certainly joy, that simple, shared music affords.

Edited by catty
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I must say I don't like this thread very much.

Not that my opinion matters particularly.

But the thread is too filled with puffery and self aggrandizement.

 

The real trick is to play one instrument and to play it well.

After that, what does it matter?

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But the thread is too filled with puffery and self aggrandizement.

 

Really? Over 80 posts in the thread so far, and only 1 or 2 that might remotely be construed as "puffery". Most posters seem to be quite self-deprecating about their abilities.

 

My main musical interest these days is recording myself playing and singing (since my last Morris side folded through lack of numbers) and I find using different instruments adds a bit of variety and interest. Some might prefer to concentrate on a single instrument, others get pleasure from trying several.

 

The "real trick" for you might be to play one instrument well. Others may prefer to be Jacks (or Jills) of All Trades, even though that might mean being master of none.

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the thread is too filled with puffery and self aggrandizement.

That's not really fair. LDT asked the question and people have simply responded to it, many self-deprecatingly.

 

The real trick is to play one instrument and to play it well.

That raises a more interesting question. Is the secret of becoming a real virtuoso to concentrate on one instrument, as groeswenphil suggested on the previous page? Intuitively you might think so, but in the folk world, at least, there are many opposed examples. Alistair Anderson is a fine Northumbrian piper, but does that make him less of a concertina virtuoso? Would John K have been a better Anglo player if he hadn't wasted all that time learning button accordion? Did you hear Peter Bellamy pick blues guitar? Cajun accordion players are more often than not good fiddlers too - Dirk Powell, who plays box in Balfa Toujours, is a hot old-time fiddle and banjo player and performs Bach to a high standard on piano.

 

Once you've learned the way music works - phrasing, attack, harmony, etc., as opposed to technical skill - you've already got a head start when you come to learn another instrument. The rest is down to curiosity and the love of a challenge.

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The rest is down to curiosity and the love of a challenge.

This probably sums up my position, Brian.

 

Whilst I can't do a great deal, compared with others, on English, Jeffries Duet, or Maccann Duet, it's been an interesting challange on each system, and I like to think that I've learnt something which I can apply to the Anglo.

 

Certainly, the Jeffries Duet was explained to me, by Gavin Atkin (some 20+ years ago) as being "like the middle row of an Anglo expanded onto two separate rows" (can't remember his exact wording). I didn't get it at the time, and could not even play a scale on the Jeffries. That had changed by 2+ years ago, when I tried/bought mine. The Jeffries has taught me a couple of tricks which I might be able to apply to the Anglo, if I can re-learn some fingering patterns.

 

I also remember trying/buying my first little Maccann at a book/antique shop in Bath (Aspidistra). In the evening, I spotted two concertinas from across the street; as it turned out, a Wheatstone Maccann (in beautiful original condition and old pitch), and a cheap Anglo (which I ignored). I returned to the shop the next morning, and within minutes got a scale out of the Maccann. This was May 1985, and I was due to start a 75 mile sponsored walk (over three days). By the time I had got money out of the Bank, bought the concertina, and taken it back to our support crew, I started about two hours behind everyone else!

 

Regards,

Peter.

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The real trick is to play one instrument and to play it well.

After that, what does it matter?

 

David,

That's your definition. My mileage definitely varies ;)

 

The instrument that I play really well is the voice. This is a single-line instrument, analogous to the violin or oboe, and the vast bulk of the vocal repertoire - whether classic, jazz, pop, folk or whatever - requires either an accompaniment or an ensemble of other singers for public performance. (One can, of course, sing anything unaccompanied in the shower :lol: )

 

If you sing a lot in small, informal settings (e.g. folk clubs, vernissages), as I do, the accompaniment or the choir can be a logistical problem. So a singer often does what a violinist or oboist can't - he accompanies himself! In my young days, there were even classes at music festivals for "Self-accompanied Singing" (with piano accompaniment). And nowadays, a singer-songwriter alone on stage with his guitar is something quite normal.

 

So, for some singers at least, it does matter whether you can master the accompaniment role on a second instrument. And, if you've got the talent for it, why not a third instrument with a different character, to add a bit of variety to a long gig?

 

At least, that's how I got into "multi-instrumentalism". With accompaniment, technical brilliance on the instrument is less important than the musicality, because the accompaniment is at most only half of the performance. It's the voice and the words that should shine out.

However, over the years of accompaniment on banjo, guitar, anglo concertina and latterly autoharp, my technical competence ("brilliance" is NOT the right word!) has increased to a point where I can work up a few instrumental "party pieces" well enough to perform in public when song is not appropriate. I can live with that - and so can the people I play for :rolleyes:

 

Let's face it: an important factor in musical performance is the "circus effect" - people enjoy watching or listening to other people doing things that they couldn't. "I could never play as fast as that!" or "I could never put that much feeling into a piece!" Or even, "I couldn't play one of those instruments, let alone three!"

 

I know this goes against a prevalent "session" philosophy, but for me, music is something a musician gives to his audience. Something that entertains them, gives them something to enjoy. Practising is fun, too, of course, and musicians are great company. But, in the final analysis, music is about performance. And performance has many aspects, from the purely instrumental virtuoso playing of "difficult" pieces to the whimsical introduction, singing and accompaniment of comic songs. As I see it, they all have their place in entertainment, and they all require talent, hard work and enthusiasm.

 

Cheers,

John

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Once you've learned the way music works - phrasing, attack, harmony, etc., as opposed to technical skill - you've already got a head start when you come to learn another instrument. The rest is down to curiosity and the love of a challenge.

 

Nice post, Brian.

 

String players commonly acquire many instruments--as David Lindley says, they're but "one guitar."

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The real trick is to play one instrument and to play it well.

After that, what does it matter?

 

Quite, if that is one's goal. Meanwhile, there are many other worlds of experience of music. For me, my musical curiosity was never assuaged by one instrument.

 

I used to think as Mr. Levine on this subject, and still do to some degree. I also think that I play many instruments to compensate for never having seriously studied piano. But this is too fanciful--my ADHD would never have permitted me to stick with one instrument. For years, I did this with classical guitar--spending endless hours trying to perfect my repertoire. A friend once told me he thought it was very egocentric. I can see what he meant. Since then, I have followed the MUSIC, which has been much more about sharing, joy, and expression. It has led me in varying directions, many of which I haven't much control over, it seems.

 

Even many jazz masters (the epitome of musical and instrumental accomplishment, IMO) play more than one instrument.

Edited by catty
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Yes, you are right. I phrased it badly.

I thought it wasn't quite right as I wrote it on little sleep,

after I had picked somebody up at the airport at 6 AM.

I should have said "... has the capacity for puffery and self-aggrandizement."

I agree that most people who have posted have been very modest.

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