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Author Topic: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT  (Read 6890 times)

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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2018, 02:06:09 PM »

Sorry I've missed these, but I love the idea! I've been doing something similar for my mandolin website. For the past few months I've done a weekly Q&A live video stream through YouTube live. If there are people asking questions I can answer them, and if there aren't I just play tunes. The video is archived after the broadcast so that it can be watched at any time for those who missed it.

If you've got the video setup to do live broadcasts, it could be a nice addition to your weekly Q&A. I know I'd personally love to hear to play some of your favorite tunes of late interspersed with answering questions in a way that people can see you and the techniques you are talking about. If you want to see my archived Q&A's, they are here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWm4E4pzIWY&list=PLxOBCOFrv0vLUBoT2zzcnhctaycBl8MqI

That's enough of me hijacking your great thread, but thought I'd throw the idea out there!

Thanks,
Baron
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2018, 06:10:54 PM »

Nice idea for certain Baron! Not against it in the slightest - I have so far been away from home for my Q&As so haven't been able to do such a thing. My life is rather busy and so I needed something that would fit in around work and travel! I'm going to see how the weekly Q&A goes, but might have to make it more sporadic, and advertise when it will be. Last night I had only been home for an hour after a VERY full on weekend of learning and to be honest I was completely shattered! That wouldn't look great in front of the camera. I will check out your videos! Great use of technology - do you get good response?
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Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Baron Collins-Hill

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2018, 10:04:45 PM »

Ah yes, it certainly does help to be home and prepared mentally and physically for an hour of being on camera fielding questions on the fly. Response has been good so far!
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2018, 06:08:33 PM »

Hi Gena! Thanks for asking (and prompting me to clarify!)

Hi Mel, sorry for not getting back to you. Not sure if this idea is still going since I don't think anyone asked anything last week, but I wanted to get back to you anyways - Monday is band practice for me and completely overlaps your Q/A hour, and we've had some uh... band things? I guess? to resolve. Anyhow, thanks for talking about what your history has been. I've been playing (DG) for around a year and a half, but also feel equally enamoured with the idea of, but disinterested in the reality of, anything past 2 row/8 bass.

I have probably endless questions, or things I'm working on (or things I'm supposed to be working on), and my first thought is that it seems a little off to capitalise specifically your time, but I also think this is a neat idea and surely surely people have questions they want answers to or advice on, so, I'm not sure why you're not swamped here.

I met up with a friend some months ago now, and they asked me to show them 'what I got' etc, after I played some of the tunes I know the best, they then asked me to play the least morris thing I knew, and I realised that, well, pretty much everything I know how to play comes across like that, since I pretty much only play tunes for dancing. I've started attending a folk club that's broken up over the summer and am trying to broaden my repertoire and improve my sound as a solo musician.

To sum up the two areas of interest/barriers to progress that I guess I have right now, I would say: 'getting comfortable with tunes in the key of B minor (relative minor of the outside row)' and 'augmenting tunes with additional buttons to add 3rds/5ths under or over the melody'.

One of the tunes I'd like to have figured out is The Origin of the World, which Paul Young made a lovely video of here. I can play the melody as he does, but, I can't work out what chords he's playing exactly (he tends to lay his fingers on the buttons, I think), but I also don't know how to even really translate useful chords for the key of Bm onto the 8 basses a standard DG box has. I think his video sounds perfectly lovely but I can't work out which buttons he's pressing with which bellows direction and put it all together myself. I mean, I probably should just contact him and ask about it, but I'm also interested in any vague advice for playing in this key, including if you might know any simpler tunes that would be a good fit that I could use to get more familiar.

Regarding adding right hand notes, in another thread recently about playing these I linked this part of this video of Tim Edey doing a quick little run up and down his buttons. I think I know what he's doing here now, and that it's something I should be able to do too, and that I understand the principal of playing these other notes. When people say playing a third above another note, I was never sure what that really really meant in terms of, like which third of which key, so, I sat down today and I think figured it out. Instead of trying to work it out any the ways I had been, I tried just rotating the scale around a little bit so the notes I knew did work lined up, so for D you would play a:
Code: [Select]
                          play a
Main             D  E  F# G  A  B  C# D

                          with a
Third    D  E )  F# G  A  B  C# D  E  F#

                          or a
Fifth ...F# G )  A  B  C# D  E  F# G  A
And I think that all sounds right? I should be able to start practicing scales with those and working out what my options are with the left hand: I guess I never worked it out before and felt maybe there wasn't fingering for the correct pairs for certain notes, especially around pull/pull part of the scale, but, they all seem possible. Assuming I'm not a lemon and have, in fact, figured this out, are there any exercises you would advise just beyond scales to try and build enough familiarity to drop these combinations into tunes?

No worries if this project hasn't worked out or you're swamped with your actual work, I'm sure I'll figure these things out eventually, apparently if I sit down and really put my mind to it I can achieve a bit more than just blindly pushing buttons. I thought I'd try and give you something to at least sink your teeth into a little though, just in case.

Cheers for all the help you offer, and also for making your short tune videos for your students publicly available.
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2018, 11:31:58 AM »

Slightly sheepish *hello* everyone!

As I expected, but was trying to avoid, my life just can't cater for a weekly commitment. I kind of set myself up to fail as this is the busiest I've been in many a year (hooray for good business!)

Little old me is frantically working on rather a lot at the moment (have you heard about the Pick Up & Play course that I've been talking about?! https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/)

In fact, last week I was in Scandinavia on holiday. I had every intention of heading to my hotel room for an hour to do the Q&A and had it in my diary and everything. But alas! Nyhavn was just too beautiful and the Carlsberg there really does taste better in the Copenhagen evening sunshine ;-)

I have decided to make this a monthly session instead! More to be announced on that shortly when my brain isn't trying to juggle so many things! Thanks for all the interaction and positive comments so far. I'm glad most of you think this is a worthy service!

Mel

Gena - thanks for your comment! I will respond to you within a week, but I'm afraid I can't right now!
 
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2018, 08:22:52 PM »

After s hort(ish) break from contributing to this Q&A thread, I have decided to host it monthly!

It will now be held every 1st Monday of the month at 7-8pm GMT starting on June 4th.

If you can't make the time slot to chat to me live, never fear! Just leave your question in the thread and I will answer it the next time the Q&A comes around!

See you on Monday!
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Otterbox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2018, 06:24:22 PM »

Hello Mel,

I am enjoying working through your Pick up and Play course.  I wonder whether you have any tips about finding a comfortable left hand position? After playing for a while the heel of my hand feels sore.  When I loosen the velcro strap on my Erica my hand begins to slip.  I have tried the silicone sticky pad you recommend and that helps a bit, but I still don't feel I have found a secure position. 

Any advice gratefully received.

Thank you!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2018, 06:55:14 PM »

Hello Mel.

I see you were playing along with Wrecker's band, recently. I know them well and know that they are very welcoming but demanding company. Proper border band. Have you any tips for surviving in this sort of company?
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2018, 03:13:29 PM »

Hello Mel,

I am enjoying working through your Pick up and Play course.  I wonder whether you have any tips about finding a comfortable left hand position? After playing for a while the heel of my hand feels sore.  When I loosen the velcro strap on my Erica my hand begins to slip.  I have tried the silicone sticky pad you recommend and that helps a bit, but I still don't feel I have found a secure position. 

Any advice gratefully received.

Thank you!

Hi OtterBox

Really excited to hear you're enjoying my Pick Up & Play course! It's so nice to hear feedback about it (Andy Cutting has just reviewed it don't you know  :|||: https://bit.ly/2JBmWBj)

Another course participant has suggested using a seat belt comforter - you know the foam tubes that you can velcro around a seat belt to stop it cutting into your neck? I have seen these being used very effectively before and I mean to add it into the Helping Hand lesson on left hand position but haven't gotten round to it yet!

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TRIXES-Seatbelt-Strap-Cover-Comfort/dp/B00JGUNPNE/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_263_bs_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RZPJBPTK1X3G4N7X6PYZ

I hope this helps! It can take a little while in the beginning to secure your left hand and it is worth persevering with trying different solutions. Stopping regularly to massage the heel of your hand can help too (check out the Helping Hand of hand and body stretches)
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2018, 03:17:35 PM »

Have you any tips for surviving in this sort of company?

Hahaha! This question made me laugh out loud! They are indeed a splendid bunch aren't they? Mole had been trying to recruit me into their insanity for a number of years and well, I gave up resisting!

I grew up with a (formerly) big Border side (now the bite has rather gone from their bark, if you catch my drift and I am no longer involved) so I am quite accustomed to being part of the Wall of Sound. In fact, I LOVE IT! With Wreckers, I just slot in, take no responsibility for leading or ending or changing - just go withe the flow! Gin helps too.

I'll be with them again at Sidmouth all week. Will you be about? Do we know each other in the real world?!
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #50 on: June 12, 2018, 03:23:34 PM »

I realise I wasn't there last week for the live Q&A. I realised this 2 days after I was scheduled to attend! I am currently experiencing a bout of ill mental health and am on some new drugs so bear with whilst all that settles down (it's gonna get worse before it gets better, whoop de do!). Missing prior commitments is not something I take pride in at all... I find it all rather guilt ridden, in fact.

Thanks for those that left questions!

The next one will be on Monday 2nd July 7-8pm.

As an aside, I did a little off-the-cuff FB live video last night playing through some requests by those who were watching as I was noodling. You might be interested in watching that back. At the end I talk about the possibility of doing a few more sporadic FB live videos (maybe YouTube lives?) to demo some skills/teach something. What do people think to this?

Link to video is the top comment in this post: https://www.facebook.com/MelBiggsMusic/photos/a.664054697006094.1073741828.663929490351948/1669281373150083/?type=3&theater
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #51 on: June 12, 2018, 03:27:32 PM »

Have you any tips for surviving in this sort of company?

Hahaha! This question made me laugh out loud! They are indeed a splendid bunch aren't they? Mole had been trying to recruit me into their insanity for a number of years and well, I gave up resisting!
They are a lovely bunch and Mole is a fine chap.
Quote
I'll be with them again at Sidmouth all week. Will you be about? Do we know each other in the real world?!
Don't think we've met.
I'll be at Sidmouth on the Sunday. Dartmoor Border Morris.We just turn up and do it (dance) down at the far end. Tend to go walk about, later, and pester the public.  I'll probably be greened up if the weather's good.
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Otterbox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2018, 10:09:54 AM »


Hi OtterBox

Really excited to hear you're enjoying my Pick Up & Play course! It's so nice to hear feedback about it (Andy Cutting has just reviewed it don't you know  :|||: https://bit.ly/2JBmWBj)

Another course participant has suggested using a seat belt comforter - you know the foam tubes that you can velcro around a seat belt to stop it cutting into your neck? I have seen these being used very effectively before and I mean to add it into the Helping Hand lesson on left hand position but haven't gotten round to it yet!

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TRIXES-Seatbelt-Strap-Cover-Comfort/dp/B00JGUNPNE/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_263_bs_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RZPJBPTK1X3G4N7X6PYZ

I hope this helps! It can take a little while in the beginning to secure your left hand and it is worth persevering with trying different solutions. Stopping regularly to massage the heel of your hand can help too (check out the Helping Hand of hand and body stretches)

Thanks, Mel.  I'll give that a try!
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2018, 10:39:41 PM »

Hey everyone! Don't forget the next #AskMelonBox is tomorrow night at 7-8pm BST. I've got a reminder set in my phone this time!

Looking forward to chatting to you tomorrow night!

Mel
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2018, 08:27:24 AM »

Hey everyone! Don't forget the next #AskMelonBox is tomorrow night at 7-8pm BST. I've got a reminder set in my phone this time!

Looking forward to chatting to you tomorrow night!

Mel

I hope your stream goes well! I'm not able to watch live but it was very nice to watch and listen to the recorded version.

I thought I would let you know though that I did find an answer to one of my questions from earlier:

Quote from: Gena Crisman
I'm also interested in any vague advice for playing in this key (B natural minor), including if you might know any simpler tunes that would be a good fit that I could use to get more familiar.

How do chords work in B natural minor on a 2 row 8 bass DG? Well I'm glad you asked, past me! As you may know, the 3 chord trick works very well for most tunes - G, D and C give you comfortable harmonies for everything you've got going on in G. These are all Diatonic Chords - their notes fall entirely within the scale we're playing, G major, and represent the I, IV, and V chords. While a good chord is always open to interpretation, you can also use the concept of functional harmony, describe each one as having Tonic function, Sub Dominant Function, and Dominant Function - Tonic has the feeling of home/release, and Dominant Function has the feeling of tension, while subdominant has a place somewhere between the two. However, the other Diatonic Chords also have functions that fall into these 3 categories, and many of them can be found on an 8 bass instrument. Consider having G as your tonic note (ie, you're playing in G major):

(I) G major, (vi) E minor and to some extent (iii) B minor can offer Tonic Function
(IV) D major, (viio) F# Diminished, and (iii) B minor again can offer Dominant Function
(V) C major and (ii) A minor can offer Subdominant function.

iii can be a bit of an odd ball, and my understanding of all of this is a bit weak, so, I'm sure the above is wrong in some way. We can use this understanding to have some idea of the identifying and use of viable Diatonic Chords in B natural minor. However, in Natural minor, the progression specifically lacks something major and harmonic minor both have: the leading tone, the note a semitone below our tonic note. Because of this, the chord functions above are actually much less distinct, and Functional Harmony can be considered to be really a bit more Harmony and a bit less Function, which is helpful as we have a rather limited palette of chord functions.

In B natural Minor we have access to tonic functioning (i) Bm7, (III) D major, and (VI) G major, with only the (iv) E minor as subdominant and (VII) A major for dominant function (with a little bit extra instability from the III). You can get away with Bm, Em and A but the approach I would take for harmonisation that feels like it's going more places is to use the Bm7, D and G chords to cover up 'beating around the bush', and measure out/vary your instability with the E minor and A major. For example, Twiglet/Theme Vannetaise, that tune you know very well, might be played as:

Em / / / Em / / / D / / / D / Bm /

This would translate as

Bm / / / Bm / / / A / / / A / F#m /

And obviously, we can't play that, and the 2 bars of A just doesn't seem to work quite the same. You could attempt to reharmonise this as:

Bm / / / G / / / Em / / / A / A/d /

(That's A major with a D bass used instead) and that seems to work pretty well ok to my ear and not feel stagnant. Using this strategy can work quite well for other keys you play in, too, and extends a little bit beyond the interpretation that G~Em, C~=Am and D~=Bm. There may be tune that don't have a great progression in B minor, but that's the joy of the melodeon. Knowing all of this, it isn't too hard to work out what chords Paul is playing in his video (the answer being just Bm D G Em and A, nothing really strange at all, ultimately - I think anyway)

Anyway, there we go, another patented far too long + a bit 'know-it-all'y + probably mostly wrong post. I managed to work out some nice chords for quite a few tunes via the technique above, but I did need to sit down and play with an ABC editor to do it. At the very least, maybe this approach will help someone other than just me. Taking the time to learn about functional harmony has helped explain quite a lot.

Once again, hope the stream goes well!
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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2018, 07:50:38 PM »

Hi everyone! I am live over on Facebook RIGHT NOW for the next 15 mionutes! I have answered lots of questions over there and will post the link here afterwards! Come and say hi and ask me any questions!

https://www.facebook.com/MelBiggsMusic/
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Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2018, 09:22:27 PM »

Be sure to read the summary of tonight's #AskMelonBox live Q&A here: https://wp.me/p8XyAz-pz

The next Q&A will be: August 13th 7-8pm GMT. Get your questions ready and don't miss out!
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Joan Kureczka

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #57 on: July 03, 2018, 04:57:45 PM »

Great that you recorded this all, Mel. Wasn't able to listen much live, so went back and had a fuller listen -- some very useful pointers esp re the scales stuff and transposing that we'd started talking about previously. Hope you continue on this way. And hope you separately put up a video for Muriel's waltz as I don't recall there being one previously.
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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2018, 05:52:22 PM »

Thanks Joan! I'm glad you were able to get something out of last month's video. I think going live on Facebook is the best way to answer people 'in the moment' and more naturally (as I do like to talk!)

Tomorrow night is my August live Q&A with #AskMelonBox. I'll be live on my Facebook page 7-8pm BST. Get your questions ready!

Check out some of the links and answers from last month's Q&A here:

https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/2018/07/02/askmelonbox-live-qa-july-2018-notes/
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2018, 10:05:27 AM »

... are there any exercises you would advise just beyond scales to try and build enough familiarity to drop these combinations into tunes?

Hi again, in lieu of second guessing myself, I thought I should say that I came across this video on youtube where a chap plays thirds up and down his outside row (though granted, in C). I assume this sort of exercise is a useful step into becoming comfortable playing a companion third below/above your note, if you wanted to.

I'm still trying to get myself playing multiple notes at once on my melody side routinely. I've yet to really get a handle on I guess what it is people are actually doing to get big RHS sounds that some players blast forth from their instruments. It's often very impressive, but, I can't tell if it's practiced or adlib. Thirds/Fifths seems to be a gateway into that but I think there's still more going on there.

Anyway since I felt my original question was still vaguely hanging, I thought I'd share what I found. I hope that your stream goes well and that it will be not quite so hot where you are this month.
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