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Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: Thrupenny Bit on December 28, 2013, 08:04:05 PM

Title: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 28, 2013, 08:04:05 PM
Hi all,
I'm wondering if there's such a thing as an advanced tutor, D/G based, to help improve my right hand melody accompaniment.
Does such a thing exist, or is this the realms of workshops held by the melodeon gods?

I'm messing whilst learning Kristjani Reilender, in the key of D, and have started to experiment at the moments of emphasis.
When emphasising the melody note A, I'm also holding down a D and F# together  making a chord of A instead of just the note
Playing an F# I'm holding down D and B as well
For an E I'm holding a C# and A as well
I.e. Using the melody note requiring emphasis as part of a simple chord or inversion with the melody note as the top of the three notes played.

Does this make any sense?
Any advice about simple accompaniment or advice for a tutor covering such things?
Q
In experimental mode

Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Lester on December 28, 2013, 08:08:11 PM
Quote
When emphasising the melody note A, I'm also holding down a D and F# together  making a chord of A instead of just the note

A, D & F# is a chord of D not A (A, C# & E)
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Pete Dunk on December 28, 2013, 08:09:26 PM
I think Squeezy's DVD is classed as Intermediate, i.e. not for complete beginners. Whether that goes as as far as you want/need is another matter!
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Steve C. on December 28, 2013, 08:40:10 PM
Though I myself am still firmly in volume I, volume II of M-P has a nice section on right hand chords, where I have occasionally snuck a look......
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 28, 2013, 09:04:28 PM
Arghh.... Yes Lester, that's what I meant, just had a senior moment! Sorry.

Hmmmm ok, thanks tallship, I'll take a look.
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 28, 2013, 10:57:43 PM
There is nothing particularly advanced about rooting out right hand chords on a DG box and absolutely no musical theory is required.  It is not even necessary to know the names of the chords played.

 The legendary Tony Hall in a workshop many years ago described it thus, or in words to that effect!:

stop on any note of a tune and hold that note i.e. continue the bellows movement.  --- poke about with a spare finger until you find another note that sounds nice with it and hold the 2 notes -- then poke around again until you find a 3rd note that goes well with the other 2 - then remember that combination for further use!

Brilliantly simple and has worked very well for me  for the past thirty years or so and for the many I have passed it on to.

If on the other hand you want to get technical about it a keyboard chart in conjuction with a standard book of chords  ( I have one listing 360 piano chords)  can be gone through laboriously to establish which of them you have the wherewithal for!    I much prefer and recommend the poking around method!

george

Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: YorkieKen on December 28, 2013, 11:10:02 PM
That's exactly the method I use George, works every time, and makes tunes much more interesting to play and sound better too, well I think so  ;)
Ken
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 29, 2013, 09:15:05 AM
What George has already said about the Tony Hall 'method' is good, and something which I try to aspire to, at least in part. Right-hand chords are useful things to slip in to your playing, although you don't have to use them all the time; when you need emphasis or other effect is good.

I would guess that you are already at the stage where you are developing your own individual style (whether consciously or not). So  listen to as many different people playing as possible - live or in recordings, and extract what you can for your own needs. But also experiment: make stuff up yourself - if it sounds OK that's fine. The melodeon is extraordinarily good at being able to double or add to the RH melody with chords in thirds, fifths, sixths or octaves, depending on the bellows directions and whether you are finding chords on just one row or perhaps two rows at once.

Tony Hall has already been mentioned. I was also add the playing of (a) Jeannie Harris who does wonderful stuff on a plain simple Hohner 1-row 4-stop. Not many recordings of her playing unfortunately, but she does feature with Katie Howson on the CD 'Unbuttoned' (Old Hat Music OH4CD) available from Veteran Music. Jeannie's one-row playing is extraordinarily rich largely due to her accomplished RH style. She is adept at playing a melody using her little (4th) finger in the upper part of the keyboard whilst using fingers 1, 2 and 3 to play counter-melodies based on chords and arpeggios nearer the chin end of the instrument. Wonderful stuff!

For my (b) choice, I would recommend watching/listening to Karin Seyringer playing the steirische Harmonika.
See here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2aEwwmk_kM&list=PL5F82540E0FE9EA91&index=2) and her other related recordings.
Watch how she uses RH chord finger patterns to constantly play the melody in thirds and sixths, so typical of Tyrolean/Austrian/south German music. Yes it's a big instrument with 4 rows, but a lot of it can be done on just two rows.

The technique, once learned, is a transferable skill which can be used (perhaps more sparingly) for English and other music styles.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 29, 2013, 09:32:24 AM
George that sounds sensible!
It's what I was doing yesterday, then realised I was making root + 3rd +5th chords in various combinations.
 It sounds like I was thinking too hard  ;D
Ok, will have another go in a bit and now feel more comfortable about rooting round the keyboard.

Ahh..... Steve's joined in. Yes, it all kicked off by listening again to ukebert's wonderful version of the tune I was trying to learn. I'd given it a cursory listen to help get the dots right then spent a few days learning it. I took another look and then realised what a wonderful bit of playing it was. Great to listen to and inspirational, hence me experimenting and starting this thread.
I made some earlier simple attempts in other tunes listening to JK on a couple of tunes in his English Choice tune book and cd, as you say Steve, I feel like I need to develop it a bit.
I have also realised the tune needs to be 'right' to allow the pause for the chance to add emphasis so i do realise you need to use sparingly.
Thanks chaps, off to have a good poke around the keyboard and will listen to the clip mentioned.
Cheers
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Anahata on December 29, 2013, 09:45:45 AM
I have thirds and sixths pretty well automatic on a one row now.
Also shapes for three chord trick and more.

Karin's box is not only four rows, but it has a gleichton on the inner three rows, which makes RH dominant and dominant 7th chords easy. But anyway she's a terrific player and worth watching ("Karin S" on YouTube) and Steve is of course right that RH chords are very much part of that style.

I like Tony Hall's advice as reported. The words "sounds nice" are the key to this approach. You can have a whole library of music theory in your head, but if you haven't the ability to tell when a harmony sounds right, it's no help, and if you have... you don't need any theory.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 29, 2013, 09:58:15 AM
Just listening to Karin as this popped in from Anahata.
I find her playing mesmerising, plus that box!!!!! I keep having an image of a huge American truck in my head with all the horns and chrome ;D
When I concentrate on her right hand, yes quite brilliant.

Again thanks for the advice Anahata, 'sounds nice' seems to be the key. I was worried I was doing something illegal on the box ( not that it was that bad, just wasn't sure of the rules! ) but...... I really was thinking too hard.
must be hyper on the Christmas choc's  :D
Right....off to listen to Karin again!
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 29, 2013, 10:18:09 AM
....and another lesson to be learned is the attack she has in her right hand.
i.e. punctuating phrases by playing as though the keys are red hot, so letting go the buttons quickly.
Some tracks ( most! ) are simply stunning. The speed of 4 finger chords and more fliying over a 4 row 'articulated lorry' is simply jaw dropping.
There's a lot going on in her playing to be inspired by..............
Thanks Steve for the nudge.
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: oggiesnr on December 29, 2013, 10:26:15 AM
A word of caution.  It is very easy to go overboard on right hand chords and harmonies (been there, got the T-shirt) and forget that there's a tune in there as well.  On a piano it's easier to emphasize the melody amongst the notes by using finger strength, not so an a melodeon.

The fact that you can do it doesn't mean that you always should :)  Tunes need space to be able to breathe.

Steve
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 29, 2013, 10:40:16 AM
A word of caution.  It is very easy to go overboard on right hand chords and harmonies (been there, got the T-shirt) and forget that there's a tune in there as well.  ....

The fact that you can do it doesn't mean that you always should :)  Tunes need space to be able to breathe.

Steve
Good points well made, Steve. I was hinting at that in my post too.

Quote
On a piano it's easier to emphasize the melody amongst the notes by using finger strength, not so an a melodeon.
Jeannie Harris manages to do this by playing the melody in a sustained manner using her little finger, but adds arppegios/counter melody in a more detached staccato style with her other RH fingers.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 29, 2013, 10:53:58 AM
Quote from: Thrupenny Bit link= . I was worried I was doing something illegal on the box must be hyper on  ain!
Q
[/quote

if it '' sounds nice''  and  a member of the 'melodeon police' tells you you are doing it wrong or illegally or whatever I would humbly suggest that you tell them to urinate  elsewhere or otherwise go away!

george ;)
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Lester on December 29, 2013, 11:02:26 AM
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-lbgjMq_3_8o/T9sb2pMZ1QI/AAAAAAAAI_U/jqz2inLD8Lk/w600-h462-no/melodeon_police.jpg)
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 29, 2013, 11:35:46 AM
oggiesnr and steve, yes I know what you mean.
I fully agree with the fact that 'tunes should breath' and also along similar lines, it's as important to 'play' the spaces in between notes as to actually play the notes.
Totally agree.

George:  ;D
thank you kind sir for that piece of advice I will remember it and produce it if necessary!

Lester: Wot me officer? surely not officer......   ::)

thanks all
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Anahata on December 29, 2013, 11:54:13 AM
There's a lot going on in her playing to be inspired by..............

For me it's the musical expression carried by her dynamics and timing. Most Steirische players sound like machines. Herbert Pixner is another notable exception.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: squeezy on December 29, 2013, 01:17:35 PM
Did Lester get photoshop for Xmas ? ;D

I think there is a teeny weeny chance of this thread getting bogged down in what is and isn't right on the melodeon which I think we all know never ends well here! 

One of the joys of the melodeon is that it hasn't been completely tamed by the rigours of formalised rules such as that adopted in the classical teaching world.  The very nature of the quint box system with it's duplicated notes and non-standardised keyboard layouts would make any attempt at formalising how to play it also remove some of it's potential creativity.

Unfortunately I suspect that is why there is no Advanced tutor on the market that I know of. 

The best answer has already been given - even in the original post.  And that is a mixture of trying to mimic things which you enjoy in the playing of others, mixed with sheer uninhibited experimentation.  Thank goodness for this place and YouTube!

My intermediate DVD was designed to be far more vague than a formal tutor (not selling it well am I?  :D).  What I'm trying to say is that it's aimed at people who can already play the tunes to a fair standard, and instead of trying to improve playing by imposing rigour in a particular direction it attempts to inspire experimentation by suggesting several directions to take using very simple melodies as a basis.

Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Anahata on December 29, 2013, 01:50:32 PM
Thank goodness for this place and YouTube!

Too modest by far. Shouldn't we be thanking some guy called John Spiers for "this place"? (sorry you can't claim credit for inventing YouTube too)

Also, talking of tutors, John Kirkpatricks's video set is pretty comprehensive.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 29, 2013, 01:59:23 PM
Anahata: Yes indeed. It's amazing how she manages to express herself with what appears to me to be a huge beast of a thing, yet little nuances give a lot of light and dark in a piece. I need to look again!

Squeezy: Thanks for the summary, I think you've just reminded me about a few fundamental things with a melodeon. Yes it's a bonkers instrument which is why we're all here!
...... and errr, no, you're not selling the dvd very well  ;D
but your advice is perfect  and much appreciated. Thank you.

ahhhh as I type, more's come in.
Yes I've got JK's dvd and gleaned advice from it. In fact that dvd and his English Choice book/cd are being constantly mined by me.
It really is my source of choice for tunes and how to play what's written as simple dots. I listen to the cd's a lot.

I second Anahata's sentiment - thank you John S for kick starting this place.
I wouldn't have become so involved or as competant a player in this amount of time without Melnet and the great inhabitants of this forum.
It was a Good Idea!
cheers
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Pete Dunk on December 29, 2013, 11:09:29 PM
The universal truth is that all of the good melodeon players have found their own way to make this quirky instrument work for them. By good players I don't just mean those who make a proper living income from box playing (very few!) but also those who are passionate hobbyist box players. Given the relative obscurity of the melodeon in musical circles I would say it's fair to describe it as 'minority interest' in the world of general music making so aren't we lucky to have so many talented players in our little forum?
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 30, 2013, 09:16:01 AM
The variations of keyboard layout and therefore different ways to play a tune lends itself to individualism, and as you say, making it work for you. Yes, I think we all have friends or people we've met that are good players and those often inspire us to start up in the first place. That certainly is true for me.

Yesterday I was reflecting on the people on this thread and was thinking how much I appreciated those who have been helping me and giving their advice and knowledge - yes I think we are incredibly lucky to be able to be given good advice, always freely given in the spirit of friendship to help us along the way. Thank you for saying that. I agree!

...and yesterday I had a great time poking around the keyboard and making the odd chord or harmony ( but only in some places  ;) ) Just got to remember theme today and get them in the brain.
It was great fun, and I realised because I was  concentrating on something else, I was also learning the tune quite quickly too. Bonus!
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: squeezy on December 30, 2013, 10:08:50 AM
I'm becoming increasingly sure that there are two very distinct types of "practice" that someone who is self-teaching goes through.  And it's being confirmed here in this thread.  What I'm writing below certainly applies to how i practise.

Type 1 is the kind of instrument practice that most people think of where you have a distinct goal in mind, where you are trying to commit a tune to mind and teach your fingers to go there in a fluid manner.  It can involve some planning of fingering, choice of harmony and ornamentation, but in essence it is a rehearsal for some kind of performance.

Type 2 is an altogether less focused thing, where you pick up the box with a completely blank canvas.  I either use simple tunes, or make up random passages as I go along - sometimes it's just exploring making up random chord sequences and seeing what happens.  The main thing is that there is no specific goal, no pressure and you need to be able to zone out enough that you are kind of watching and listening to yourself enough to realise when you have stumbled upon something worth pursuing.  At that point you then explore the thing you've discovered and maybe make some record of it.

I think that if you are being taught an instrument methodically, then you can get away with only using type 1 and become a proficient technician, but type 2 is what really improves you as a musician. I am painfully aware (as a father of 2 young kids) that type 2 requires precious time and an environment free of distractions, preferably out of earshot of anyone.  Sometimes it yields no results at all too which can be particularly frustrating if you have little free time.  But it is where I write all my tunes, find new techniques and explore the boundaries. When used in conjunction with type 1 it is very useful indeed.

Of course the 2 types can crossover, but I've found it very useful to identify them and try to make sure I don't spend all my time doing just one of them.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 30, 2013, 11:01:17 AM
Hmmm.... that is an incredibly thought provoking idea, maybe revolving around one thing - time.
I think most people start off and want to be able to get a tune out a.s.a.p., within the shortest time. They then can start to join in a session, play for morris or whatever has driven them to start learning in the first place and feel included and a sense of achievement.
After this first goal, you want to improve, become more proficient, learn more tunes, as you say, to be able to perform more competantly. That also takes time.
Personally, I'm becoming aware that since taking it up ~ 3 1/2 years back, I've now got a repertoire built up. Some tunes are fairly automatic, others need more work but..... with a number of tunes under my belt, I now want to go back and think more about *how* to play them. That's what prompted this thread.

I can see why Type 2 practice improves you and it does make sense.
Again, I think it's only achievable after time has passed - you have become sufficiently good that you can turn out some tunes proficiently at a session/morris etc. so have time to relax and explore and mess around without the pressure of feeling you *have* to learn more tunes to be able to join in with your group of players.
Perhaps your learning curve is flattening out slightly so 'quantity' of tunes starts to move into 'quality' ?

My pressure comes from early starts and the madness around working in a school. Evening practice often means I have to wake up from a nap first  ;D
I find it's only at holiday times I can be alert enough and have time to mentally freewheel and follow whatever path I choose.
....like working out what to do on my right hand! As you rightly say, time and space to do this is difficult to come by.
Thanks Squeezy, I think your clarification is well made.
cheers
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Chris Brimley on December 30, 2013, 11:23:14 AM
Thanks Squeezy for a real insight, not just into practising, but also the whole creative process of music!  I often feel that musicians divide themselves into two - the convergents and the divergents, and you have very neatly explained how to bring them together.  I have often felt audiences most want creativity, although they are often satisfied with just virtuosity.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 30, 2013, 01:00:55 PM
I strongly agree with 'type 2' as being the road to go up once you have a few tunes that can be played reasonably well  i.e. with a little more aplomb than just the right notes in the right order i.e  giving due attention to phrasing and dynamics so it sounds ' proper musical'!  This, in my opinion is aa very important first stage if only for the reason that the ability to knock out a few half decent tunes early on is vital to continued enthusiasm rather than shoving the box  on top of the wardrobe or whatever.  ( every year when I do the crash course for beginners at Whitby I can guarantee  getting one or two wardrobe melodeonists , sometimes of 2 years standing, at my workshops.

But from there on squeezy's type 2 is the way to go and it  should come naturally to those like myself who have a propensity to arse about rather than follow something written on tablets of stone!

george ;D
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Mike Hirst on December 30, 2013, 01:46:15 PM
a propensity to arse about

A perfect description of the majority of musicians that I know.

P.S. I'd be happy to adopt that as my profile sig.  ;D
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Mike Hirst on December 30, 2013, 01:57:02 PM
a propensity to arse about

There is an a delicious irony in the notion that we can appreciate the sentiment of George's posting within the context of 'Advanced' technique. Once more the forum has been proved to be both erudite and unique.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: squeezy on December 30, 2013, 02:05:54 PM
Hmmm.... that is an incredibly thought provoking idea, maybe revolving around one thing - time.
I think most people start off and want to be able to get a tune out a.s.a.p., within the shortest time. They then can start to join in a session, play for morris or whatever has driven them to start learning in the first place and feel included and a sense of achievement.
After this first goal, you want to improve, become more proficient, learn more tunes, as you say, to be able to perform more competantly. That also takes time.
Personally, I'm becoming aware that since taking it up ~ 3 1/2 years back, I've now got a repertoire built up. Some tunes are fairly automatic, others need more work but..... with a number of tunes under my belt, I now want to go back and think more about *how* to play them. That's what prompted this thread.

I can see why Type 2 practice improves you and it does make sense.
Again, I think it's only achievable after time has passed - you have become sufficiently good that you can turn out some tunes proficiently at a session/morris etc. so have time to relax and explore and mess around without the pressure of feeling you *have* to learn more tunes to be able to join in with your group of players.
Perhaps your learning curve is flattening out slightly so 'quantity' of tunes starts to move into 'quality' ?

My pressure comes from early starts and the madness around working in a school. Evening practice often means I have to wake up from a nap first  ;D
I find it's only at holiday times I can be alert enough and have time to mentally freewheel and follow whatever path I choose.
....like working out what to do on my right hand! As you rightly say, time and space to do this is difficult to come by.
Thanks Squeezy, I think your clarification is well made.
cheers
Q

While it's true that for someone starting out from scratch needs to go through quite a long period where my type 1 practice (I don't mean for these terms to get set in stone btw) is the only thing going on with some good guidance from a teacher or a tutor book.  I think introducing type 2 fairly early on when the player has several simple tunes under their belt is beneficial.  I certainly did it fairly early on after cracking most tunes in Mally's Melodeon Methods Cotswold Morris book 1. 

What I have found is that type 2 practising is a skill in itself and it gets better and more productive the more you do it ... it is less about the instrument and more about learning and music - and I find it to be easily transferable to other instruments ... and even other areas of life.

You're absolutely right about the time pressures on everyone though ... that's why I flagged them up as a potential barrier to being able to do this.  Frankly, for me, it was the discovery of this kind of practice that led me to hesitate about getting a normal career in my early 20's and instead work for low wages in a music shop.  But since becoming a dad and a busy musician - the thing is that life also becomes so busy with more mundane stuff that it's easy to forget quite how important a chance to spend a couple of uninterrupted hours with your instrument and no set goal can be.  And only in the last couple of years have I managed to timetable in space once again to do this thing which used to come completely naturally with a more student-type lifestyle.

I can justify that time spent to myself and to my family because it's what I'm currently doing for a living ... and I realise that it's harder to justify if you have another career and commitments ... however - I do think that if you look at how you practise and realise that you're only doing type 1 - then in the long term a bit of type 2 will help your playing immensely.

I used to think that the idea of creative people like writers and musicians were just being all arty-farty when they talked about needing space and inspiration in order to be creative.  But now I think there's real substance in that kind of talk.  I've come to see it also as a form of meditation where you can come out of the other end feeling almost refreshed!

I'm going to stop waffling now!  It's only a squeezebox after all!

Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Matthew B on December 30, 2013, 05:12:51 PM
Type 1 is the kind of instrument practice that most people think of where you have a distinct goal in mind . . .

Type 2 is an altogether less focused thing, where you pick up the box with a completely blank canvas. 

To this list I'd add a "Type 3", which is "Adaptation".  I've found that I've learned a lot in recent years by trying to adapt the limitations of the instrument to different situations and to work around challenges that I usually didn't know existed until they cropped up.  This comes up quite a bit when looking at music outside one's normal repertoire, playing in keys away from the home keys, and playing with other musicians.  Sometimes the answer is to transpose a tune into a different key, sometimes it's possible to change things around so the notes fit in some other way, perhaps by harmonizing, using chords, or just being quiet for a bit.  Switching fingerings can help, and changing registers.  The one-row players are masters of these techniques, and it's interesting to see how different one-row traditions approach the challenges.  Of course its also possible to change the set-up of the instrument to address the needs, or to switch boxes to get new note and chord possibilities. 

However you do it you can get a lot out of fitting a square peg into a round hole.   
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 30, 2013, 05:49:16 PM


However you do it you can get a lot out of fitting a square peg into a round hole.   

aka the noble art of faking!

george
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: squeezy on December 30, 2013, 06:46:52 PM

To this list I'd add a "Type 3", which is "Adaptation".  I've found that I've learned a lot in recent years by trying to adapt the limitations of the instrument to different situations and to work around challenges that I usually didn't know existed until they cropped up.  This comes up quite a bit when looking at music outside one's normal repertoire, playing in keys away from the home keys, and playing with other musicians.   

While I certainly acknowledge that adapting music on to a box is a thing that can frequently happen, I wouldn't personally say it is a type of practice method.  If it is with a distinct goal of a piece of music to play then I would work out the fingering and use the learn by rote method (type 1) ... But equally I would play about with different keys and fingerings (and rhythms and so on) when doing type 2.

However - it starts to get rather academic at this point given that the two types I mentioned are arbitrary extremes of what is actually one process. But I find that distinction works very well for me.   
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Owen Woods on December 30, 2013, 06:50:54 PM
While it's true that for someone starting out from scratch needs to go through quite a long period where my type 1 practice (I don't mean for these terms to get set in stone btw) is the only thing going on with some good guidance from a teacher or a tutor book.  I think introducing type 2 fairly early on when the player has several simple tunes under their belt is beneficial.  I certainly did it fairly early on after cracking most tunes in Mally's Melodeon Methods Cotswold Morris book 1. 

What I have found is that type 2 practising is a skill in itself and it gets better and more productive the more you do it ... it is less about the instrument and more about learning and music - and I find it to be easily transferable to other instruments ... and even other areas of life.

You're absolutely right about the time pressures on everyone though ... that's why I flagged them up as a potential barrier to being able to do this.  Frankly, for me, it was the discovery of this kind of practice that led me to hesitate about getting a normal career in my early 20's and instead work for low wages in a music shop.  But since becoming a dad and a busy musician - the thing is that life also becomes so busy with more mundane stuff that it's easy to forget quite how important a chance to spend a couple of uninterrupted hours with your instrument and no set goal can be.  And only in the last couple of years have I managed to timetable in space once again to do this thing which used to come completely naturally with a more student-type lifestyle.

I can justify that time spent to myself and to my family because it's what I'm currently doing for a living ... and I realise that it's harder to justify if you have another career and commitments ... however - I do think that if you look at how you practise and realise that you're only doing type 1 - then in the long term a bit of type 2 will help your playing immensely.

I used to think that the idea of creative people like writers and musicians were just being all arty-farty when they talked about needing space and inspiration in order to be creative.  But now I think there's real substance in that kind of talk.  I've come to see it also as a form of meditation where you can come out of the other end feeling almost refreshed!

I'm going to stop waffling now!  It's only a squeezebox after all!

This post speaks to me. I have struggled so much with music over the last year or so purely because I am stuck doing type 1 because I just don't have the time, energy or inclination to do type 2. I have always been a type 2 person and it tears me apart that I don't have that time available. Even if I do get to my box, it is always pressured for time and so I feel that I need to achieve something - which is of course bollocks. As it is, I am not good enough (or commercial enough) to earn a reasonable amount of money doing music, so I don't know how to get out.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Matthew B on December 30, 2013, 07:23:46 PM
While I certainly acknowledge that adapting music on to a box is a thing that can frequently happen, I wouldn't personally say it is a type of practice method.  If it is with a distinct goal of a piece of music to play then I would work out the fingering and use the learn by rote method (type 1) ... But equally I would play about with different keys and fingerings (and rhythms and so on) when doing type 2.

Point taken.  Well, both points taken really.  However for me, sitting in my kitchen after the kids have finally gone down for the night, I guess a lot of what happens as I work on adapting things feels rather different from the two physical and mental disciplines you describe above -- both of which I use.  I feel much more as if I'm trying to cross a river on stepping stones.  I find fragments of music theory starting to make sense, and various bits and pieces of information I've picked up here (and there . . .) falling into place.  There's a lot of stuff out there that I'd never have thought about without a hearty push.  Foremost among these has been a slow journey towards learning to read music after years of playing by ear: there are things out there that I would simply never have got to on my own. 
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 30, 2013, 07:34:17 PM
Welcome aboard ukebert, who for me is the spiritual origin of me starting this post!

I too recognise feeling the need  'to achieve' and pressure to do so when I have precious spare time.
This is purely me exerting pressure on....me!

I think the wonderful meandering of this thread is teaching me things like:-
You're right, it is b*ll*cks to exert pressure on yourself to achieve...... after all, I'm doing it for my own personal pleasure.
By taking that pressure off and allowing myself to explore in an unconstructed way is not wasted but the exact opposite - a very constructive thing to do.
I'm sure there are a lot of us not very skilled in the art of practice, so just hammer onwards without lifting your head up to see which way we're going. I include me in this point.
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: syale on December 30, 2013, 09:05:01 PM
I'm becoming increasingly sure that there are two very distinct types of "practice" that someone who is self-teaching goes through.  And it's being confirmed here in this thread.  What I'm writing below certainly applies to how i practise.

Type 1 ...
Type 2 ...

Of course the 2 types can crossover, but I've found it very useful to identify them and try to make sure I don't spend all my time doing just one of them.

Great post and I find I am leaning to type 2 for about 10% of my practice time. Having my phone handy to record sequences really helps so I can revisit without trying to figure out everying at the same time.

Stephen
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: martinpratt on December 30, 2013, 10:52:05 PM
What a really interesting thread this has become. I notice that recurring theme is pressure on time available for practice and "doodling about". My problem also, but typically self imposed because I am out virtually every evening at some type of folk music related activity BUT this is all good practice as it is time spent playing the box or singing. Mind you, spending two hours at Morris Side practice twiddling one's thumbs whilst they endlessly walk through a new dance is not very productive other than polishing the shiny bits on the box.
 
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 31, 2013, 10:35:10 AM
I have a strong dislike for the word 'practice' for the simple reason that it has connotations of 'hard slog' 'something that must be done'  'something that is not pleasurable'  ----------------'something to be put off til sunday-----------------bugger , didn't have time on sunday but will definitely spend 2 hours next sunday----------- and it never happens!

I know its just playing with words but  'having a quick  go at improving such and such a tune'   can see the allotted 10 minutes stretch to half an hour, to an hour or whatever of absolute enjoyment -------------which it must be if you don't notice the time!

Before I retired from a stressful job I often used to pick up a box  immediately I got home  to have a aquick tune or two to unwind.  It often went to half an hour and did me the world of good.

So my advice is DON'T practice    - just get into the habit of having a quick tune ? several times a day  - its surprising where it will take you  -  its fun and it takes no time at all!!!

george
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: squeezy on December 31, 2013, 10:39:51 AM
Best advice yet George - anything which stops you playing and enjoying it is bad for your playing - even if it is in the head.  All practising is just playing at the end of the day.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Steve C. on December 31, 2013, 01:26:22 PM
Interesting...
I always think "type 2" when I see folks playing left handed (i.e. "upside down")
Never ceases to amaze....
Same "type 2"  when one occasionally hears two part tunes being played at the same time (the australian fellow did this nicely on a tune or two)
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on December 31, 2013, 01:32:06 PM
I agree with George.
Though I use the word 'practice' I really mean
 ' sit down with a cup of tea, play a couple of tunes to get rid of the work brain and....'
Try to make a passage crisper, look at a new tune, go over some old favourites cos I enjoy them etc... Until my tea is drunk or stone cold!
It's never a slog and I always come back feeling better.
I also drink a lot of tea..... :D
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on December 31, 2013, 01:36:42 PM
I think I sometimes  get the procedure in the wrong order - I put kettle on - pick up box - play - and forget about the kettle and am duly thankful it is of the electric sort that turns itself off!  I obviously need to  properly practice  the brewing of the tea before picking up box!

george ;D
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: arty on December 31, 2013, 04:04:34 PM
This is such an interesting and helpful thread for me. I started to teach myself melodeon nearly 18 months ago, using Dave Mallinson's Absolute Beginners book. With just 4 pages left, I have been wondering how I will carry on moving forward after completing the book. In some ways, the book makes one lazy as all the fingering, cross rowing is planned out for you and all one has to do is learn to play it. But in other ways, when I have tried other tunes not in the book, I have found that a lot of the fingering, cross rowing has/is becoming automatic.

A couple of evenings ago, I sat and played around with a tune I learnt some months ago - concentrating on the basses mainly. Because of this half hour, I found I was able to play basses for the tune in ways not written in the music and which, to me, sounded much more creative. So, I feel I benefitted greatly. This, I guess is a very basic illustration of what Squeezy means by number 2 type practice.

Because of this thread, I feel a lot happier now about life after Dave Mallinson! Thank you everyone - oh, and Happy New Year!  :|glug
 
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 01, 2014, 05:09:43 PM
After starting this thread, and taking George's carefully worded advice, I've spent the last few days happily poking my finger in various parts of the keyboard and have had great fun and realise I have a tune sorted!
It needs polishing and committing to memory but it is getting there.

I've also reflected on this thread and 'time' is a re-occurring theme.
People feeling pressured and want more time to play.
Time spent in unconstructed playing and exploring the box is not wasted but the exact opposite, a very positive thing to do.

.... And very relevant to my original question, you need time in a tune to add right hand emphasis.
As I've discovered, the tune I've learnt is a medium paced tune with areas that has the time and space within it to allow emphasis. I have used these rare moments to emphasise them with right hand chords or harmonies.
This takes time within that tune space to allow your fingers to take up those shapes, and I realise a fast tune where the melodeon resembles a machine gun spitting out notes is not a tune to try and a fist full of chords!
Time is everywhere!
Thanks for a great chat.
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on January 01, 2014, 05:26:07 PM
once various combinations of 'harmonising notes' aka chords!  have been discovered by pocking and prodding the door is open to an easy way of adding additional rhythm on the treble end ( with or without rhythm on the bass end). 

Instead of holding down 3 or maybe just 2 notes to form a chord   beat a  bit of rhythm on one or both of the additional or non tune notes .   This provides harmonic rhythm  and can be used more or less interchangeably with right hand chords to add a bit of variation 2nd or 3rd time through a tune.

Once the hang is got of playing right hand chords and or rhythm it may be worth trying the bass as simple ? lightly played tuned percussion

Another 'tier' of rhythm can also be had from time to time by gentle pulsing ( not shaking) of the bellows in time with the underlying rhythm of a tune eg Push push push for a waltz.  this can only be done on reasonably long stretches in same bellows direction

no rules - just part of the fun of learning by experimentation!

george
 
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 01, 2014, 08:22:46 PM
Wow thanks George - even more things to think about!
That's good to know and even more food for thought.
It only goes to prove you can be quite complex in your playing even thought it's supposedly a 'simple' instrument.
I've just come in from having a quick twiddle and was playing an old favourite of mine and realising it lends itself to harmonising. Great fun having an explore!
 I did chance on beating a rhythm with the other fingers..... This is getting exciting  (:)
I must remember not to get too carried away though and not overdo it!
Cheers
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Chris Ryall on January 02, 2014, 08:53:16 AM

  http://youtu.be/Am78ivB4KxQ (et seq) is excellent on this, though in French ::)
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 02, 2014, 09:31:52 AM
Thanks Chris, taking a look as I type.
I remember you once described a Gaillard as sounding like 'thick chocolate....' Good description, sounds wonderful!
now back to the video......
Q
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: george garside on January 02, 2014, 10:04:40 AM
great stuff! is it a GCF or G C acc or? box

george
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Chris Ryall on January 02, 2014, 10:13:28 AM
vaguely remember that … but chocolate is a mere ingredient.  the crunchy textural rhythms Milleret puts out, and the fantastical frou-frou of some of Pignols improvisations are the product. (In my hands the instrument is frankly more like a Mars bar).

But these two are keen teachers (big part of their living) and their courses/classes are super. These videos offer some of the subtleties for free. The series(3) on Blues scale are particularly useful.

They play GC*accs, 18 bass; the C*-row having G# for G as part of "pignol/milleret" system, but that isn't critical in these videos.
Title: Re: Advanced tutor?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 02, 2014, 01:55:26 PM
Having a close up of the fingers shows a lovely variation in how to press a button - worth a good look!
Q
still watching..........
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