Melodeon.net Forums

Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: MelonBox on March 19, 2018, 08:30:09 PM

Title: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-7:30pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 19, 2018, 08:30:09 PM
I have been suffering a guilty conscience of late. It hasn't escaped my notice that I come on here to 'flog my wares' and I rarely take part in community discussion. This is something I've not been entirely comfortable with and want to change! I pledge to make time for engaging!

Here's my idea:

- I propose to host a weekly Q&A with me, here on this thread. "Ask me anything (about melodeons/teaching/learning  :P)"
- I will dedicate an hour of my time every Monday evening between 7-8pm GMT to answer your questions in real time.
- Post me your woes!
- Let me be your agony aunt!
- Vent your frustration!
- Perhaps share a little video of what you're struggling with and I can send one back in return.

If you can't be here for the live Q&A then leave a comment in this thread and I can pick it up when I log in each week. I'll do my best to get through as many as I can in the hour!

Also, I'd love to give it a catchy title, in a hashtag like all the #somewherehours out there on Twitter land etc. Does anyone have a good idea for one? #MelHour just sounds a little bit dull! Post your ideas below!

So how does this sound? Let's give it a go and see if it takes off! See you next week 26/03/18 at 7-8pm GMT.

Mel  :|||:

Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: bellowpin on March 19, 2018, 08:45:19 PM
how about MELZONE,  or is that too direct?  just thought it might get other people contributing to this thread.
    best wishes from Ludlow,,brian,,
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 19, 2018, 08:49:55 PM
Hi Brian! Thanks for your offering.

I guess it is a bit in your face! Needs to be something more inviting I feel?

Ideas from other sources (aka my family!) include MelChat, MelodeonAunt, MelodeonSurgery and AskMel. Hmmm...  :-\
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: bellowpin on March 19, 2018, 09:17:32 PM
melodeon aunt,  that sounds good .  the most glamorous aunt on melodeon.net!!!!
            regards brian..
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: boxcall on March 19, 2018, 09:19:26 PM
Hi Mel,
This is really nice of you! I'm looking forward to the chat.

Don't know if your familiar with NPR (national public radio) they had a program called Car talk with
Click and clack.
If you don't know the show it's worth a listen, funny guys the tappet brothers.

So, Mel or melodeon talk with click and clack - you'd just need a partner (:)
Or just Mel talk or melodeon talk. /Treble talk. /Go ahead push my buttons./ Push Mel's buttons.
Ok I'll stop (:)






Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 19, 2018, 09:29:15 PM
Hello!

I was out in the US (Boston, MA and NY) during January/early Feb and NPR was explained to me then (are you in the States too? If so whereabouts?)

So, Mel or melodeon talk with click and clack - you'd just need a partner (:)
Or just Mel talk or melodeon talk. /Treble talk. /Go ahead push my buttons./ Push Mel's buttons.
Ok I'll stop (:)

I like 'PushMyButtons'!  >:E
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Nigel on March 19, 2018, 09:37:08 PM
Good idea Mel. I like AskMel....so far.
This could end up like one of those Python sketches like "What has Mel done for the Melodeonists"
Here goes and, as they say,  a daft idea sometimes leads to a corker.
MELonAIR said with a French or Italian expression with hands (probably needs to end with an "i" in the latter case).
MELHOUR
MEL60
GETMEL which needs to be said with an East London aggressive voice.
MELLEM an inverse combination!

I like GETMEL but that's me - sad!
     
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 19, 2018, 09:46:35 PM
Haha! I like your mind, Brace. Get Mel... hmmm... don't think people will get confused with Get Shorty?! And MelonAir - I can see it in my head!

Ask Mel kind of does what it says on the tin doesn't it?! I do like simple
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: boxcall on March 19, 2018, 10:02:13 PM
Hello!

I was out in the US (Boston, MA and NY) during January/early Feb and NPR was explained to me then (are you in the States too? If so whereabouts?)

So, Mel or melodeon talk with click and clack - you'd just need a partner (:)
Or just Mel talk or melodeon talk. /Treble talk. /Go ahead push my buttons./ Push Mel's buttons.
Ok I'll stop (:)

I like 'PushMyButtons'!  >:E

Hi Mel,
Yes, I'm in the states just north of Boston. I live on Cape Ann in Rockport.
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: boxcall on March 19, 2018, 11:48:06 PM
Ringing the bell woes.

Open up the bell woes.

A friend in need is a friend with reeds.

I reed help, (I really do) (:)

Speaking about reeds.

An extra voice.

Somebody "STOP" me (:)

Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Kim B on March 20, 2018, 01:07:59 AM
Ode on mel...
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Nick Collis Bird on March 20, 2018, 04:52:33 AM
How about “Mel’s Q&A Hour” ?
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Lyra on March 20, 2018, 07:28:05 AM
Aunty Mel's Emporium of Melodeon Wisdom
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 20, 2018, 08:16:48 AM
How about “Mel’s Q&A Hour” ?

Yes I am leaning more towards the simplistic approach! Hashtags are funny in that you can't have symbols in them though. But I'll play and see what works

Ringing the bell woes.

Open up the bell woes.

A friend in need is a friend with reeds.

I reed help, (I really do) (:)

Speaking about reeds.

An extra voice.

Somebody "STOP" me (:)



Hahaha!!! I'm getting 'frantic' from your suggestions, I can almost smell the smoke coming from your ears!

Aunty Mel's Emporium of Melodeon Wisdom

Very JK Rowling, I like it but it's a bit of a mouthful :-P
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 20, 2018, 10:43:33 AM
Hi Mel,
Yes, I'm in the states just north of Boston. I live on Cape Ann in Rockport.

Ah! I was in Belmont for most of my visit. Travelled over to see Doug Creighton at The Button Box and a load of reprobates from Jugglers Meadow/Wake Robin Morris sides. I was also working with my business mentor up in Binghamton for a week. Took a trip to NYC a few days too! (the holiday part of a very busy 3 weeks of filming!)

I'm going to be making it an annual trip so it would be good to catch up with you next year?
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Clawhammer on March 20, 2018, 01:19:51 PM
What a gracious off Aunt Mel!  I've never had an aunty before. 

I am looking forward to periodically having an aunt to (virtually) "cry on the shoulder of" in pursuit of assurance/clarification/another perspective/etc. here in the US (don't maker political fun) kingdom of old timey/Irish C#D.

It appears that you already have enough creative name suggestions here so I'll stay out and look for any announcements of this generous initiative! Clawhammer Bill
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on March 20, 2018, 02:10:48 PM
My two pennyworth

Dear_Mel

Mels_Serendipity

Enquire_within_about _Everything
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 21, 2018, 08:05:13 PM
What a gracious off Aunt Mel!  I've never had an aunty before. 

I am looking forward to periodically having an aunt to (virtually) "cry on the shoulder of" in pursuit of assurance/clarification/another perspective/etc. here in the US (don't maker political fun) kingdom of old timey/Irish C#D.

It appears that you already have enough creative name suggestions here so I'll stay out and look for any announcements of this generous initiative! Clawhammer Bill

Hey Bill! Glad to meet another box buddy from across the pond! Are you also a C#/D player? (not my area of expertise at all I'm afraid! eek!)


Also, I have it folks - #AskMelonBox It's simple and to the point! Thanks for all your suggestions - comical and otherwise!
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 22, 2018, 03:05:09 AM
not my area of expertise at all I'm afraid! eek!

You'll have to pardon my ignorance, but: what would your areas of expertise be?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: boxcall on March 23, 2018, 12:01:26 AM
"#AskMelonBox It's simple and to the point! "

Sounds good!

Ok I guess, I'll have to save "go ahead push my buttons" for a melodeon tee shirt.  >:E

Yes if you are in the Boston area again get in touch it would be nice to meet you.

So kick off is 03/26/18 ? Your first post date is slightly different but the same ;) I think.


Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: MelonBox on March 25, 2018, 06:25:47 PM

You'll have to pardon my ignorance, but: what would your areas of expertise be?

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

My knowledge and skills stem from a background playing for English dance (including Border Morris, Cotswold Morris, Molly and ceilidh) and for French/continental style dancing (balfolk styles). I've been teaching since 2009 (it is now my full time career!) and have a natural way of quickly getting to grips with individual learning styles - so I'm adept at explaining and demonstrating things in a number of different ways until that glorious 'Aha!' moment is reached! One of the best things people say about my approach is my patience (incredibly important!) and my ability to succinctly focus in on the exact area that is causing bother, work with the student to deconstruct it, work on it repetitively, and then stitch it all back together.

I'm best suited to teaching two row 8-bass diatonic boxes that are tuned DG, CF, GC or BbEb rather than boxes that are tuned nearer a chromatic scale (e.g. C/C#, BC etc) as that is what I have dedicated my time to over the years. I'm still finding plenty to keep me interested in the 2-row 8-bass systems I play and after seeing Frederic Paris a number of years ago, I decided there really is no need to upgrade to bigger, meatier boxes (check out his playing if you're not familiar with his music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7r5vtEXbgQ) I have tried upgrading to 2.5 row 12 bass instruments purely for the fact they give you more chord options on the LH and reversals/accidentals on the RH, but overall I find them too cumbersome for my particular style preference and approach to playing. It's a very personal thing, and in no way am I saying I don't teach people who are more 'boxed up' than me!

Here's a brain dump of the stuff I'm awesome ate:
- Locating bad habits and helping you to fix them
- Sort out fingering pattern issues and making things flow better
- Help with row crossing
- Help with LH rhythm
- Sorting out right-hand/left-hand coordination issues
- Help with using more/different chords on the LH
- Help with using the LH for more than just oom-pah
- Right hand rhythm, note shaping, pulse, feeling and bringing tunes to life 
- Improvisation
- Building confidence whilst playing in a group
- Session survival skills
- Help you to learn by ear
- Arrangement and performance development
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 25, 2018, 06:28:00 PM
Oh, and see you tomorrow everyone! 7-8pm GMT! I'll do my best to answer as many questions in the hour!

You can also follow the Q&A over on my Twitter feed where I'll be using the hashtag #AskMelonBox!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 07:01:24 PM
Good evening everyone! (Is anyone there?!)

Who's up with their first question?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 07:10:11 PM
OK, let's kick off with this:

What's your current frustration? What are you working on that's got some lumps and bumps in the road? 
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: nigelr on March 26, 2018, 07:12:41 PM
Ok, I'll start. In a recent thread there's a video of Paul young and he mentions playing short bass/long chord as a way to improve the sound.  This is something I have often struggled with and slip back into om-pah. Any thoughts on good ways to achieve this?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 07:22:42 PM
Ok, I'll start. In a recent thread there's a video of Paul young and he mentions playing short bass/long chord as a way to improve the sound.  This is something I have often struggled with and slip back into om-pah. Any thoughts on good ways to achieve this?

Hey Nigel! I often find it useful, when you're wanting to try something new in your playing, to take that technique to one side and practise it on its own.

So first of all, just try playing short bass long chord on the LH. On the push and pull as it will feel different in both directions.

Once you've got used to it there, add in a single note on the RH (I go for G and A - 3rd/4th button push+pull) and play along with both hands in the new way.

Visualization helps - think of throwing a bean bag in the air! The up-chuck is the bass, as it soars into the air is silent, as it reaches its peak and starts to fall bring in the chord and keep the chord on until you catch it and throw it again. This will mean the chord blends slightly with the bass and give a big gut-punch sound from the reeds :-)

Good luck! Let me know how you get on!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: nigelr on March 26, 2018, 07:37:37 PM
Thanks  (:)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Nigel on March 26, 2018, 07:41:58 PM
Hi Mel
We never seem to have time to talk boxes during lessons or workshops. Steve set up your 233. What are special differences as a result, eg sound, speed of mechanisms etc? Would you recommend this for an amateur player? 
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 07:42:31 PM
Question from @yorkist on Twitter:
Not being able to instinctively find the notes. I can play a wrong note on a tune I ‘know’, try the passage again, and hit the same wrong note despite knowing its coming up. Is it my ears or my fingers letting me down?

Answer:
Hi @yorkist! Thanks for your question - it's a good one! That anticipated mistake is always a sign to me that we're not being 'The Boss' of our fingers. It's about mentally overcoming the autopilot that governs that 'known'. Practise that passage in isolation - this might be tricky enough in itself but TOTALLY worth doing to strengthen your confidence and physical knowledge of the tune. When you feel that part coming up, be The Boss and take control of your fingers to consciously choose the correct note.

Let me know how you get on!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 07:55:07 PM
Hi Mel
We never seem to have time to talk boxes during lessons or workshops. Steve set up your 233. What are special differences as a result, eg sound, speed of mechanisms etc? Would you recommend this for an amateur player?

Hello to my other Nigel! (My northern Nigel, as opposed to my southern nigelr hehe)

Nice question! Steve Freereeder as he is known in this parish set up my Serenellini Deluxe 233 oooh about 3 years ago?! (Steve feel free to correct me!) I took it to him mostly for tuning, and specifically the M+ voice which was waaay too sharp for my liking, making the MM+/LMM+ voice settings waaay too wet for my liking. Steve allowed me to try out a plethora of his own boxes until I found an MM setting I liked the sound of. I settled on his Castagnari Laura model - my Goldilocks tuning - not too wet, not too dry, just right!

We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo. So that's what he did for me! It involved pulling the M+ in a bit to become more 'in pitch' to where it was 'off the shelf'.

I'm sure there were tweaks to the L and M reeds too to bring it all in to line. I am much in love with playing with LM voicing so the deep, rich, treacly L reed is very important to me and I like the L and M to be exactly an octave apart, giving me that gorgeous, sweet, rounded dry tone.

This video demonstrates what I love about it so much, and why I thoroughly rate Steve's work!

https://youtu.be/3AAtHPN8WLM
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Nigel on March 26, 2018, 08:01:44 PM
Thanks Mel. That tune and sound - Wow!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 26, 2018, 08:02:08 PM
Thanks for all the questions this week everyone! A nice simple start! See you next week same time!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Steve_freereeder on March 27, 2018, 12:38:20 AM
Hi Mel,
Thanks for the endorsement of my work :|bl. Pleased that you like the resultant sound and response!

We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo.
I think you mean beats per second!  ;)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 27, 2018, 09:06:48 AM

We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo.
I think you mean beats per second!  ;)

Oh my goodness!! Of course! I said 'second' in my head but my fingers typed 'minute'! Haha! How brilliant, given another response in this thread about head and finger miscommunication ;-)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on April 02, 2018, 06:56:31 PM
Good evening everyone! How are we? I've just got back from an incredible weekend with Anne Niepold (Belgian jazz diatonic accordionist), Paul James (Blowzabella) and Gigi Biolcati (Italian percussionist and performer) at the Halsway Manor euro music weekend. Anyone else familiar with Anne?! I'm completely bewitched by her! I have paid my deposit on her week-long course at Halsway in October 2018. It will be very good for me! Has anyone been to Halsway Manor before? Perhaps the DG Melodeon weekend?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: howard mitchell on April 02, 2018, 07:25:14 PM
Hi Mel,
I’ve been to Halsway many times to play for dance events and to record their millennium CD (gosh 19 years ago). I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Here’s a melodeon question for you.
How do you advise on accurate hand position movements in tunes which have wide ranging runs?
I’m thinking of things like
GBd gfg|afd fga|bab cbc|afd cBA|GBd gfg| afd fga|bdb caf|agf g3||

Sorry I’m not at home at the moment and can’t look up the name of the tune or do a quick demo recording.

Thanks

Mitch
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on April 02, 2018, 07:39:53 PM
Hi Mitch! Thanks for keeping me company - I was starting to feel lonely in here ;-) I meant to add that the weekend with Anne, Paul and Gigi was *at* Halsway, so I've just got back from there. My first visit - what a wonderful place! Who did you record the CD with?

Thanks for your question! I've just copied and pasted your run of notes into abc explorer - is this an actual tune or an example of note intervals that are tricky?

Either way, I'd suggest keeping the hand position fluid. Don't grip on to the keyboard. If you use a thumb strap - don't use it! I find on anything other than a 1-row they are a nuisance, anchoring your hand in one place.

I usually find with ascending and descending note patterns that span more than an octave (4/5 button range depending on push/pull) that you'll have a leading finger that 'draws' or leads you up or down the keyboard. It'll either be your index finger going down, or your little finger leading up.

The leading fingers make the move, and the others follow. If I'm heading up, the little an ring do most of the work, if I'm heading down, the index and middle do most of the work.

I hope this answers your question! 
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on April 02, 2018, 07:47:51 PM
(PS I'm jealous of your Bertrand Galliard GC after hearing Anne's this weekend! Ach!)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: howard mitchell on April 02, 2018, 08:03:08 PM
Hi Mel,
It’s a real tune I got from a Canadian band called Les Sortilege, a long time ago.

Thanks for the advice.  All is well going up long arpeggios, when they immediately descend again like it this tune it can be a bit hit and miss.

I don’t use a thumb strap even on a 1 row as I like to pivot on my thumb on the edge of the keyboard to facilitate this sort of thing.

The recording was by a large group of people from social dance bands of the day -
Thomas Bending, Aidan Broadbridge, Dave Brown, Alan Corkett, Jon Corkett, Kevin Downham, Maggie Fletcher, Lesley Gerbrandy, Estelle Jackson, Maggie Kaye, Howard Mitchell, Geoffrey Moss, Hazel Ridd, Rod Stradling, Gordon Taylor, Meg Winters ( I had to look the list up), somestill playing today.

The Bertrand Gaillard features on some of my Tune of the Month recordings on YouTube.

Mitch
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Stiamh - away for the summer on April 02, 2018, 08:36:33 PM
FYI it's a very well-known Irish tune called Tobin's Favourite and it is usually in the key of D.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Baron Collins-Hill 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
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Baron Collins-Hill 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!
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Gena Crisman 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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M95cuhjKtA). 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 (http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,21995.msg264401.html) recently about playing these I linked this part of this video of Tim Edey (https://youtu.be/WG48kOcyt_Q?t=227) 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.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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!
 
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Otterbox 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!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg 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?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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?!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg 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.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Otterbox 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!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Gena Crisman 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!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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/
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Joan Kureczka 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.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox 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/
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: Gena Crisman 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) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNMbuGC4fvs). 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.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: george garside on August 13, 2018, 10:34:10 AM
for those without knowledge of musical theory ( 3rds 5ths or whatever) is simply a matter of experimentation .  On the row ANY combination of buttons will harmonise on the PUSH and there is only one place where they will not harmonise on the pull which is easily discovered and never forgotten.

So  on the basis that the tune is only being played by one finger at a time the tune can be ''thickened up''  here and there simply by using a spare finger to press another button - or several spare fingers to press  more than one button at the same time, bearing in mind that there is on combination of buttons that will not work on the pull.


The spare finger on the spare button can also be used to generate extra rhythm rather than a chord  i.e one finger is playing the 'tune' note and another can be beating a bit of rhythm on another button.


If you run out of 'spare  fingers it is possible in some circumstances to angle or roll  finger one ( next to thumb) so that it will press two buttons!

In time this should become completely intuitive  but for starters  stop somewhere in a tune ,keeping the 'tune 'note going and simply experiment pressing other buttons until you get a combination providing a sound you like.  ?maybe even press a couple of buttons together (plus the tune note)


There are also situations where abutton  from the other row can be added to thicken things up a bit eg if playng on the D row the D note can be thickened or doubledd by also pushing the nearby D on the G row.


also worth keeping in mind is that when playing on the row  the saame note is srepeated every 4 buttons on the push and 5 buttons on the pull so  if for ;example the note G is being played with the first finger the note G an octaave higher can be shoved in with the little finger.  similarly twp E's can be played in the saem way on the pull.

no need to worry about ''correctness'' just work on the basis of it your combination sounds right  it will be right and if it sound crapy it won't be

george
Title: Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
Post by: nigelr on August 13, 2018, 10:37:07 AM
... are there any exercises you would advise just beyond scales to try and build enough familiarity to drop these combinations into tunes?
...It's often very impressive, but, I can't tell if it's practiced or adlib...
Definitely down to practice (and still something I'm far from comfortable with).  That and giving the bellows a good hard squeeze!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on September 10, 2018, 10:15:36 AM
Live Q&A TONIGHT! Come and join me on Facebook live for an hour of #AskMelonBox talking about anything to do with teaching, Pick Up & Play online course, melodeons, career, summer festivals, Moirai etc etc!

Link to my Facebook page: https://bit.ly/2O6Uhqd
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Clawhammer on September 10, 2018, 02:32:54 PM
Hi Mel: 

That seems to convert to about 11:00 pm to 12:00 Midnight Eastern Standard Time in the US (don't make fun) which is past my bedtime. 

I was wondering as an online poster (?poser?) whether any forum participants share my frustration. (I currently live in pretty much a box wasteland and have none to ask directly as a 12-18-month learner).

I seem to learn a tune quite conversely after hundreds of practice rounds on multiple days and weeks and than seem to "forget" that tune after take on a few other somewhat dissimilar tunes for future ITM sessions.  It seems that my "muscle memory" almost returns to struggling whether X note is a "push" or "pull note" on the "learnt" tune when it had been coming so smoothly after hundreds and hundreds of rounds during the prior few weeks.

Is this a matter of learning to somehow distinguishing one tune from another on basis of first few notes? some other criteria?
Is this a matter of not practicing enough and not practicing adequately/in optimal manner?

CONFESSIONS:  1. I've been a fret player of various instruments for four decades and still tend to "look" a little at the neck as I play complex tunes out.
                         2. I have never learned to read musical notation capably. I seem to be mostly dependent on YouTube tutorial videos- don't get
                             much out of sound files.
                         3. I do try to primarily practice a new tune on the D rows of both a D/G box (for my use at "fret" life gigs) and C#/D (for "box only" session events) although the spaces between buttons seem quite similar.

I guess that I'm asking in this long-winded way, "How do folks expand their tune vocabulary "without losing ground" with other tunes? Thanks,  Bill

Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Barlow on September 10, 2018, 11:41:52 PM
Mel replied to this. The broadcast is now loaded on her Facebook Page.

Mel used the interesting analogy of The Generation Game conveyor belt, (might be under another name in other countries, if broadcast there at all. It was a TV game show from 1970s).

Things come into our memory and slip away and fall off the conveyor belt, so to speak. We have to pick them up and relearn them again, perhaps not so much though.

I would take the analogy further in that after a few times of learning, the subject is taken off the conveyor belt and put to your side. You've won it. It's yours now.

Learning is so personal and subjective. But we just about all  learn how to drive a car and ride a bike - forever. How come that stays with us, but the B Part of that jig just won't stay in the brain-muscle memory. What I do if I ever have a problem learning a tune, is I drop it for a while and just do some scale exercises in its key, loads of them. Then go and have a cup of tea or a break or whatever and then come back to the tune. It will start to sink in properly.

Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Clawhammer on September 11, 2018, 02:54:57 PM
Thanks very much for helpful analogy and advice (with dose of reassurance)!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Stiamh - away for the summer on September 11, 2018, 03:25:22 PM
Muscle memory is all very well and useful, but if you don't have the tune in your actual memory, it's bound to fall off the conveyor belt.

I have a pretty reliable memory for tunes - hundreds of them in active memory and a few more hundreds that are lurking under the surface - but have had the same experience of learning to play unfamiliar tunes to a decent standard and then finding a few weeks later that they aren't there. This is no doubt partly the fault of aging! But this doesn't happen if I know the tune well, if it's in my head.

So I would suggest you try my approach - which is not to bother learning tunes I don't already know! And if you don't know a tune you want to learn, listen to someone (or several different someones) playing it a few dozen or hundred times before you start. Making sure you can sing the melody is a good trick, also.

You can't internaltize tunes by muscle memory alone, in my view - and if you did succeed, I'd venture that your performances of the tunes would be lifeless. But you can play tunes (in familiar keys at least) - or pick them up quickly - that you have no muscle memory of playing but which are well established in your real memory.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: george garside on September 11, 2018, 05:21:27 PM
I am dubious about the concept of muscle memory  but accept the phrase as 'shorthand' for memory ( as in the brain).  In practical terms for non readers the tune has to be stored in the brain (i.e. remembered)  .  When we decide to play a particular tune in simple terms it is transferred from the storage bit of the ;brain into the musical processer part which translates it into messages down the arm to the fingers and in turn throught he fingers to the buttons.

For me it simply boils down to the fact that to play a tune 'by ear' I have got to be able to hum or whistle it. I I can't do that for the entire tune there are bits of it that have not become firmly implanted in the 'storage' part of the brain.


Putting it the other way round I often find myself playing , far from perfectly,  a tune I havn't played before but which has, unbeknown to me , or at least the conscious bits of me, surreptitiously  crept into the brains storage bin!


george
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Clawhammer on September 11, 2018, 05:53:16 PM
Yes, agreed all around with Steve and George.  I apologize for having used that nebulous phrase "muscle memory"!  I realize now (as a non-notation reader) that I don't really consider the prospect of someone trying to learn to play a tune without already having it "in their head."  Thanks,  Bill
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Jesse Smith on September 12, 2018, 03:40:58 AM
Most of us who are musically inclined can whistle or sing/lilt a tune as easily as speaking, without any conscious thought as to how to shape the mouth to get the right pitches. I wonder if eventually one can achieve that on an instrument: to be so familiar and comfortable with it that one can rattle off a tune from memory as effortlessly as if they were whistling it. At least for playing a basic melody this seems feasible; maybe a complete arrangement with fancy bass runs and chord rhythms requires more direct practice.

Is this something worth practicing towards? This is basically how one learns to play by ear, but in the sense of being able to do it at speed I suppose.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: george garside on September 13, 2018, 01:26:02 PM
being able to play 'the basic tune' is indeed a good way to start  and once the right notes can be played in the right order there is a lot more to be done to the basic tune ( melody ) before even thinking about 'fancy bass runs' ,chord rhythms or whatever.


The rhythm MUST be inherent in the way the tune/melody is played and no amount of arty farty bass will compensate for not so doing. Any 'chord rhythms' can later be put in to add to the inherent rhythm of the tune.


Then matters like phrasing and dynamics need to be experimented with  , again melody only .


in other words if the basic tune is not played with good rhythm, phrasing and dynamics  no amount of bass sruns and chord rhythms will improve it.  ONce the foregoing is mastered it is very much up to the individual to consider what additional ;bass stuff will add ( or detract!) from a well played melody.

george
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Winston Smith on September 13, 2018, 01:38:00 PM
Jesse, this is most certainly the goal of those of us who only play by ear; we have no other choice. Indeed, we (or perhaps I should really just say "I"?) never actually considered another way.

As for playing at speed, I can do that. But I can fall down with it, as it's not something I usually want to do, plus my playing skill (haha) isn't to the standard where I can easily do things which I'm not too keen on anyway.

It's rather like playing the dance (etc.) tunes, which it seems everyone on here knows so well; I don't know most of them, don't particularly like many of those which seem to be so popular with most other Melnetters, and therefore don't really see the point of learning them by ear, by having to listen to them over and over again. Actually, if I don't like the tune; it'll never stick!

But, when it comes to hymn tunes and folk song tunes, I have no problem in rattling them off. (Although that may be just a tad of an exaggeration?)

I've just realised that this has become rather off-topic, I always let my musings and imaginings run away with me, sorry. If it's too far off, just delete it, please
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on November 04, 2018, 10:08:50 PM
Remember remember the 5th of November... For it be #AskMelonBox! Live on my Facebook page tomorrow from 7pm GMT. Curious? Come say hi! I've got some news to share!

https://www.facebook.com/MelBiggsMusic/

Alternatively, post your questions to this thread and I shall endeavour to answer you within the hour on Facebook. Link will be shared here after for non-facebook users to see.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: playandteach on November 04, 2018, 11:29:33 PM
Gena
When you say 3rds and 5ths, I assume you're talking about notes from the chord. I prefer to think of the right hand in terms of 3rds and 6ths (which are usually the very same notes, but describing the relationship to each other rather than to the chords). The added bonus is that some of those 3rds and 6ths will work against different chords. For example 3 pairs of 6ths (see how hard this is without notation) say, AC, BD, CE (where the first letter is the lowest pitched note) will clearly help to define an Am chord (the first and last of those pairs dictating the chord), but they also enrich a Dm7 chord in a glorious way, creating a Dm9 chord. You don't need to understand the harmonic principles (though I'm sure you do), but I think that conceiving the right hand in terms of 3rds and 6ths frees you up from sticking to simple triads.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on November 06, 2018, 12:59:15 PM
Results from last night's Q&A with links and extras and whizzbangs:

https://wp.me/p8XyAz-uM
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on November 06, 2018, 10:09:08 PM
I wanted to say, Mel: I thought there was a lot of really good info in your stream, about continental dancing especially. Thank you for sharing it here.

Good luck with the transition to having a 3r/18b in your collection! I must say, I do remember your posting this in the thread earlier:

I'm still finding plenty to keep me interested in the 2-row 8-bass systems I play and after seeing Frederic Paris a number of years ago, I decided there really is no need to upgrade to bigger, meatier boxes (check out his playing if you're not familiar with his music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7r5vtEXbgQ) I have tried upgrading to 2.5 row 12 bass instruments purely for the fact they give you more chord options on the LH and reversals/accidentals on the RH, but overall I find them too cumbersome for my particular style preference and approach to playing.

I would be interested to know what has changed (and what new wonderful music did you discover!). Was there any important factor that helped you figure things out/a Eureka moment? And, have you considered trying to find a stradella bass on a diatonic instrument, over eg the 18 bass?


And an aside:
Gena
...

I think what would really help me is finding an example of the playing I'm thinking of and dissembling everything they do into a written arrangement, and try from there to take it apart. I've actually not had too much luck finding something that's really fit the bill yet.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: playandteach on November 06, 2018, 11:28:36 PM
I hope you share it when you find your perfect example. I love taking music to bits. You're definitely one of the bright sparks that keep threads alive, so thanks for your contributions.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Dick Rees on November 07, 2018, 12:03:16 AM
I would be interested to know what has changed (and what new wonderful music did you discover!). Was there any important factor that helped you figure things out/a Eureka moment?

Did you mean Erica?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on December 03, 2018, 03:13:57 PM
See you later everyone! 7pm GMT over on my Facebook page. We'll be kicking off with 'what's the meaning of voices, registers, thirds in or out and LMM?' thanks to someone who sent a message to me early! Just means I can crack straight on and not sit there twiddling my thumbs!

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MelBiggsMusic/
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on December 03, 2018, 04:22:12 PM
Best of luck with the stream tonight! I have a band practice to attend, so, I'd like to rephrase a post I made upthread into the form of a direct question:

You mentioned you were looking at 3r18b instruments last month, but have also posted some time ago that, despite trying larger instruments (2.5r12b specifically), you have always come back to 2r8b as they've felt to cumbersome.

I'm currently also 2r8b adherent, and haven't generally enjoyed playing the bigger boxes. Could you talk at all about your experience so far with 3r18b? Have you found that it works for you in a way that 2.5r12b does not?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on December 04, 2018, 07:17:23 PM
Hello! I caught up your stream last night, thanks!

I enjoyed hearing about your experiences with the 18 bass instruments, in particular the one you've got your eye on - I've read a few good things the Benny 12 & 18 on mel net before. I'll keep an eye out for one to have a noodle on, although realistically it's such a significant departure from what I'm used to I'm not sure how rewarding it would be to only spend ~quarter of an hour with one.

I'm a big fan of compact instruments. I've been learning quite a bit recently about the pros and cons of couplers and registers and how they can add size and weight to an instrument. Something I've started to pay attention to a lot is the keyboard and how much it grows out as it connects to the instrument. Hobgoblin near me had a Castagnari Fazzy for a while and for a 2r12 bass, I was always surprised by just how big and heavy it seemed, compared to what I was used to at least. If you look at a picture of it though, you can see it gets pretty swole: http://www.castagnari.com/eng/prodotto.html?id=4&k=18

I'm not sure if the same can be sort of said of the the Trilly, weight wise, but it does have couplers at either end, I think you noted a different time that it shares the same casework as the 4v Castagnari Wielly? You seem very comfortable with it though, so whatever it weighs is probably around what you'd want to aim to not exceed. I guess to some extent, where a box keeps all it's weight is also a big factor rather than just its straight kerb weight. So, all of that noted, I can believe that the Big 18 would be a very tempting prospect! Looking on Casta's site, I can see that although the numbers themselves are probably not trustworthy, it seem to imply the big 18 (http://www.castagnari.com/eng/prodotto.html?id=6&k=40) may actually be lighter than your Trilly (http://www.castagnari.com/eng/prodotto.html?id=5&k=21), or at least it is in the same ballpark. Players like Thoon (http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?action=profile;u=9054;area=showposts;start=0) do make the options 18 bass systems offer very appealing.

So far, I've found I'm super into compact 2r8b instruments though, and it's hard to match parity with their weight, since even many feature instruments in the same catagory feel outside of my preference. I have been wondering to myself about if my distaste for 2.5r12b could be alleviated by finding a high end, compact instrument with enough cut down features to keep the magic I'm chasing in there. I've stuck my flag pretty hard into a 3v 2 row instrument (http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,19630.140.html) though so, I'll have to see how I get on with that, whenever I get the phone call at least.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: GPS on December 04, 2018, 07:33:20 PM
it gets pretty swole

???????
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on December 07, 2018, 06:54:56 PM
Missed my last #AskMelonBox live Q&A of 2018 on Monday? Never fear! Here's the round-up post.

Thanks for all the great questions this year! Keep them coming in 2019!

https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/2018/12/07/askmelonbox-live-qa-december-2018-results/
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on January 07, 2019, 02:36:55 PM
I've arrived safely at Halsway Manor ready for a week of R&D on the new Moirai project album (launching in October at Derby Folk Festival so get your tickets now!)

Tonight's Q&A will be coming at you live from the Halsway library (wait till you see it!). This time I'll be over on YouTube Live for the first time. Fingers and toes crossed for a smooth tech run please!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_6Lhyv4BTY4Efp-27gcpbw

7-8pm GMT. Have your questions at the ready!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on January 07, 2019, 06:34:14 PM
I'm all set to go here in the library at Halsway Manor!

Find the live stream here (I think!)
https://youtu.be/Seii-Ocr304
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on January 07, 2019, 07:54:30 PM
Hi Mel,

You asked me to share some of my mode tunes. My mode adventure started when someone said a tune was in "Mixolydian b6", and I was like... what is mixolydian b6?? Well, it's as simple as it sounds, it's mixolydian but the 6th scale degree is flat. The reality of this mode is that the first half of the scale sounds major, the 2nd half sounds minor. It's also very similar to a mode called Phrygian Dominant, but, not quite the same. The mode has a really neat feeling of wonder.

Provided you have a push D#, you can play in this mode on the DG melodeon with B major your tonic/home chord. I picked that because I learnt that the most effective chords for this mode are the are I (B major), VII (A major) and iv (E minor), with I and iv being the bread and butter.

And so I just sort of wrote a chord progression and, this is a tune I came up with:

Code: [Select]
X:2
T:Because It Was There
C:Gena Crisman 09/09/2018
%%titlefont Consolas, 22
%%subtitlefont Consolas, 16
%%partsfont Consolas, 20
%%partsbox
%%gchordfont Consolas, 18
%%MIDI program 21 % Accordion
%%MIDI chordprog 1 % Piano
M:4/4
L:1/8
% So this tune is written in B Mixolydian b6, or, sometimes called Melodic Major?
% It's a pretty cool mode - it's quite similar to Phrygian Dominant, but doesn't have
% the flat 2nd, scale is B C# D# E F# G A B, and the main business chords are the
% B major <-> E minor change, the A chord was actually pretty hard to use!
Q:150
P:ABAB
K:D
P:A
|: "B" B4 ^def2 | "Em" b8 | "B" fe^d2 f2a2 | "Em" g6 eg|
"B" f3e ^d2B2 | "Em" G4 BcB2 | "B" f3e ^d2B2 |1 "Em" G3 F G2 A2 :|2 "Em" G3 F G2 B2 |
P:B
|: "B" ^def2 d2 B2 | "Em" g4e2g2 | "B" fe^d2 "Em" B2 G2 | "B" F8 |
"Em" E4 F2G2 |"B" F8 | "A" A2BA G2 A2 | "B" B8 :|

Generally I write music before I play it, but know the restrictions pretty well, and took a stab at playing it for the theme of the month a few months back, but, decided it wasn't quite right (I didn't get my rhythm correct at the end of the A music, which is bizarre because I wrote the tune) and never got around to uploading a new version. That original recording is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmSNPlghyM0 though

edit - So, the above mode is a mode of like, E Melodic Minor or something like that. Since then I've tried writing tunes in the more familiar modes, such as B Phrygian (Uses the same notes as G major), C Lydian (Also uses the same notes as G major) and A dorian (G major again!). I've also explored writing harmony parts, specifically a tune that is it's own harmony part, and other silly restrictions or ideas. The main thing with the modes is that many of them do not feel very stable, and you have to be very selective with your chord choices because otherwise you can easily modulate yourself back to Ionian (so, G. Lydian is particular unstable!)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on February 03, 2019, 10:03:50 PM
Get your questions ready for tomorrow's Q&A over on my YouTube channel 7-8pm GMT:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_6Lhyv4BTY4Efp-27gcpbw
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on February 04, 2019, 06:50:46 PM
Hi Mel,

Some news: I went to York, and Pete at Acorn Instruments was very happy to let me pop by and have a play through his selection of Castagnari Melodeons. Included in that, I had the opportunity to play (granted only a 12 bass) Benny - I can see why you're interested in them! If I were going to buy a 3 row, it would probably have to be one of those, as... actually I don't think anyone's making anything that comes close in terms of size/weight? Castagnari's compact range (http://www.castagnari.com/eng/categoria.html?id=6) of melodeons are, I think, something special, and a really good fit for how I play - I'd much prefer a Tommy over a Trilly, I must admit, but, the sensitivity of their regular sized instruments isn't something to shirk off lightly. It was really very informative, Castagnari really do make some fantastic instruments and Pete does a very good job in letting you figure the things out that you need to, which I'm very grateful for.

I've also been working on writing a post about modes that is more practical & writing melodeon friendly modal tunes, rather than talking about if a tune is or isn't in one. I'm on my 3rd draft...

However, as usual, I'm off to band practice, so:

Question time; You mentioned last time that you thought people should keep their B major chord (or non DG equivilent) - as sometimes it gets changed to B minor. I've seen Beginners often having 2nd hand boxes, sometimes with a strange layout or customisation they actually don't know about. Have you ever had students with strange layouts? Have you come across anything that you've thought 'oh that's a neat idea!'? Unlike most instruments, Melodeons really come in all shapes and sizes, and can be fettled to be quite strange - I'm wondering if you've ever had that get in the way of teaching, or, seem like a barrier to your student's progress.

All the best with the Q/A! I hope it doesn't have the video doesn't end up with the same strangeness as last month's did.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on February 04, 2019, 08:07:04 PM
Thanks for you update Gena! And really pleased to hear that you enjoyed your play on the Benny! I agree I've not come across any other make that can do good, responsive compact instruments like Castagnari.

I answered your question too - thanks for that!

For everyone else, if you missed tonight's #AskMelonBox Q&A you can watch it back here:

https://youtu.be/0HPPihpayWY

Thanks for all contributions this month - I'll see you next on 4th March!

I'm off to research into Colombian accordion music...!  :|||:
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on February 05, 2019, 02:17:58 AM
Thanks Mel! Thanks for tracking down my post, I like to try and leave a question for you but I did leave it a bit close this time.

While I was at Acorn, Pete actually very kindly also offered me a short go on the box you mentioned, the one that had been Dave Whetstone's 2.5 row. I whipped out a tuner app on my phone to try and figure out some of what was going on. I thought it was quite bizarre - it had standard ADG basses, which I think makes little sense without an actual A row (so A+/E+, F#+/B- ), and then it's 5th button start - I suspect the intent was to continue the Richter progression (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_tuning) down into very low notes for playing right hand diatonic chords/harmony/playing under yourself systematically rather than memorising any complicated layout. It seems to me though that a lot of people have their own 2.5 row layout that works for them, but this is the sort of thing you have to learn to play it as it is, and not try to impose your own ideas upon it - you'd be mad to try and change it, and Pete seems to be doing a great job looking after all of the instruments in his care.

Speaking of changes, I actually decided that my accidentals were around the 'wrong way' for me, and reversed them - they were Hohnerways, now they're Castarelleways (so, I use a pull F and a pull G# on my accidental buttons now). I think there's a little bit of row focus on each way around, since if you think about it, your inside row and outside row are kind of at odds with one another, so whichever way you pick favours one row or the other. Just for playing over bass end notes though, it just feels more right to me this way around, and the tunes I wanted to play work better, but, I only had about a years worth of playing under my belt when I decided to do it. I'm sure with time I will come to find more situations where I just can't find a workaround, but, no big regrets so far. It did take some time to adapt to it, but, I did manage it in the end. It's tough when both ways are correct - it's also tough to realise that you can effectively be making layout decisions without really knowing it from the getgo.

Video came out just fine, by the way.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Spikey on February 06, 2019, 03:00:50 AM
Just to say thanks so much for these videos Mel - just managed to watch the latest AskMelonBox and was really enjoyable (could definitely relate to 'beginner's indigestion', and really useful demonstrations of different bass styles for dance).
Got to find time to catch up on last year's ones now (:)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 04, 2019, 01:34:20 PM
Mel posted on facebook that she's on the road after some gigs over the weekend, but, will be doing her Q&A tonight still.

I guess I'd better come up with some kind of weird question! I guess I have managed to come up with 2 really, perhaps you should just pick one?

Do you have any advice for playing in/arranging for small bands as a melodeon player - I think that often you 'take turns', weaving what each member plays between melody and accompaniment, but, we can just do both at the same time, and a counter melody at the same time too, if you're feeling up to it! Do you have any strategies you can share that you have found that worked well in your ensembles?

Also

A lot of my local melodeon playing compatriots are very averse to my occasional sordid ideas of 'how about we play something in C?' or 'have you tried B phrygian?'. This has had a knock on effect though, when I want to talk about something straight forward enough, they still assume I'm discussing some kind of dark sorcery, and they're quite sure they want no part in it. "Try the A basses" has, occasionally, been met with looks of terror. What has your experience been like? eg finding the right methods and language to describe things about our unusual instrument, firstly so you don't invoke any dark incantations, but also so you don't end up with people feeling uneasy because of unfamiliar terms for things they play every week.

(Melodeon Clavimancy can be a lonely passtime)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: malcolmbebb on March 04, 2019, 01:56:47 PM
One might follow on by asking, in the Morris context, are variations added for the dancers, the audience or the musician(s)?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Steve_freereeder on March 04, 2019, 03:52:47 PM
One might follow on by asking, in the Morris context, are variations added for the dancers, the audience or the musician(s)?
Good question, but I think we have come a long way from William Kimber's father who, in the late 19th century, said to his son, William Kimber Jnr, concertina player of Headington Morris, "These are the notes you play and you play no others", when WK Snr was teaching WK Jnr the tunes for the morris.

As a long-standing musician for Lizzie Dripping and also, for a few years, for Ouse Washes Molly, the tunes we use constantly evolve by way of harmonies, variations, drones, counter melodies, etc. Certainly for Lizzie Dripping and, as I recall, for OWM, the tunes are/were never played exactly the same way in each performance.

I think that last word says it - we are performers, both dancers and musicians alike, and it is our joint task to create a living piece of art for our audience, each and every time. If we hold the audience's attention and interest, we will have succeeded. As musicians, we have a duty not to let our music interfere with the dancers, but neither is it purely background music. If it were, then just have a CD and amplifier to provide the music and do away with the real musicians.

The best morris (etc.) sides have a continual interaction between dancers and musicians which enables and enhances each with the other, and breathes life into their performances.

Here's a video of Hammersmith Morris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3WSXXukhJU). Listen to how the musicians (which include our own Ian Dedic of this forum) subtly change the harmonies and articulation while still keeping to the basic melodic structure of the music. I think it's good stuff.

Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 04, 2019, 04:50:23 PM
Link to tonight's feed. You can tune in live or watch later via this link:

https://youtu.be/zMATMqiQPl4

Thanks for your question(s) Gena! I shall get my thinking cap on about both of those, especially the last one... hmmm!

Also to Malcolm - I shall answer live later.

Steve, thank you for your comments. Creating living art - YES! I love this!

C ya l8r peeps
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on April 01, 2019, 05:39:23 PM
Due to a minor setback, I have decided to postpone tonight's Q&A until next Monday night.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on April 08, 2019, 09:37:42 AM
Due to a minor setback, I have decided to postpone tonight's Q&A until next Monday night.

Hi Mel,

On the assumption you're able to do your Q&A tonight:

Last month I managed to mangle my question a little, but, your answer was interesting anyway! However, I shall have another go!

Sometimes when I talk to my local melodeon friends, I might use an unfamiliar word or term for something that, actually, they do know about. For example, we might be talking about our bass end, and I might refer to a bass button by the notes/chords it plays, but, I think most of my friends don't know the notes, or at least don't think of them that way, but: they do know how and when to play them. Often, they think whatever it is I'm asking about is too complicated for them, but often I'm asking about their playing, or answering a question. I guess I'd like to come off at least a little bit less scary, somehow! In your time teaching, I imagine your students have come from many different backgrounds. Do you have any advice for avoiding information overload & communicating ideas effectively in different ways?

If that question is bad, well, then I'd also be interested to hear about your flute plating!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Eshed on April 08, 2019, 01:30:59 PM
Sometimes when I talk to my local melodeon friends, I might use an unfamiliar word or term for something that, actually, they do know about. For example, we might be talking about our bass end, and I might refer to a bass button by the notes/chords it plays, but, I think most of my friends don't know the notes, or at least don't think of them that way, but: they do know how and when to play them. Often, they think whatever it is I'm asking about is too complicated for them, but often I'm asking about their playing, or answering a question. I guess I'd like to come off at least a little bit less scary, somehow! In your time teaching, I imagine your students have come from many different backgrounds. Do you have any advice for avoiding information overload & communicating ideas effectively in different ways?
I'm not Mel, but I have some (non-musical) teaching experience so I'll share my tuppence anyway.
You come across in the forums as a very verbal person and your approach for playing is very conscious which as a computer scientist myself I find it great, but I can understand how it might intimidate someone who approaches the instrument in a more subconscious way.
I think you could try substituting words for actually showing/playing something on the box or humming if it's easier. Even a simple sentence like "Alternating the G and D basses for the G chord" becomes more friendly when hummed or when shown on the box.
Another thing you might try is watch how they explain things to each other and try to imitate this. If that never happens, you can even ask them an innocent question like "How would you play X?" and see how they explain it to you.
Other than that, build things gradually, get simpler communication (try the A bass) working well before trying to tackle more complex things (B phrygian).
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on April 08, 2019, 05:16:20 PM
Hello! I'm afraid after what has turned out to be a rather emotionally draining day, I don't have the spoons to run the live Q&A this evening. So this month's #AskMelonBox will be cancelled. *Sigh* I really wanted to talk to you all about practice too and show you some stuff I've been working on!

Instead, I'm more than happy to answer questions here throughout the next week or two making up for lost time!

Gena - thanks so much for another well thought out question. I love them because they make me think and that's what I really like in this monthly Q&A! Thanks also Eshed for your input - I think you make a very valid contribution.

I'll respond to your question more fully once I feel less leaden... zzz
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: malcolmbebb on April 08, 2019, 05:45:19 PM
As a very general point, prompted by the above but not necessarily directed at it, it is vital to understand the starting point of your readers (victims?  >:E).
I have been turned off of material written by very knowledgeable authors because they referred to material, or methods, that they hadn't introduced but assumed that everyone knew. It's bad enough in written material, readers might be able to skip ahead (but it's distracting) but face to face they just nod hopefully and don't turn up for the next session...
My two penn'orth. 
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on April 10, 2019, 09:51:27 AM
they just nod hopefully and don't turn up for the next session...

I'd like to add that this situation can be very frustrating for everyone involved: one party is overwhelmed & feels pushed out, but sometimes the other can also be left confused, not really knowing what went wrong, and unsure what (if anything) they should change about what they were doing. A lot of groups I've been in have had many people ghost from them with little to no explanation, and sometimes the people organising them lose faith and give up.

If that never happens, you can even ask them an innocent question like "How would you play X?" and see how they explain it to you.

One of my biggest fears is coming off as patronising, and I'm worried about how that would go. It doesn't help that I'm just like, super great at putting my foot like right into my mouth, especially if I try to think too much about how I'd want to say something.

I've found that some people do have a very strong anti-analytical approach, for example, my mum - I feel like, often enough, I might ask her a question like that and she'd says she doesn't know and that she 'just does it' and almost rebel against the concept. I've been noticing though that the point where she'll balk is changing, I think as she becomes more confident in her playing, she seems more prepared to talk about things than she did before. I've gone from the new girl in our local folk zone, to a confident, knowledgeable musician who's maybe a little bit too aggressively into melodeons, so, I know I can be intimidating, and I think maybe that helps push people towards feeling flustered and that point of uncertainty, possibly just because I am interested in them and what they're doing. Really though I feel driven to engage with people and have fun playing music, but to also hopefully learn from one another, as so much of what I know today has been taught to me by other people, either actively of passively, and I try to keep the spirit of that alive.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Peadar on April 10, 2019, 11:19:33 PM

Quote
One of my biggest fears is coming off as patronising,

Don't worry about that....just realise that some of us barely know what a major chord is. I  have to count on my fingers to work out  the notes of any major chord other than C. All I know is that the frequency of a 5th is 3/2 that of the fundemental.  As for minor keys and chords.....they are somewhere in the future.

Confession - one of the great attractions of the one row to me, versus learning PA is that it only has two bass keys (or 4 if you have  Stradella basses). And is therefore an instrument I may be able to play.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on April 11, 2019, 01:08:46 AM

. All I know is that the frequency of a 5th is 3/2 that of the fundemental. 

Wow. Didn't know that.

Quote
As for minor keys and chords.....they are somewhere in the future.
 one of the great attractions of the one row to me, versus learning PA is that it only has two bass keys

You don't have to know how a chord is constructed to use the bass buttons on a 4th apart melodeon. Just push them and see if they sound right. Worry about the rest later. The hard part is to get the hands working together.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: george garside on April 11, 2019, 09:55:55 AM
ear ear!

george ;)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: playandteach on April 11, 2019, 10:28:49 AM
As a teacher I still make many mistakes but can offer this advice, Gena, only because you ask.
Firstly, on the page, you use long sentences and long paragraphs. This won't give you a chance to observe if you have said something over their heads (assuming you talk in the same way).
Secondly, I'd suggest demonstrating as you use a term; so if you're talking about a descending bass line then play it at the same time.
Lastly, then take time to show them how to play that for themselves before the next step of putting that new skill in context.
As for your point about people leaving without saying why, I'm afraid that isn't in most people's nature - if they're not able to say 'whoa, slow down' in the instructional phase then they are likely not to be able to confront you at the end.
Personally, as we are not teaching here, I like a variety of posts from a variety of posters and admire your enthusiasm and knowledge.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: george garside on April 11, 2019, 01:40:01 PM
As a teacher I still make many mistakes but can offer this advice, Gena, only because you ask.
Firstly, on the page, you use long sentences and long paragraphs. This won't give you a chance to observe if you have said something over their heads (assuming you talk in the same way).
Secondly, I'd suggest demonstrating as you use a term; so if you're talking about a descending bass line then play it at the same time.
Lastly, then take time to show them how to play that for themselves before the next step of putting that new skill in context.



seconded!

george
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on June 03, 2019, 12:00:34 PM
Hello everyone! After a 2 month hiatus, I'm back! In tonight's Q&A I want to focus on mental health and music. Got a story to share? Ask me anything about my own journey - I'm an open book! Tonight at 7pm over on my YouTube channel (or catch up later)

Find me here: https://youtu.be/4OQqtYcJN34
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 07, 2019, 08:38:46 AM
Hello everyone! After a 2 month hiatus, I'm back!

My apologies for forsaking you - I saw your posts to say that the Q/A was coming, but, actually posting a question got away from me. However, it was quite elucidating to listen to some of your story & adventures in this area. Thank you for sharing it.

I've also found that I have the capacity to turn my intensity inwards, against myself. My intensity rating could be described as 'the burning fury of a thousand suns', so, that can be a bad thing. I also find the social aspects of being in folk music taxing - the same part of me that likes to rewrite emails & posts and curate them for hours on end also likes to try to (fruitlessly) see if it can try rewriting, rearranging or reword my actions during past conversations or events that went sour to try and find some more favourable outcome, which can leave me feeling stuck in that (usually uncomfortable) situation, replaying it over and over in my head. Past me, who was well known for interacting with approximately zero people, ever, had significantly fewer social interactions & situations of being relied upon to obsess over. Also, I'm pretty sure that ruminating on things in this way has literally never been helpful.

It seems my ethos as a person, a software developer and a musician, is to take intellectual or system based problems and simply gaze upon them per the eye of sauron until my terrible, indomitable will renders them to ash. I have found that it is very effective - things seem to be going well for me in these fields and people compliment me on the things I have done. Despite being passionate about them, building things, nurturing ideas and being involved in society comes less easily to me, and I often find I'm chasing the next thing I could be disintegrating instead, while forgetting to do things like eg adequately express kindness, and end up feeling distraught when I realise my missteps after the fact.

I guess the reality is that I didn't really have a question and I just thought about writing the above because of the content of your stream. Strangely (or not), having written this is less about actually posting it for others to see it, and more about feeling like I've adequately written down the thing that I'd wanted to - another dusty victory, I suppose.

Here is, however, a question for the future: Do you do anything, or have a routine you like to use, to prepare for performances/gigs? Have you ever shown up and just... forgotten to bring your melodeon? I managed to forget mine going to practice once.

I sometimes go to my local folk club, and I really do like to practice right up until it's my turn to do something; during the breaks I find I can mime the feeling of opening and closing the bellows pretty effectively even with the bellows fasteners clipped, and effectively play the tune by feel & in my head. But, I do wonder if I'd be better off focusing on staying calm, though.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: malcolmbebb on June 07, 2019, 09:27:44 AM
But, I do wonder if I'd be better off focusing on staying calm, though.

That is a skill, and you can learn it. Some people don't need to, sometimes I envy them, sometimes I don't.
People sometimes remark on how cool and calm I can remain, but it really isn't how I am naturally. I am not naturally confident, and I have to work at it.
The first thing is to recognise the rising swell of terror and despair (!) and identify it. That, for me, is the first step to separating myself from it, and once I can separate myself from it I can analyse and manage it. And once I can manage it, I can maintain a calm exterior on one level which helps to suppress the panic on another.
I know I'm not the only one who has to do this, but that's how it works for me.

And yes, I also tend to endlessly go over what went wrong and try to rationalise it. Again, for me, the trick is to admit to myself that I'm doing it and from there I can take steps to stop doing it - it's usually futile and at best unconstructive. But still hard to stop doing it, I have to go and find something that takes my full concentration for some time. Belting out a few favourite tunes can help.
It works also, for me, for depression. Tiredness is a depression trigger for me. The first step is to spot it happening. Once I recognise it's happening, I can analyse the reasons and that helps to stop me disappearing into the vortex.
Just wish I'd discovered the trick much sooner.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: nigelr on June 07, 2019, 10:46:56 AM
Here is, however, a question for the future: Do you do anything, or have a routine you like to use, to prepare for performances/gigs? Have you ever shown up and just... forgotten to bring your melodeon? I managed to forget mine going to practice once.

I sometimes go to my local folk club, and I really do like to practice right up until it's my turn to do something; during the breaks I find I can mime the feeling of opening and closing the bellows pretty effectively even with the bellows fasteners clipped, and effectively play the tune by feel & in my head. But, I do wonder if I'd be better off focusing on staying calm, though.

I can highly recommend this book, http://theinnergame.com/inner-game-books/inner-game-of-music/, applying sports psychology principles to music.  I have found the exercises very useful in helping quell anxiety and panic before and during playing in front of an audience.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on June 30, 2019, 09:00:14 PM
Hi all! Get your chat on tomorrow night over on my YouTube channel for my Live Q&A. This one I'd like to focus on performance tactics.

Hear what I've discovered (and am still learning!) and if you've got any tips and tricks for how to give the best performance then please come and join in!

7-8pm BST

https://youtu.be/VtD05RvsKuw
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on July 01, 2019, 08:20:06 PM
Well that was a bloody BRILLIANT #AskMelonBox live Q&A! I could've carried on for ages talking about performance and self management - some really great comments and conversation too! Thanks to everyone who tuned in.

You can watch again here:
https://youtu.be/VtD05RvsKuw

PS Gena - I promise to get back to your longer post above - it's a really interesting one but has taken a bit of time to think over/forget/think over it again!! xx
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on September 02, 2019, 08:04:32 AM
I'm back in the Q&A seat tonight!

Catch #AskMelonBox over on YouTube tonight from 7pm for a Summer catch up and Autumn update:

https://youtu.be/FkKUdq_c_lQ
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on September 02, 2019, 02:52:43 PM
Hello Mel, here is a question for you to consider.

Timbre! Do you find that you listen to melodeon-related recordings sometimes almost because of the sound of the instrument being played? Do you find yourself sometimes listening to recordings of yourself, or, enjoy other people playing your instrument/s?

(My husband mentioned he thought it was a bit weird that sometimes I'll watch back a recording I've made - I thought, well, yeah, of course, I play the type of music I like to hear! But I also realised I enjoy when other people play my melodeons, too, and since I can only practice so much in a day without being unfair to my neighbours, it gives me a chance to listen to the instruments I own. But, maybe he's right and I am weird!)
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on September 02, 2019, 07:15:37 PM
Due to Mel not being able to see chat:

My summer went well: I escaped without getting sun burn so it was a good summer.

Thank you for talking about the 22nd button, I was quite interested! Honestly I think every instrument should have an extra button, since if you can fit 11 reeds worth on one row surely you should be able to fit 11 reeds on the other one, too. I think having the inside row accidental doubled would be a very useful addition.

It seems like a very nice instrument, although, it's tough over the stream. You seem very enthused, so, it must be good!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Steve_freereeder on September 02, 2019, 07:37:42 PM
Honestly I think every instrument should have an extra button, since if you can fit 11 reeds worth on one row surely you should be able to fit 11 reeds on the other one, too. I think having the inside row accidental doubled would be a very useful addition.
This is how the Castagnari 1914 11+10+2 configuration works. Although the accidental buttons are on the two-button half-row, the reeds activated by those buttons are mounted on the main reed blocks; there is not an additional short reed block just for the two-button half-row.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Jackie Burnham on September 02, 2019, 08:05:11 PM
Hi Mel!
Jackie from Norwich
Loved the new tune
Is Newmarket definitely on?!
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Jackie Burnham on September 02, 2019, 08:06:57 PM
Hi Mel! Loved the new tune!
And the new Hohner.
Is Newmarket definitely on?
Alex thought not so on Saturday. Has this changed?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on September 03, 2019, 01:03:35 AM
One of the subjects Mel talked about this month was microphones, and Nigelr asked for advice using his H4n, as he's getting recordings which are either too quiet, or, too distorted. I use a similar but not nearly as cool h2n.

Mel gave some really good advice about how to use the device effectively, which I fully agree with:

(in the world of audio, 0dB is generally line level / the loudest value you expect to capture, and then everything is -ve below that point)

I'm usually very conservative with my gain. Our goal with this device really is to get a useful recording of the audio, without accidentally including problems that we can not fix. This is a really nice microphone, and it can really capture a lot of fine details, especially in a quiet room. If needed, it is able to record audio at a 24 bit depth - while most finished audio you listen to is 16 bit, and truthfully it's basically impossible for humans to notice or benefit from 24 bit final audio, these additional bits allow the device to record even more fine detail of quieter sounds. This gives you a surprisingly big 'butter zone', allowing you to capture a good impression with your device's gain set conservatively and safely in a place where you can be confident the signal won't 'clip', which is I think what would be causing your distortion problems? Where the recorded signal has enough gain applied to it that it is louder than the loudest value the device can convey (0dB) then, it clips against that maximum, but we don't know if it was 1.1x times too loud, or, 1.6x times too loud - the data is lost forever and not recoverable. So, you really want to avoid clipping. Even at 16 bits, you may be surprised by what you can 'fix in post'.

Otherwise, perhaps because this is a stereo mic, if the recording cardioid is wide, I sometimes find I pick up a weird phasing effect due to sound reflections off of walls if I'm not careful. For the H2n, I use the 'XY' recording mode, so I'd assume that for the h4n, it's the 90 degree setting. With the distance, I find that I don't really want a strong stereo separation, where it sounds like the two ends are really far apart, and, this tends to give a good impression of the listeners experience without adding any more unusual factors which some mic setups seem to imbue - it just seems to sound more natural to my ear. When you move the mic further away, you'll hear less of the instrument itself, and more of the sounds that the instrument puts into 'the room'. So, if you consider the environment a favourable addition to the performance, then, maybe more distance is better, but my recording area is full of clutter so I try to keep it to a minimum.

Generally I would say you can expect to need to run your audio through an audio editor, though, just to edit it and amplify it to best fit the levels people & the codecs would expect it to be at - the 'butter zone' for final, produced audio is smaller, especially if you're putting your audio on eg youtube or elsewhere. Is this something you've looked into doing? I've attached an image of a recording I have. The waveform on top, it seems like it would be far too quiet to be usable - I was able to amplify it by 20dB before it got close to clipping. That works out to, I think, being perceived as 10 times louder? And: it sounds fine. I'm wasting about 3 bits of my bit depth, but even for this (I think) 16 bit recording, only having 13 bits being useful was completely fine. I always make sure to snip off the start and end of a recording off, or really, remove the areas where I'm handling the microphone. These generally add really loud clunking sounds and often interfere with normalisation (the process of amplifying the entire track up evenly so the loudest point in the track is the loudest possible value). But they also sound bad.

Rather than write this big post, I probably should have asked for more information about the problems Nigel's been having. Can you elaborate on what kind of problems you've been having?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: nigelr on September 03, 2019, 08:35:33 AM
Hi Gena.  Many thanks for that.  The main problems I've had are either clipping/distortion or recording volume that is too low and gives an unacceptable (to me) background hiss when amplified.  I have tried both Audacity and Cubasis for editing.  I've tried a broad range of settings recording in the same room in the same position as well as trying different rooms and distances.  I suspect I have been impatient and not methodical enough to find something that works.  I plan to revisit with the advice above and see if I can find a happy medium.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on September 03, 2019, 12:58:42 PM
The main problems I've had are either clipping/distortion or recording volume that is too low and gives an unacceptable (to me) background hiss when amplified.

Hmm, that's interesting & peculiar! It sounds like you're on the right track, but the level of hiss seems unusual to me. May I ask for a bit more detail about how are you using the device? Are you using on it's own, or via eg USB into a computer or into a camera etc, and, are you running it via a plug in power supply or via batteries?

I use the h2n via batteries, in a room with no computers etc in it, and the noise level is really very low, and honestly I would expect even better performance from the h4n. My gain was apparently set to '6', and from my recent morpeth rant recordings, and the background hiss after I finished playing needs to be amplified by something like 40dB to be comparably loud (which is pretty good). Sometimes that level is a bit higher, but in those situations I have grown to prefer 'silencing' the before and after sections of the audio, rather than attempting to use noise removal tools from the whole track.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: nigelr on September 03, 2019, 03:43:07 PM
Hmm, that's interesting & peculiar! It sounds like you're on the right track, but the level of hiss seems unusual to me. May I ask for a bit more detail about how are you using the device? Are you using on it's own, or via eg USB into a computer or into a camera etc, and, are you running it via a plug in power supply or via batteries?
I've tried two main approaches - standalone with batteries or as a USB audio interface into my laptop, with the USB providing the power.  I haven't tried an external power supply or being in a room without a computer but my laptop is pretty much silent.  I'll let you and Mel know how I get on.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on October 01, 2019, 06:21:23 PM
Hi everyone, slight change for October's Q&A see below...

STOP PRESS! Chloë Mason (Alice Wheeldon's Great Granddaughter) is flying in from Australia to see Moirai's album launch THIS SATURDAY at Derby Folk Weekender (tickets available derbylive.co.uk).

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, she's graciously agreed to do a live Q&A discussion with us over on our YouTube channel! Save the date: October 7th 2019 7-8pm BST - (this will replace my monthly #AskMelonBox just for October)

We'd love you to be part of the discussion! This is your chance to ask us and Chloë questions relating to Alice Wheeldon, the case she's working on to clear Alice's name, and our album 'Framed: The Alice Wheeldon Story'. We'll post a link to the live feed closer to the time and you can submit your questions directly on the live feed.

Please donate to our Kickstarter to help us spread Alice's story - if we don't make our target, we get nothing!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alicewheeldonstory/framed-the-alice-wheeldon-story-help-us-spread-the-word
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on October 07, 2019, 03:41:30 PM
Remember: tonight's #AskMelonBox becomes #AskMoirai as I've given the time over to host a conversation with Chloë Mason - Alice Wheeldon's great granddaughter! You can still ask me questions about Melodeons though 😂

https://youtu.be/LgiPULagz_E
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on November 04, 2019, 09:34:01 AM
The return of #AskMelonBox TOMORROW (not tonight - I'm off to see Trio Dhoore!) over on my YouTube channel. I'll be awaiting your questions from 7pm.

Get your melodeon related questions ready - this month's theme:
PRACTICE SKILLS SPECIAL - tips and tricks on how to maximise your practice productivity!

Find the interactive stream live here: https://youtu.be/YJwIjF8Ec7k
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on January 06, 2020, 12:14:55 PM
#AskMelonBox is BACK! Come and join me tonight 7-8pm over on my YouTube channel and hear my exciting melodeon news and updates for 2020.

https://youtu.be/THTJpaa0V2w
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: Lyn on January 15, 2020, 12:43:55 PM
Hi Mel, I’ve been “ off box” for a couple of years but back now and re- finding my way round the Mel.net site.. forgotten how to post and even like posts, been on face book too long and away from here too long! 🤣 ( Its Lynne, from our summer house skyeping days) I love the idea of this, just missed this week’s but will try and catch up next week, what a great idea!
As a non note reader, just relying on cribbing the left hand chords in order to learn by ear, I’m having a bit of a problem re-learning all those really beautiful tunes I used to play pretty well. It’s been two years and even more since I played them! The old muscle memory is doing its best, and I have a lot of those tunes recorded one way or the other, and your own YouTube channel has been brilliant. Any other tips for getting back into the groove?
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-8pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on February 02, 2020, 05:04:15 PM
Hello all!

February live Q&A #AskMelonBox tomorrow at the new time of 7-7:30pm GMT over on my YouTube channel. I want to update you on what I shared last month (eek! Woo! Argh!!)

Follow this link for the feed: https://youtu.be/m3v8ypCwbyw

The old muscle memory is doing its best, and I have a lot of those tunes recorded one way or the other, and your own YouTube channel has been brilliant. Any other tips for getting back into the groove?

Hi Lynne and good to hear from you - I'm glad you found out how to log back in and start taking part on here again. I hope you find it helps get back into things :-) Great question, I'll have a go at answering it tomorrow night. You can watch live or anytime after via the link above. By the way, not forgotten you asked about melodeon lessons again - just waiting for your email with dates and availability! Would be great to see you again. mel@melbiggsmusic.co.uk
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-7:30pm GMT
Post by: Gena Crisman on February 03, 2020, 12:53:38 PM
Hi Mel,

I should make it to your youtube stream tonight (and 30 minutes is probably more digestible).

I wanted to mention; Patreon could be effective for you, but bear in mind that the site & the success stories you hear can also just be another wealth concentration thing - people who have existing, large followings to begin with are likely to succeed more readily. Remember to look at the failure stories & stats, too, and be mindful of setting yourself requirements/rewards/things you'll offer people that need a particular number of sponsors for it to be viable, or, on the other side of that, can't realistically work past a certain number of people. You know much better than I how large your following is, so should be able to figure out a sponsorship model that works best for you, but, beware of over stretching.

I was also going to note that doing an offline podcast, or some kind of audio-only-radio-show-stream type thing, might help with how the box playing (if it is your internet connection that's responsible for the issues (https://youtu.be/THTJpaa0V2w?t=2662)) comes across? Compared to your presumably offline created videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCpP0XEx8z4) with the same kit, the stream can actually be a bit tough to listen to(for me, anyway) - for voice it's fine, though. Also, with ref to struggling to obtain better equipment, IIRC you have an H4n audio recorder? This can be plugged into your computer and used as a USB microphone (Audio I/F, rather than SD card reader) and that should be sufficiently fantastic, but, given the comparison video there I assume that it's related to your internet, or your streaming settings.

At any rate, see you online later tonight.
Title: Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs 1st Mondays 7-7:30pm GMT
Post by: MelonBox on March 02, 2020, 11:49:38 AM
Join in the Q&A 'Ask Me Anything' edition this evening 7-7:30pm over on my YouTube channel.

Live @ 7pm: https://youtu.be/ilRKCRi7Ijo
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal