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Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: Chris Hurd on August 10, 2018, 08:57:48 PM

Title: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Chris Hurd on August 10, 2018, 08:57:48 PM
Good evening friends, just starting out on the journey of learning to play the melodeon, I have a DG and am keen to play english tunes to start with, are there any contacts in the Bristol. South Gloucs, Gloucs areas, either to join groups or able to teach, or any tips on starting would be welcome. Many Thanks. Chris
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: tom f on August 10, 2018, 09:37:44 PM
Hi Chris,
If you look under 'links' on the left hand side of the home page you will see a section for 'Teachers'.  Alternatively if you go to Wesson Accordion Company under the 'shops/repairers' link and look at the free noticeboard you'll find some more tuition links there.  Mel Biggs also runs a distance learning tuition site.  Hope this helps.   Enjoy the journey!
Best wishes
Tom
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on August 10, 2018, 10:35:18 PM
I have no doubt whatsoever that a good face to face teacher is the best way to start. Second best is a good online teacher, such as Mel Biggs. There isn't a good third best, really. Someone to check you out and make sure you're set up well is essential.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: MelonBox on August 11, 2018, 06:43:03 AM
Hi Chris! Check out my Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs: Let's Get Started online course. It has everything you need to get you playing your first tune confidently with both hands - and the best thing is it's all there ready and waiting for you when you sign up so you can work through it at your own pace. It's broken down into bite sized pieces so it can fit into even the busiest lifestyle!

Here's the link so you can read more about it: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/

I'm running a deal at the moment: 10% off your first month with code SUMMER10

If you've got any questions, drop me an email! puap@melbiggsmusic.co.uk

Many many thanks to those who've already mentioned my name. Every recommendation REALLY helps so keep spreading the word!

Hope to hear from you soon Chris!

Mel
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Geoff P. on August 11, 2018, 08:43:15 AM
I have no doubt whatsoever that a good face to face teacher is the best way to start. Second best is a good online teacher, such as Mel Biggs. There isn't a good third best, really. Someone to check you out and make sure you're set up well is essential.


Yes, but to get you going, or supplement a one-to-one teacher, there is lots of stuff on you-tube. e.g. Daddy Long Les "Learning to play the Melodeon" Blog, and many others. Also, there are books available, e.g Melodeon Tutor by Ed Rennie. Or, like me learn from other melodeon players at sessions and workshops, but it will take a lot longer!
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: heartshaped1 on August 11, 2018, 08:49:37 AM
Hi Chris, and welcome!

I entirely echo what’s been said so far, I started just over four years ago and for the first nine months sat at home with a book trying to learn. I did make progress but it was slow. I was fortunate enough to live in the same city as Steve Freereeder who very kindly offered lessons, and that’s when things really took off for me. He’s been fantastic not only in terms of encouraging and supporting the general direction my playing has headed in, but also offering other options and styles so my playing doesn’t become too ‘narrow’ if that makes sense. Unfortunately he is a bit far away for you, but someone similar would be a great help. I’ve not had a Skype lesson from Mel but have been in one of her sessions at Melodeons at  Wensleydale and she’s a superb teacher.

Last thing of note, I’ve found that some of the best players can be poor teachers and you don’t have to be the absolute best player to teach well, though I was very lucky to find the best of both with Steve.

Good luck on your melodeon journey, if you love it half as much as I have, it’ll be an absolute blast!

All the best,
Vicky.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on August 11, 2018, 09:13:14 AM
Oh!  :|bl
Thank you Vicky!
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on August 11, 2018, 09:27:58 AM
at the risk of indulging in a bit of 'thread drift'  I will , hopefully within the next 6 -8 weeks be moving from Anglesey to Southport  and will be able to offer friendly relaxed tuition  (one  row, DG and BC, BCC# , piano box and C sytem continental) in that and surrounding areas.

george

Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Dick Rees on August 11, 2018, 04:05:39 PM
The instrument is much easier to learn when you know the music.  Too often the instrument catches the blame when the reality is  the aspiring player is trying to learn both the instrument AND the tunes.
Even with a good teacher, things will fall into place better if you spend time LISTENING to the music and absorbing it.

I always say, "Listen until it's coming out your ears.  If it ain't coming out your ears, it ain't coming out your hands."

Good luck.  Enjoy the journey.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Helena Handcart on August 11, 2018, 06:12:35 PM
I have no doubt whatsoever that a good face to face teacher is the best way to start. Second best is a good online teacher, such as Mel Biggs. There isn't a good third best, really. Someone to check you out and make sure you're set up well is essential.

I'm not sure that's a helpful generalisation - that approach may work for you but people have different learning needs and learning styles which should be acknowledged. 

Personally I found Ed Rennie's tutor book to be an excellent starter. The beauty of Ed's system is in the colour and number coded notation which is designed to both get you started quickly and lead you to read music but also in the fact that the book includes a DVD alongside the usual CD and the DVD includes split-screen footage showing the left and right hands so you can both see and hear what your are supposed to be doing. 

For me, well the last thing I wanted was a teacher looking at what I was doing in the early months. As adults we are often not very good at not being very good at things - unlike children who approach new skills often without fear or embarrasment.  Frankly I would have been uncomfortable and embarrassed to have had a teacher (or even a member of my family) listening until I had at least figured out the basics for myself - and I now know from teaching Absolute Beginners at the original Melodeon Playgroup and from running a successful steady speedy session that I am not alone in feeling like this.

To the OP - hi Chris and welcome to the forum. You'll find pretty much everything you need here on melnet and there are many ways to begin your melodeon journey. If you are connected with a morris side then you'll probably already have a bunch of contacts. If you aren't then your local morris team is usually a good resource - go and see them, practice season is just around the corner and most sides are friendly and welcoming to apprentice musicians (although they will probably try and get you to dance).

Check out local teachers and definitely give Mel Biggs's website  (https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/teaching/)a look - I was her first Skype student longer ago that I care to recall and can recommend her lessons.  If you can, get along to the remaining summer festivals where you may even find beginners' workshops but will certainly find a range of tutor books. Music shops specialising in folkie stuff will also have the books - Hobgoblin have a Bristol branch I believe - should be some useful stuff there for you.  I can personally recommend Ed Rennie's (http://www.spinningpathmusic.co.uk/id17.html) 'Melodeon Tutor' book which got me off to a great start.  Also you may find a local 'steady speed' or BITS (beginners and improvers tune session) where you will be able to meet other learners and progress to joining in with a few tunes. If you are a Facebook user there is  a group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/502906953217878/) with information about these.  In short, there are many ways to start or progress your melodeon journey - good luck in finding the right path for you  :|||:
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on August 11, 2018, 06:34:45 PM
I have no doubt whatsoever that a good face to face teacher is the best way to start. Second best is a good online teacher, such as Mel Biggs. There isn't a good third best, really. Someone to check you out and make sure you're set up well is essential.

I'm not sure that's a helpful generalisation - that approach may work for you but people have different learning needs and learning styles which should be acknowledged. 

Personally I found Ed Rennie's tutor book to be an excellent starter.

There are, indeed, some excellent tutor books around and Eddie's is one of the best, I used them myself.

What I'm saying is that having a good tutor to get you started right makes an enormous difference. It wasn't until I went and had a few lessons with the lovely Pauline (aka Ganderbox, sometimes of this parish) that I actually got started properly. Only 4 or 5, but these made things so much easier.

She addressed things that no book could, because a book can't evaluate what you're doing and give you feedback.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on August 11, 2018, 07:39:21 PM
The instrument is much easier to learn when you know the music.  Too often the instrument catches the blame when the reality is  the aspiring player is trying to learn both the instrument AND the tunes.
Even with a good teacher, things will fall into place better if you spend time LISTENING to the music and absorbing it.

I always say, "Listen until it's coming out your ears.  If it ain't coming out your ears, it ain't coming out your hands."

Good luck.  Enjoy the journey.

Spot on!. This applies particularly to those playing by ear/from memory but is also helpful to dot readers new to the box.  I teach people how to play the box and use tunes  as a vehicle to do this rather than teaching tunes from scratch in the early stages.  I always stick to tunes that the student can either hum or whistle which can include things implelike the saints go marching in  , daisy daily etc  ,Blaydon races etc etc

Once they have got the hang of the basics of box playing i.e playing tunes they can hum or whistle  other tunes can be explored but most have a very large repertoire of humable/whistlable tunes to keep us going for quite some time.

In many way learning to play the box and learning tunes are  separate but complimentary skills.

george
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on August 12, 2018, 12:35:30 AM
George modestly didn't mention his excellent D/G Tutor, which I can thoroughly recommend. See the blurb below his post.

(Singed) A Satisfied Customer  :M :||: ;D
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Helena Handcart on August 12, 2018, 10:01:17 AM
I always stick to tunes that the student can either hum or whistle which can include things implelike the saints go marching in  , daisy daily etc  ,Blaydon races etc etc

I totally agree with the idea that the student should know the tune in their heads before attempting to get their fingers to play it but those tunes are exactly the kind of stuff I had no interest in playing and skipped over in search of 'proper', 'grown up' tunes.

These were tunes I played as a child, badly on various instruments so have an inevitable connection to childhood. As an adult learner I was already self-conscious enough without the added feeling of being sent back to childhood. I merrily skipped those tunes when learning the melodeon and now I've started on the anglo I am doing the same again - bypassing 'twinkle twinkle', 'oh susanna' and 'when the saints...' in a single turn of several pages  (:)

Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Chris Hurd on August 12, 2018, 01:05:39 PM
Thanks to all for the tips and advice, much appreciated, starting from scratch its really important for me to get the foundations correct, would love to be able to read music as well, not sure which way round i should approach that, learning to read music first or the instrument...or a combination of the two...or the music reading evolves from the instrument playing over a period of time, it seems there are no teachers in my area which is a shame, however i am planning to visit some local folk establishments ( pubs ), hopefully to meet some good local players, Thanks again, I'm excited to challenge myself and ultimately ( hopefully ) to make music which puts a smile on peoples faces as it did when i first heard melodeon music !!
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Helena Handcart on August 12, 2018, 01:36:06 PM
...would love to be able to read music as well, not sure which way round i should approach that, learning to read music first or the instrument...or a combination of the two...or the music reading evolves from the instrument playing over a period of time...

This is what happened to me.  I originally started by notating tunes using the tutor book notation but soon learned to recognise notes without their alloted colours and numbers and moved away to just reading the notes in time. Also using abc notation helped me make this transition as abc is designed to both display the tune as a score and play the tune so it helps whether your learn from dots, by ear or like me using a combination of both. There are lots of abc resources on this forum if you want to look at this further.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Anahata on August 12, 2018, 02:05:44 PM
I think it's much better to learn to read music by 'hearing' the music in your head and then playing what you hear.
Apart from anything else, learning only to associate the position of a blob on the stave with a button/row/bellows direction combination means you have to start from scratch if you ever learn a new instrument (which includes singing at sight), or have to transpose something, or need to recognise a tune in print without actually playing it.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on August 12, 2018, 04:19:51 PM
I always stick to tunes that the student can either hum or whistle which can include things implelike the saints go marching in  , daisy daily etc  ,Blaydon races etc etc

I totally agree with the idea that the student should know the tune in their heads before attempting to get their fingers to play it but those tunes are exactly the kind of stuff I had no interest in playing and skipped over in search of 'proper', 'grown up' tunes.

These were tunes I played as a child, badly on various instruments so have an inevitable connection to childhood. As an adult learner I was already self-conscious enough without the added feeling of being sent back to childhood. I merrily skipped those tunes when learning the melodeon and now I've started on the anglo I am doing the same again - bypassing 'twinkle twinkle', 'oh susanna' and 'when the saints...' in a single turn of several pages  (:)

I agree that twinkle twinkle is not a tune or adults to start on  but when the saints is an adult tune that is easy for a beginner to get the hang of and swiftly getting the hang of a very easy tune  is important from the point of view of generating initial enthusiasm.   


  For; what its worth the tunes in my book are all fairly well known and humable by many would be players  which is important for the early stages of development  where interest is being kindled  and  feeling 'chuffed' is all important  - ''nothing suceeds like success''

The tunes are Oh dear what can the matter be ( a nice singly waltz), the Blaydon races (works well as a march, 2 step or jig), the keel row ( works well for border morris  and is a nice reel), The black velvet band ( another nice singy waltz that introduces using the E on the D row)  waters of tyne  ( a haunting slow air or song accompaniment introducing dynamics)  , Harvest Home ( a cracking  well known hornpipe that introduces some delicate bellwos work)  ,Winster Gallop ( because it is a very common session tune and a great reel and introduces phrasing),  Davy Nicknack ( only needs 6 different bars to play 16 bars therefore introducing the notion of looking carefully at repeated bars to make life easier!)  Winster gallop and oh dear what can the matter be are then revisited s vehiclesto develop decent 4\4 and 3/4bass rhythm. There are also a couple of 'spare' tunes Rattling Bgg and The dawning of the day included for students to have a go at.
.

george
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on August 12, 2018, 04:47:57 PM
I always stick to tunes that the student can either hum or whistle which can include things implelike the saints go marching in  , daisy daily etc  ,Blaydon races etc etc

I totally agree with the idea that the student should know the tune in their heads before attempting to get their fingers to play it but those tunes are exactly the kind of stuff I had no interest in playing and skipped over in search of 'proper', 'grown up' tunes.

These were tunes I played as a child, badly on various instruments so have an inevitable connection to childhood. As an adult learner I was already self-conscious enough without the added feeling of being sent back to childhood. I merrily skipped those tunes when learning the melodeon and now I've started on the anglo I am doing the same again - bypassing 'twinkle twinkle', 'oh susanna' and 'when the saints...' in a single turn of several pages  (:)

I agree that twinkle twinkle is not a tune or adults to start on...

Sorry to disagree, but I do use Twinkle Little Star for my absolute beginners workshops at Whitby or Mendlesham. I've never come across anyone who doesn't know it, so no music-reading skills required. It's short, uses just three fingers and immediately establishes the push-pull feel of the melodeon RH. It's also easy to put a basic oom-pah bass-chord accompaniment, so I get the students using both hands together from a very early stage.

We might not spend too long on the tune - perhaps 40 minutes or so - and then move on to my second tune: Frere Jacques, which offers slightly more challenges. In my experience, in a workshop lasting perhaps an hour and a half, most people get the idea of Twinkle LS and Frere J enough to be able to play them both reasonably well, using both hands. We've even been known to play Frere J as a two-part round.

Having possibly never picked up a melodeon before, they usually go away with a real sense of achievement and ready to move on to something more substantial in the next workshop.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: GPS on August 12, 2018, 08:08:43 PM
   Harvest Home ( a cracking  well known hornpipe that introduces some delicate bellwos work) .

george

Sorry to  disagree with you on this one, George, but "Harvest Home" is definitely not a beginner's tune; aside from the dynamics and timing needed to get the right lilt in the tune, the pedal note and the oodles of triplets in the B music are way out of the reach of a beginner (and of a good many players with a few years under their belts, in my experience!  Present company excepted, of course).

Graham
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: malcolmbebb on August 12, 2018, 08:29:15 PM
In my view the most important thing to remember is that everyone has a different way of learning, there is no "one size fits all".
If the book, method or tutor that you're using doesn't do it for you, don't give up but try something different.

And expect plateaux and times when you don't make any visible progress, whatever method you're using. They pass.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on August 13, 2018, 08:45:58 AM
I
And expect plateaux and times when you don't make any visible progress, whatever method you're using. They pass.

and sometimes you can go three steps forward and two steps back or even four steps back!  If this not uncommon occurance happens it can simply be down to trying to move forward more rapidly than you can! Which is probably something we have all done from time to time!

george
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Calum on August 21, 2018, 04:41:05 PM
An often expressed thought is that there are many different learning styles and no one right way and you should find what works for you, and so forth.

This is not *completely* untrue but the longer I teach music, the more I think it's an unhelpful idea.  We all have to learn the same skills and we all have to go through the same processes of building the connections between innate musical knowledge and mechanical capability.

I say this not to pick a fight, but because it's all to common to see beginners cast around for this or that silver bullet that will solves their problems and make everything work.  It's not like that.  Everything is difficult, until you put in hours of hard work and the difficulty goes away.  Nobody likes Twinkle Twinkle.  It's a means to an end.  If you don't understand what your book or teacher or DVD or Youtube video is telling you, break it down until you do.  99% of problems in playing music are because one finger isn't where it should be, or because the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time. 
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Winston Smith on August 21, 2018, 11:57:35 PM
"the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I think I've heard that before, but not in a musical context!
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Rob2Hook on August 22, 2018, 08:37:30 AM
I have no experience of teachers beyond a very occasional festival workshop.  However, the art of teaching at those seemed to be inversely proportional to the teacher's playing ability.  I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

I was lucky in my early days.  Firstly, someone lent me a (fully functional) box to try out.  Secondly, I had a soundproof room at work where I could make random noises during lunch til I figured out what was where.  I also had two local morris sides which at that time meant I had the opportunity to observe at least five competent (or better) players in action.  One of the sides actually wanted me to become a stand-in player for when the band was short, so their box players gave me the honest feedback and advice needed for me to correct any devious tendencies.

No dedicated teachers, no manuscripts, purely learning by ear - but I got all the elements one would hope for in a good teacher.  Having heard some horror stories of music teachers (mostly piano...), I come to the conclusion that you need all the above points covered and a sympathetic level of understanding with your teacher.  If anything is missing you need to find someone else to help you.  Don't forget that top-flight classical musicians will go to various teachers as they progress, perhaps ending up both giving and attending masterclasses.

Rob.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Eshed on August 22, 2018, 10:12:55 AM
"the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time."
I think I've heard that before, but not in a musical context!
Luckily, that can be solved by the Thinkpol, Winston  ;)
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Calum on August 22, 2018, 10:22:52 PM
I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

There's definitely an element of this...but I think for the most part the good player who is bad at teaching generally doesn't believe that it's his (usually his) job to understand *why* a student is bad and what, exactly, they need to do to be better.  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching.  Whereas in my teaching I take the opposite approach: if they can't do something it's my fault and I need to find a way to insert it into their heads, rather like the process of getting an unfeasibly large sofa up a narrow stairway. 
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on August 22, 2018, 11:47:50 PM
I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

There's definitely an element of this...but I think for the most part the good player who is bad at teaching generally doesn't believe that it's his (usually his)
job to understand *why* a student is bad and what, exactly, they need to do to be better.  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching. 
Whereas in my teaching I take the opposite approach: if they can't do something it's my fault and I need to find a way to insert it into their heads,
rather like the process of getting an unfeasibly large sofa up a narrow stairway.

Right said Fred (:)

I have only been to three musical workshops in my life and they were all taught by excellent teachers who were quick at making accurate and insightful assessments of their students needs.
The most recent was the Halsway Leveret weekend, where Rob, Andy and Sam [Edit: There were too many Robs]  were superb. I thought all workshops were that good. Have I just been lucky?
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Winston Smith on August 23, 2018, 12:42:15 AM
Judging by my skill level, I probably shouldn't be contributing to this thread, but seeing as it's never stopped me before; here goes!

I've had a couple of little lessons from well recommended and highly accomplished melodeon teachers, but didn't give them much of a chance to bray anything worthwhile into my thick skull. However, I've just returned from Whitby, where I attended Steve Dumpleton's beginners classes with a certain amount of success, Hallelujah! Mind you, he didn't try to teach us tunes which we might not have known already (except in our heads) or tunes which we possibly did not really like. Several little things have definitely stuck, plus, I really enjoyed the experience, thanks Steve.

But, to get back to the thread subject; in general it seems to me that a melodeon teacher teaches the pupil to play exactly the same as another pupil; press this and push, and then that and pull, so that we will all end up like clones of the teacher! I'm a non-conformist (note the lack of capitals, although they could have been in there as well!) in most circumstances, and that's possibly why I find being taught so difficult. I want to do things my own way; not Steve's or Vic's or even that of the lovely Mel. Is there something wrong with me? (That's rhetorical!)

I noticed in another thread that a question was being asked, and discussed, about displaying "grace notes" in written music (or ABC in that particular case, iirc). Aren't grace notes somewhat like a signature of the player, in that they've slid them in to suit their particular style, or on a whim, and to follow the player by adding his/her grace notes into a manuscript is just imitation, in the same way as copying a teacher? (I might be entirely wrong here, but that seems to be the way of it, to me!)

Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Lyra on August 23, 2018, 12:52:28 AM
{snip}  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching.
Have I just been lucky?
I think the folk world is blessed in that the geniuses actually do a lot of teaching whereas in (some) other genres, there's a "mainly do or mainly teach" split. Wild overgeneralisation obviously and probably a result of economic factors as much as anything but for once, benefits to us mortals.

Workshops/lessons I have had tend to cover two categories - technical (you might find it easier if you did this ...) and musical which haven't  (with one exception which annoyed the hell out of me but actually was because the tune was being used as a study to learn certain patterns and actually despite the moaning it did a power of good) been about parroting the teacher but more "I play it like this - have you tried..ooh ooh how about, ooh I've not thought of that before". And occasionally "honestly?, ummm, no"
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on August 23, 2018, 07:19:52 AM
...However, I've just returned from Whitby, where I attended Steve Dumpleton's beginners classes with a certain amount of success, Hallelujah! Mind you, he didn't try to teach us tunes which we might not have known already (except in our heads) or tunes which we possibly did not really like. Several little things have definitely stuck, plus, I really enjoyed the experience, thanks Steve.

Thanks, Edward! I'm glad you found the workshops useful and enjoyable (I always try my best to make sure they are both).

Quote
But, to get back to the thread subject; in general it seems to me that a melodeon teacher teaches the pupil to play exactly the same as another pupil; press this and push, and then that and pull, so that we will all end up like clones of the teacher! I'm a non-conformist (note the lack of capitals, although they could have been in there as well!) in most circumstances, and that's possibly why I find being taught so difficult. I want to do things my own way; not Steve's or Vic's or even that of the lovely Mel. Is there something wrong with me? (That's rhetorical!)

No - nothing wrong with you!

Hopefully, any good teacher will fully understand that their role is not to produce musical clones of themselves. What a good teacher should be aiming for is to provide students with a set of tools and the knowledge of how to use them, so that they can then go on to develop their own individual creative processes.

Without a teacher, it would still be possible to do this, but there might be a few false starts or blind alleys along the way. But I would guess that even the most ardent self-taught person has been influenced by at least one role model person at some stage.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on August 23, 2018, 09:20:43 AM
.
 Hopefully, any good teacher will fully understand that their role is not to produce musical clones of themselves. What a good teacher should be aiming for is to provide students with a set of tools and the knowledge of how to use them, so that they can then go on to develop their own individual creative processes.

 

I totally agree.  Before i take on a new ' student' ( or a new 'student' takes on me)  I  offer an ( free of charge) introductory meeting  so we can discuss aims and goals etc in detail and how I suggest we achieve them explaining my strenghts and limitations (eg I am a mainly by ear player and not a good reader etc). Perhaps even more importantly this gives us both the opportunity to sort of 'click'   . At the end of this informal meeting I suggest the 'student' thinks about it and phones me if he/she wants me to teach them  .


If I don't hear from them I take it that  we havn't clicked.  Also on very rare occasions after the initial meeting I say that I am probably not the right bloke to  provide  you with lessosns or something on those lines.   


This has worked well for many years  and gives us both the opportunity to back off without loss of face, reputation or whatever,


george
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Andy Next Tune on August 23, 2018, 02:10:25 PM
Having attended many workshops at Witney, Mendlesham and elsewhere with a diverse variety of tutors, I can only remember one or two where the tutor really wanted to teach their way of playing a tune. The rest were encouraging the attendees to learn the appropriate building blocks of the technique, tune style, repertoire etc. in a very consultative and knowledge sharing way. One of the joys of our instrument is that there are always multiple ways to play something!

I only have experience of working with one instrument teacher, and that's Mel. That's been a very consultative and supportive experience helping me to work towards and occasionally reach my goals. I suspect this is a very different approach to the teaching of instruments when it is focused on getting through the syllabus of XYZ Exam Board, whether that is classical-focused or a taught-tradition such as ITM. I found Mel helped me to move out of my playing comfort zone, introduced me to some great new tunes and gave me the tools and confidence to attack those nightmare tunes at the dusty end of my wishlist.

I think you can achieve a certain playing level using instruction books and online resources, a good melodeon teacher can help you to find the keys to unlock the next levels should you wish to go there.
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Maggie on September 14, 2018, 10:41:14 PM
For me, finding a good teacher has made an enormous difference to my learning curve.  She (Anne Rivaud) is an excellent teacher and working with her has kept me motivated and making progress.  Yes, it is quite expensive so I have had to give up some other ‘luxuries’ to keep finding the 20+ euros per lesson - worth every cent for me!
Maggie  :|||:
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Pete Dunk on September 15, 2018, 12:23:01 AM
I noticed in another thread that a question was being asked, and discussed, about displaying "grace notes" in written music (or ABC in that particular case, iirc). Aren't grace notes somewhat like a signature of the player, in that they've slid them in to suit their particular style, or on a whim, and to follow the player by adding his/her grace notes into a manuscript is just imitation, in the same way as copying a teacher? (I might be entirely wrong here, but that seems to be the way of it, to me!)

That's a tough question to answer because it depends on the circumstances and the type of music in question. In general terms if we are talking about folk tunes then grace notes, other decorations and general dynamics should be taken with a pinch of salt or ignored entirely unless you want to learn the basics of a particular style of playing. Other disciplines may require you to play the music as written in order to assess your progress, ABRSM grade exams immediately spring to mind.

Bagpipe music, particularly GHP and Northumbrian Piper's Society require you to play music as written in order to enter into competitions, there has to be a level playing field for all competitors. Once you've done your apprenticeship you are free to do your own thing of course. ;) Classical music at a professional standard is at yet another level however . . .
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: george garside on September 15, 2018, 08:29:08 AM
The question of 'grace notes' is indeed very interesting and with the exeptions  of playing  as per the dots for exams or in a classical group, orchestra or whatever is very much down to the individual player , or in a ceilidh  or morris band up to the band leader  and hopefully some democratic agreement on how each tune is to be played and what each instrument is going to contribute to a , hopefuly, harmonious whole!


My personal feeling is that , whilst carefully chosen   grace notes selectively used, can  on occasions enhance a tune  it is generally best to 'keep it simple'. The basic , but sadly often forgotten  RPD  ( rhythm, phrasing and dynamics)  will add far more to the efficacy of either a 'listening to' or dance tune than will plastering it with grace notes just because you can and indeed overdoing the grace notes can actualy detract from the essential RPD.



also freelancing with grace notes by individual band members can cock up the danceability of a tune.


I am not anti grace notes in any way  and  I try to use the built in free of charge grace notes that are part and parcel of a diatonic box  eg a quick 'back flick' to bring in a touch of the note on the 'other side of a button,  and using a spare finger to add a bit of extra treble rhythm.  I also sometines, selectively, use a very fine underlying pulsing of the bellwos  which  is like a very refined 'back flick' that just brings in a minute touch of whats on the other side of a button for a few bars


used very selectively grace notes can add a great deal to a tune  but can also easily bugger it up"!


george
Title: Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
Post by: Winston Smith on September 15, 2018, 08:48:04 AM
Thank you to Mssrs Dunk and Garside for their input on grace notes. (Always helpful.)