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Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: Helena Handcart on January 26, 2020, 10:17:55 AM

Title: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on January 26, 2020, 10:17:55 AM
Fellow melnutters,

I'm in the process of reviewing and updating my tutor material in preparation for Melodeon Playgroup in a couple of weeks. This, along with conversations with members of my steady-speed group recently have got me thinking about different learning styles.

I've been thinking back to when I first started playing and the things I wish I'd known/been told/listened to back then. So I was wondering, what are the thing that you wish you'd been told or tried early on in the melodeon journey?  Alternatively what where the penny-dropping moments when stuff just clicked for you in your early playing days?

TIA my dears.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Graham Wood on January 26, 2020, 10:37:19 AM
I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Squeaky Pete on January 26, 2020, 10:42:36 AM
The first time I played a tune without running out of air.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on January 26, 2020, 10:55:22 AM
I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

That's really useful Graham - that is mentioned in my 'what is a melodeon' introductory notes but I may revisit how I approach it in the light of your post.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on January 26, 2020, 11:06:43 AM
I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

I remember a similar moment, associated with the opening bars of The Abbess, accompanied by realising that the note could, then, be accompanied by a change in the harmony.

Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Graham Wood on January 26, 2020, 11:11:37 AM
I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

I remember a similar moment, associated with the opening bars of The Abbess, accompanied by realising that the note could, then, be accompanied by a change in the harmony.

Yes I think the knowledge that these notes exist is good, but learning how to exploit them with different basses, air management, fingering and style is better. Haven't quite mastered that bit yet.....lol
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: MikeK on January 26, 2020, 12:02:10 PM
When I realised I could play tunes using both rows. Previously, I was transposing everything to the key of G.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Julian S on January 26, 2020, 12:26:00 PM
Thinking back, I now realise that I never asked anyone 'how do I play this ******* instrument (or tune)? '- I learned by listening to lots of tunes from all over the place and working them out. So my best advice, never be afraid to ask other musicians but be prepared to challenge or ignore their views ! And the more listening the better.

Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.

Julian
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 26, 2020, 12:43:11 PM
Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.
Julian's experience is similar to mine.

Previously having only played up-and-down the rows on a D/G box with much bellows waggling, I went to see Andy Cutting and Chris Wood play at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in about 1991. I watched Andy play lovely music using smooth bellows action and hardly a waggle to be seen. I thought to myself: 'what is he doing? how is he doing that?. It was the first time I'd ever encountered anyone using cross-row technique, and it turned my own playing round forever. Thanks, Andy! :|glug
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: george garside on January 26, 2020, 12:44:49 PM
when I started a long time ago as a teenager  you were virtualy 'on your own'  unless you knew another melodeon player, which I didn't.  My lightbulb moment was getting a recognisable tune out of the thing which I did my treating it as a hand operated mouthie.   

george
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: george garside on January 26, 2020, 12:47:09 PM
Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.
Julian's experience is similar to mine.

Previously having only played up-and-down the rows on a D/G box with much bellows waggling, I went to see Andy Cutting and Chris Wood play at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in about 1991. I watched Andy play lovely music using smooth bellows action and hardly a waggle to be seen. I thought to myself: 'what is he doing? how is he doing that?. It was the first time I'd ever encountered anyone using cross-row technique, and it turned my own playing round forever. Thanks, Andy! :|glug
 

Tony Hall did much the same for me

george
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Graham Wood on January 26, 2020, 12:52:53 PM
Another 'a-ha' moment was realising that all the bass/chords on left hand correspond with the inner row and not the outer row. I was trying to learn the jigs on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmE6rFDW1vs and realised he was playing everything on the outer row with bass and chords on a B/C box. It transpires that he is using a B/C box with an old bass system that is aligned to the outer row. But it certainly had me scratching my head for a while. I can transfer what he's doing to the inner row but obviously it's in a different key.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 26, 2020, 12:58:02 PM
My wife took my daughters and Breton friend to London for the day.
I dug out my youngest's notes from her Chippenham festival workshop with Ed Rennie, picked up my friend's cheap starter melodeon and set to it determined to work out if there was any hope one way or the other on this infernal contraption.
Could both hands work together?
What is this bass thing?

They returned in the evening to find me with a blinding headache and sore arms after 7-8 hours of bashing away and the thought implanted 'I might be able to do this. ..'
Lightbulb moment or the start of my downfall?
You choose  ;)
Q
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on January 26, 2020, 01:03:47 PM
Learning to play 7/8 of a scale in the left hand.  No F#, but you can live with that.  And combining basses and non-adjacent chords to get Bmin7th etc.  Also the various options on chin end notes, Anahata layout , accidentals etc.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on January 26, 2020, 01:04:30 PM
I dug out my youngest's notes from her Chippenham festival workshop with Ed Rennie, picked up my friend's cheap starter melodeon and set to it determined to work out if there was any hope one way or the other on this infernal contraption.

...Lightbulb moment or the start of my downfall?
You choose  ;)


That Mr Rennie has much answer for, I had a starter melodeon for a few months and several tutor books which ranged from incomprehensible to downright off-putting. Then I went to his beginner sessions in Sidmouth, bought the book and never really looked back.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on January 26, 2020, 01:05:42 PM
  No F#, but you can live with that. 

No F#? But surely you now have every conceivable option under the sun on that infernal machine you've switched to  >:E
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Little Eggy on January 26, 2020, 01:13:20 PM
Things I wish I’d known at the start :-
1. Try lots of boxes ‘TIL you find one that ‘fits’ your hands and fingers.
2.  Mally is dead right to emphasise the central importance of practise.
3.  There are millions of tunes out there.  Don’t bother with those you don’t like.
4.  You tube has a brilliant device for slowing down a tune without changing the notes.
5.  Try to practice with the same concentration as if you’re performing.
6.  (From Mel Biggs). Learn to isolate bars or short sections to practice them.
7.   Music is wonderful- play it with delight and enjoyment.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on January 26, 2020, 01:28:39 PM
  No F#, but you can live with that. 

No F#? But surely you now have every conceivable option under the sun on that infernal machine you've switched to  >:E

Indeed.  I play, or should that be, attempt to play, many instruments.  Each has its advantages, and disadvantages.  Horses, courses etc.😁
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 26, 2020, 01:29:43 PM
Yes Helena, he does!

After my downfall:
1. Pick up, fondle, squeeze as many boxes as possible.
I discovered one will feel right, even though I couldn't play a note!

2. Download two copies of the DG layout from Melnet, arm yourself with two coloured pencils and colour away. One showing notes on the pull, the other on the push.

3. Make tea.
When tea is drunk or cold, stop practicing and take a break. Better to have several practice periods throughout a day than one long session.

4. Keep bashing away, both hands right at the start
Don't be tempted to just play melody. Keep at it, the door will open!
Q
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Geoff P. on January 26, 2020, 02:30:47 PM
Learn the bass/chords at the same time as the melody, as they define the direction of the bellows for each melody note.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: arty on January 26, 2020, 02:53:42 PM
“that a-ha moment”.....I’m still waiting for mine!

But wait....It is the most illogical, silly, annoying, mad instrument that you could possibly play but, it is also the most satisfying, wonderful instrument.
I think  ???
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Grumpy on January 26, 2020, 03:17:23 PM
Light Bulb Moment, Finding I had no musical ability what-so-ever and then realising that the melodeon was the ideal way of expressing this. However still find melodeon fun and will continue dispite family comments.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Stiamh - away for the summer on January 26, 2020, 03:19:10 PM
Light Bulb Moment, Finding I had no musical ability what-so-ever and then realising that the melodeon was the ideal way of expressing this.

Brilliant! And so say all of us...
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on January 26, 2020, 03:47:15 PM
Several from me:
1 no question is too stupid to ask - and if people imply that it is then ask someone with more patience or alertness.
2 Practise away from tunes - it takes the pressure off if you are just working at a physical movement and a brain issue rather than spoiling a tune you like.
3 This is so blooming obvious, but not the way I started playing: the chord 1 notes are all on the push with no wrong notes possible (no gap), the minor key starting on the second note of the row scale has all the chord 1 notes on the pull (but has an important gap / wrong note pitfall). Pretty much everything else is a blend, but know those home notes makes melody playing from music much more straight forward.
4 The importance of hearing where the B and C# are in the D scale as those are the notes that flip the bellows direction. If you can hear those in a segment in the tune then it is a big help.
5 Octaves are a different spacing on the push and the pull - easy enough to practise switching between the 2.

I suspect it's numbers 3, 4 and 5 that you are after, rather than tips on how to practise.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Eshed on January 26, 2020, 04:39:28 PM
The right hand drives the rhythm as much as the left hand if not more.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Graham Wood on January 26, 2020, 04:45:56 PM
Light Bulb Moment, Finding I had no musical ability what-so-ever and then realising that the melodeon was the ideal way of expressing this. However still find melodeon fun and will continue dispite family comments.

Love it....lol. My rendition of 'Braes of Elchies' sounds more like a Braying Elk according to my wife. Obviously room for improvement.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Jesse Smith on January 26, 2020, 05:55:06 PM
Well, I have only been playing for about two years so I still feel like I am "at the start", but here a few things I have learned that felt important to me:

Listen to the kind of music you want to play a lot. Sing or whistle the tunes to yourself a lot. You will internalize the dynamics and rhythms of the genre much deeper this way than any intellectualizing of the music can do.

Audio software like Audacity can slow down a tune without changing the pitch. Slowing it down to 50% makes it much easier to figure out fast ornaments, and to hear the bass and chords being used. You can also fiddle with the equalizer settings to bring the bass side forward and make it easier to pick out.

Remember that sheet music or ABC for a folk tune only represents the bare skeleton of the tune, and don't be afraid to add your own ornaments and dynamics and variations.

Regardless of what the sheet music or tablature says, find the pulse of the music and transmit it with the bellows. If you're holding a half note (er, minim) don't just play at a constant pressure for the full duration of the note. Pulse the bellows on the beat into order to keep the rhythm of the music alive.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on January 26, 2020, 06:16:44 PM
A key moment was realising that Em tunes are best based on the D row, not the G row. Seems so obvious, now, but, it was far from it when I started.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Theo on January 26, 2020, 06:19:43 PM
My a-ha moment was the very first time I had a box in my hands and discovered that it seemed to be alive and breathing when I tried to play it.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Gena Crisman on January 26, 2020, 06:41:18 PM
Something that helped me was thinking of D and G being on the instrument not just as 'the keys that we play in' but also because, musically they are (almost) the opposite of one another. The two keys have a lot of notes in common, and, many of them found in the opposite direction, not just by accident - there is a system, and you can learn it.

I find that concept to be most helpful, placing it on to of the ideas of 'you play Em on the draw on the outside' and 'you can find some reversals on the other row'.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Howard Jones on January 26, 2020, 07:52:45 PM
Attending a workshop by Roger Watson who insisted that we should think of it as a single instrument, not as a D row and a G row, and who first showed me the possibilities of cross-row left-hand chording.

Not melodeon-specific, but when isolating a tricky section of tune to practice include a bar or two before, and a bar or two after it.  The tricky bit doesn't exist in isolation, you need to think how you lead into it and out of it.  You may find how you play the tricky bit alters how you play the easier stuff on either side of it, so your fingers and bellows are where they need to be.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: smiley on January 26, 2020, 09:52:10 PM
I remember an "uh-oh" moment that turned into an "a-ha".

Turned up to play a gig with my regular bush band only to discover I'd brought the C/F box instead of my usual D/G.
The show must go on, so for all the tunes in D and G I just concentrated on avoiding bum notes and found some useful things about the diatonic box in the process:

1. lots of tunes in G major can be played on a C row  [A major on a D row]

2. some D major tunes can be faked on a C/F box, especially if you have the F# accidental on the chin end. [E major on a D row]

3. a diatonic button box offers a whole lot of extra possibilities if you get out of your comfort zone.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Peadar on January 26, 2020, 10:20:19 PM
The first time that, as I was trying to feel my through a tune,  Deo began scratching at the living room door to get IN.

And the realisation (with a 1040/G) that you can play a lot of tunes in D if you are willing to go into the upper octave of the G row.

The big thing for me was the sheer thrill of being able to get a tune out of the box. And realising that you can get by with just 2 bass buttons.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: gmatkin on January 27, 2020, 12:51:39 PM
Mine came in the 1980s or maybe late 1970s, so predated my melodeon playing... But it was very much melodeon related.

I was at a festival workshop with Roger Watson, who was talking box playing. I was there because I admired his melodeon playing and because I thought there might be something for a duet concertina and guitar player to learn.

It turned out I was right. I asked how he approached the job of arranging and he explained that his method was to find a bass line (using any of the available notes) that worked with whatever tune he was working on, and to then find chords that worked with both.

Obviously for him that meant crossing rows, and it also meant using minor 7ths.

That was quite a moment for my younger self. Of course I now realise that (usually brief) clashing harmonies can work also, but his method is still one use a lot.

Gavin
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Andy Next Tune on January 27, 2020, 01:37:55 PM
A very early one - realising my breathing was in sync with the bellows movements when playing simple tunes, and working to breathe normally. Still find myself holding my breath when learning tricky sequences though!

Further along the journey - 3 chord trick for G row is G, C, D - that's simple, Left Hand follows the Right. For D row it is D, G!, A - and that requires work! Playing that LH G chord usually requires row change on the Right to get those bellows going in the right direction! Similarly you'll often need the A from the G row to go with that nice A bass and chord.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Dick Sadler on January 27, 2020, 03:17:53 PM
Don’t stay at home playing with yourself, find a Session. Preferably a Slow Session. You will be welcomed, they will make allowances, you will have an enjoyable time and learn to notice the playing of others, the tempo and if you don’t you will soon be reminded! Recommended.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Stockaryd on January 27, 2020, 03:45:16 PM


Did not like accordions.  (Sorry)

But one day I sat with a toy melodeon and realized that you could use the air button and start with the bellows extended. THAT  was my moment. 

I've been playing ever since.

(Still don't like accordions.)


Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Lin Leighton on January 27, 2020, 04:27:56 PM
as a beginner, do go to a session - but only go to one at first, so you can learn the tunes they play there, otherwise you will be daunted by the number of different tunes played at different sessions  :||:
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: RogerT on January 27, 2020, 05:29:24 PM
Realising that cross row playing is just another way to play, and that there are a lot of runs that work in one bellows direction, especially pulling G F# and that pesky pull E and, on a lot of boxes, finding a pull D on the G row. Also the pull G row A and then over to the D row to pull B, C# (and the pull E F# d row G). If you can learn those runs you can do them without waggling the bellows. So I wish I'd started learning that fingering earlier than I did.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on January 27, 2020, 05:31:25 PM
Realising that cross row playing is just another way to play, and that there are a lot of runs that work in one bellows direction, especially pulling G F# and that pesky pull E and, on a lot of boxes, finding a pull D on the G row. Also the pull G row A and the over to the D row to pull B, C#. If you can learn those runs you can do them without waggling the bellows. So I wished I'd started learning that fingering earlier than I did.
Interesting, as I'm now going back to learning the things I'd shortcut to get going immediately on cross-rowing.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: RogerT on January 27, 2020, 05:33:31 PM
Do you mean you crossed rowed to start and then went to bellows waggling up and down the row?
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on January 27, 2020, 06:08:02 PM
Do you mean you crossed rowed to start and then went to bellows waggling up and down the row?
Yep first time with a box started immediately with cross rowing. Now I'm beginning to see some holes in my skills that aren't likely to get better, so I've just bought a one row cheaply to make sure I can't cheat and I'm spending a bit of time on that (right hand only - I haven't adjusted to the limitations of chord choice). Waggling is early days so far, but starting to not phase me anymore.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: richard.fleming on January 27, 2020, 06:15:49 PM
“that a-ha moment”.....I’m still waiting for mine!

But wait....It is the most illogical, silly, annoying, mad instrument that you could possibly play but, it is also the most satisfying, wonderful instrument.
I think  ???

Don't get that. Seems entirely natural and normal to me. But then I don't play D/G!
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Rob2Hook on January 27, 2020, 07:24:10 PM
Theer was a slow realisation that most tunes contain short phrases that you have met before and so as you progress much of the learning has already been done.  Now this applies to choosing whether to play across rows or on the row, choosing chord structure, etc. but it is all wasted unless you can maintain tempo.  I would always advocate playing for dance - and watch the , they will give you your tempo.  I've played with many beginners who rush through the "difficult" phrases and end up half a beat ahead of the tune!

Rob.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Jon Stapleton on January 28, 2020, 12:21:41 AM
Sometimes just poke a different bass or chord for the hell of it  nine times out of ten it sounds awful but one in ten it sounds sublime    .... experiment
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Nick Collis Bird on January 28, 2020, 08:59:48 AM
when I started a long time ago as a teenager  you were virtualy 'on your own'  unless you knew another melodeon player, which I didn't.  My lightbulb moment was getting a recognisable tune out of the thing which I did my treating it as a hand operated mouthie.   

george

Identical to me George, i came from the mouthie. But i was very lucky being in Bourne River Morris in the very early 70’s and following the late great Paul Havell around like a pet dog. The aha moment came when I realised if someone could hum it I could play it.........more or less ::)
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: GPS on January 28, 2020, 09:03:20 AM
My "a-ha" moment was when I dumped the PA and bought a melodeon........

Graham
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: george garside on January 28, 2020, 09:38:46 AM
when I started a long time ago as a teenager  you were virtualy 'on your own'  unless you knew another melodeon player, which I didn't.  My lightbulb moment was getting a recognisable tune out of the thing which I did my treating it as a hand operated mouthie.   

george

Identical to me George, i came from the mouthie. But i was very lucky being in Bourne River Morris in the very early 70’s and following the late great Paul Havell around like a pet dog. The aha moment came when I realised if someone could hum it I could play it.........more or less ::)

The 'more or less' is of course  a necessary skill for coming up with  a new/your own arrangment of a tune!

george :D
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: baz parkes on January 28, 2020, 10:14:19 AM
Quote from: Nick Collis Bird link=
 But i was very lucky being in Bourne River Morris in the very early 70’s and following the late great Paul Havell around like a pet dog.
[/quote

Me too...different morris team, same canine behaviour. One of the best box plyers I ever heard...and one of the most unassuming...

Going back to the OP...things you wish you'd learned...you have 4 fingers on your left hand... :|glug
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Little Eggy on January 28, 2020, 11:08:36 AM
I wish someone could offer a 'light bulb' moment to enable me to play 3/4 time properly  :(  !!
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 28, 2020, 11:34:11 AM
Paul Havell gave me a great 'aha' moment, when as a concertina player joined in with my newly acquired Morris friends ( Baz's lot! ) at an impromptu moment on the deck chairs at the Ham, on Sidmouth seafront. After  a few tunes I launched into some newly learnt sets and Paul kindly said 'don't look at me, he's got the ideas at the moment!!'
I really felt like I had 'arrived' as a player.
It meant a lot.....
Then I took up this confounded instrument  ;)
Q
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: The Oul' Boy on January 28, 2020, 05:18:38 PM
I feel I'm in the position of the hyphen, somewhere between the 'a' and the 'ha' (i.e. I've started to appreciate how wonderfully complicated this instrument is but realise how much I still have to get to grips with, so no 'ha' out of me just yet!).
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Dick Rees on January 28, 2020, 09:29:03 PM
The wonderful thing about the 2-row diatonic is that it keeps delivering aha moments.  The longer you play (years), the more the box gives until "aha" becomes "oh yeah".
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: george garside on January 28, 2020, 11:01:57 PM
I wish someone could offer a 'light bulb' moment to enable me to play 3/4 time properly  :(  !!

It can help  if you start of   the bass rhythm before starting the tune.  i.e commence with a steady um pa pa rhythm by Lightly tapping the bass buttons and then go into a waltz without pausing.  Choose a simple  sing along waltz tune eg daisy daisy,  oh dear what can the matter be,  endearing young charms , or whatever tune you know well and keeping the um pa pa's steady but light make the melody fit the bass rather than the bass fit the melody. 

hope this helps

george
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Rob Lands on January 29, 2020, 10:26:06 AM
removing my thumb from the thumb strap
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: melod-ian on January 29, 2020, 03:30:14 PM
Attending a workshop by Roger Watson who insisted that we should think of it as a single instrument, not as a D row and a G row, and who first showed me the possibilities of cross-row left-hand chording.

Mr Watson was definitely the catalyst of most of my 'a-ha' moments. Cross-row and chording especially.

I did think there was some sort of black art to working out chord structures for tunes, I believed it to be solely based around music theory knowledge until I was sat next to a good guitarist at a session one evening, and worked out where the chords were changing and in most cases were either a: #1, #4 or #5 chord anyway. I then went back and deconstructed all the tunes I knew into simple chord patterns on the left and right hand, after a while, it started to become a kind of second language.

Suddenly there was a whole new world out there beyond the reel/jig/hornpipe/morris tune! Acomplyment and Improvisation    
BINGO!
 
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on January 30, 2020, 10:21:33 AM
Just had a quick tune and twiddle, which reminds me:
Some time ago Squeezy mentioned something that could be called 'constructive fun'.
i.e. after a 'formal' learning session where you try to learn a tune, a complicated piece of a tune, work out um-pah's etc...… just have a twiddle.
Go explore the box, press all the buttons, absent mindedly let your fingers twiddle a tune, work out if you can play a little tune on the basses only etc etc....
Essentially just play with it for a few minutes. Nothing long, nothing planned just..... get to know it, find out it's 'dusty corners' and have a few minutes of mindless wandering.
You'd be surprised how sometimes something out of the blue gives that 'aha' moment!
cheers
Q
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Julian S on January 30, 2020, 10:33:43 AM
I'm just wondering about starting an 'Oh Curses' thread to discuss moments where things don't go so well, and consider possible remedies (other than chucking the instrument of course !). The antithesis of the 'a-ha' moment...

J

Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Ryall on January 30, 2020, 12:23:01 PM
1. Major tunes on push, minor on pull. At LAST a use for those Em, B basses!

2. Crossfingering part scales, generally against those minor pull chords

3. Right hand chording.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on January 30, 2020, 02:23:01 PM
1. Major tunes on push, minor on pull. At LAST a use for those Em, B basses!

2. Crossfingering part scales, generally against those minor pull chords

3. Right hand chording.
Have to agree with all of those.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Ryall on January 31, 2020, 09:25:10 AM
1. Major tunes on push, minor on pull. At LAST a use for those Em, B basses!

2. Crossfingering part scales, generally against those minor pull chords

3. Right hand chording.
Have to agree with all of those.

Not sure what “agree” means in context, but that was my personal journey  :|glug
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on January 31, 2020, 12:48:13 PM
1. Major tunes on push, minor on pull. At LAST a use for those Em, B basses!

2. Crossfingering part scales, generally against those minor pull chords

3. Right hand chording.
Have to agree with all of those.

Not sure what “agree” means in context, but that was my personal journey  :|glug
Agree that they've been useful realisations for me too.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Julian S on January 31, 2020, 04:22:18 PM
Ongoing a ha moment...and certainly for me whenever I learn a new tune (or revisit an old one). A simple change in fingering - and maybe bellows direction, can make all the difference !

A frustrating personal project tune has been Rob Harbron's 'Rain on the Woodpile'. I have been unable, in spite of hours of practice over a couple of years, to play it consistently without errors, and I finally realised that my problem was mainly due to the fingering I'd adopted, and the melody errors were often the fault of my less dexterous fourth finger. It's never too late to learn - and maybe unlearn as well.

J
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Graham Wood on February 02, 2020, 08:49:50 AM
Latest 'a-ha' moment is the discovery that the more Abbot Ale you drink while trying to make a video, the worse it gets....
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Lester on February 02, 2020, 09:07:38 AM
Latest 'a-ha' moment is the discovery that the more Abbot Ale you drink while trying to make a video, the worse it gets....
As a teetotaller it is undoubtedly true that at the end of a long session in a pub I am probably playing better than most everyone else, unfortunately it is also true that, by that point, I am the only one who cares.   (:)
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Paul Coats on February 02, 2020, 10:01:23 AM
I've been plonking about playing up and down the rows for a month and then I noticed I could play a run of notes by crossing rows. Duuurrr
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Ryall on February 03, 2020, 12:41:47 PM
That’s my [2], expressed rather better than I did, and in my case the most life changing”‘ah ha” !

“Why did I  buy a 2 row instrument, yet play it 🤔 like  2 mouth organs strapped together”? 🙃
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on February 03, 2020, 12:48:54 PM
As a teetotaller it is undoubtedly true that at the end of a long session in a pub I am probably playing better than most everyone else, unfortunately it is also true that, by that point, I am the only one who cares.   (:)

Since I now also appear to be teetotal that'll be two of us in future.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: gmatkin on February 03, 2020, 02:08:51 PM
I've just remembered another 'aha moment', this time at the beginning of my melodeon journey about a decade ago.

Having learned to touch type as a teenager, I realised that I needed to decide on 'home' buttons on each row for my right hand fingers. For my index finger I chose the keynotes on each row at the lower end of the scale, and I decided to give my second finger the responsibility of homing on the tonic an octave up.

This meant I had only two scales to learn (instead of learning a different one starting at each keyboard button), as my remaining fingers including my little finger naturally found their homes on the keyboard.

It quickly transformed my experience of playing the instrument as my fingers and brain learned the sounds available to each finger.

I don't say it's a rule for all melodeon life (there are times when you need to stray from such a rule), but it's a great place to start and cuts down the risk of getting lost...

Gavin

Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on February 03, 2020, 07:44:18 PM
As a teetotaller it is undoubtedly true that at the end of a long session in a pub I am probably playing better than most everyone else, unfortunately it is also true that, by that point, I am the only one who cares.   (:)

Since I now also appear to be teetotal that'll be two of us in future.

Oh dear!  It appears I shall be drinking for three at Bretforton.🥴🍺🥃🍸🥂🍻🎵🎶😵
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Gary Chapin on February 04, 2020, 01:44:06 PM
I don't know if these will be helpful to anyone.

1- (when picking up box): "Oh! This is what I'm supposed to be playing! Not the flute!"
2- (when playing French music the first time): "Oh! This is what I'm supposed to be playing!"
3- The instrument is so charmingly clever and logical -- it's structure will guide you through many confusions. The box wants you to succeed.
4- With the possible exception of the spring -- all of the technology of the accordion (levers, valves, reeds, etc) existed during the Roman Empire. (This is especially unhelpful, but feels really cool to me and inspires reverence for the box and the first box makers).
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: The Oul' Boy on February 12, 2020, 07:20:59 PM
Recent a-ha moment: sometimes it's better to move the position of the fingers than make the wee finger do things it doesn't want to (and mine is a bit slow to be honest). For example, my version of the Hesleyside Reel has improved dramatically by not sticking to four fingers, one to each button (and thus needing the wee finger to do a fair bit of work), but using three and moving position. Still using it plenty, but when it works, not when I'm fighting to make it work because I don't want to have to shift hand position (and back again).
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: oggiesnr on February 12, 2020, 07:28:48 PM
My a-ha moment was realising that a two row box was not two one row instruments packaged into one case for convenience but was actually one instrument and the two rows actually related to each other in useful ways.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Peadar on February 12, 2020, 08:52:38 PM
Arriving at Playgroup improvers workshop....with a music stand (embarrassed that I hadn't got to grips with learning either Clare's Dragoons or Am Bothar Loiste/The Lodge Road) and discovering that damn near everyone else was also equipped with a music stand.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on February 13, 2020, 12:01:33 PM
Arriving at Playgroup improvers workshop....with a music stand (embarrassed that I hadn't got to grips with learning either Clare's Dragoons or Am Bothar Loiste/The Lodge Road) and discovering that damn near everyone else was also equipped with a music stand.

I was erecting my own music stand when my neighbour expressed relief that she was not the only one.  Sadly I find that since I learned to read music I have become dependent on it.  With, of course, reading glasses.  The joys of senility 👴🏼.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on February 13, 2020, 02:20:26 PM
I can't see the problem with bringing music, unless the point is to learn by ear.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Sharon on February 13, 2020, 02:34:10 PM
Arriving at Playgroup improvers workshop....with a music stand (embarrassed that I hadn't got to grips with learning either Clare's Dragoons or Am Bothar Loiste/The Lodge Road) and discovering that damn near everyone else was also equipped with a music stand.

I was erecting my own music stand when my neighbour expressed relief that she was not the only one.  Sadly I find that since I learned to read music I have become dependent on it.  With, of course, reading glasses.  The joys of senility 👴🏼.

Ahhh hello neighbour - I’m pretty sure that was me 🤣 We were doing a bit of sneaky cross-rowing where one row would have done 😉
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on February 13, 2020, 05:24:57 PM

Ahhh hello neighbour - I’m pretty sure that was me 🤣 We were doing a bit of sneaky cross-rowing where one row would have done 😉

I think that’s us, especially if I deafened you by deploying my Tommy in place of the pokerwork in the afternoon.  Sorry ‘bout dat.😕
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Sharon on February 13, 2020, 05:35:18 PM

Ahhh hello neighbour - I’m pretty sure that was me 🤣 We were doing a bit of sneaky cross-rowing where one row would have done 😉

I think that’s us, especially if I deafened you by deploying my Tommy in place of the pokerwork in the afternoon.  Sorry ‘bout dat.😕

🤣 you were quite loud LOL! I’m getting a ‘new’ box soon so I might get you back one day 😉
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Lester on February 13, 2020, 05:45:09 PM
Maybe you could both benefit from one of my a-ha moments:

It is possible to play a melodeon quietly 
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Sharon on February 14, 2020, 01:33:55 PM
Maybe you could both benefit from one of my a-ha moments:

It is possible to play a melodeon quietly

Yep, it certainly is. I haven’t been to many workshops (not for melodeon anyway) and I have noticed a distinct lack of dynamic range.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Helena Handcart on February 14, 2020, 04:38:03 PM
I think that’s us, especially if I deafened you by deploying my Tommy in place of the pokerwork in the afternoon.

If your Tommy is louder than your Pokerwork... there's something wrong with your Pokerwork  (:) :||:
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Mcgrooger on February 14, 2020, 05:32:20 PM
My earliest 'a-ha' moment was being shown how to oom-pa by my good friend Hugh Taylor of this parish some time way back in the 1970's
My next came MUCH later when I realised never to fix my right hand patterns for a tune before deciding on what I think are the best left hand chords for it. To re-iterate Hugh recently quoting Frank Lee, 'The melodeon is all about the left hand'.
I really hope this is of some help to anyone struggling to get going or get more out of their playing.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Rayner on February 14, 2020, 08:42:26 PM

If your Tommy is louder than your Pokerwork... there's something wrong with your Pokerwork  (:) :||:

Well, it has three voices, so one up there, and I find it easier to play the pokerwork softly.  Even when I take out the bassoon reed on the Tommy I find it needs to be handled carefully if it’s to be played quietly.  I think it may have to do with the different cross-sectional areas of the bellows.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Steve_freereeder on February 15, 2020, 12:18:42 AM
Well, it has three voices, so one up there, and I find it easier to play the pokerwork softly.  Even when I take out the bassoon reed on the Tommy I find it needs to be handled carefully if it’s to be played quietly.  I think it may have to do with the different cross-sectional areas of the bellows.
Indeed. The smaller cross-sectional area of the bellows on the Tommy compared with the Pokerwork means that for the same amount of force, you will be generating a higher air pressure through the reeds (pressure is inversely proportional to cross sectional area). Also, assuming they are both set up properly, the Tommy's tipo a mano reeds are likely to respond just that bit more readily than the Pokerwork's Hohner reeds.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on February 15, 2020, 12:24:24 AM
Well, it has three voices, so one up there, and I find it easier to play the pokerwork softly.  Even when I take out the bassoon reed on the Tommy I find it needs to be handled carefully if it’s to be played quietly.  I think it may have to do with the different cross-sectional areas of the bellows.
Indeed. The smaller cross-sectional area of the bellows on the Tommy compared with the Pokerwork means that for the same amount of force, you will be generating a higher air pressure through the reeds (pressure is inversely proportional to cross sectional area). Also, assuming they are both set up properly, the Tommy's tipo a mano reeds are likely to respond just that bit more readily than the Pokerwork's Hohner reeds.

Generally speaking, the Pokerworks I hear out and about sound louder than the Tommies. Presumably this means that Tommy players have more respect for other people's eardrums than Pokerwork players.
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: Chris Peacock on February 16, 2020, 11:06:07 PM
I have been playing a D/G Erica for about a year, getting it from Theo. I’d never even touched a melodeon before! It came with a Malley strap, and the bass strap was very tight and must have been shortened by an owner which made hitting the bass buttons difficult for me. I think this situation lasted just over a week. My a-ha moment came when I contacted Charlie and bought a pair of shoulder straps and a nicely padded replacement bass strap. Suddenly the Erica became stable, and everything improved from that point. My second a-ha was realising that I was automatically using the air button. Lots more a-ha’s to come, methinks!
Title: Re: That 'a-ha' moment
Post by: playandteach on February 16, 2020, 11:28:10 PM
I'm having a few a-has as I try to learn one row playing. Firstly is the straps - now I understand about the one strap following. And also Lester's strap around the tricep style. And as you push the box further away from the body - if you are also anchoring it with an inside thigh, then the thumb behind the keyboard also makes some sense.
Still experimenting, and perhaps the final answer is yet to present itself, but it's been fun so far.
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