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Author Topic: Where to Study for a Year  (Read 10106 times)

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docEdock

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Where to Study for a Year
« on: December 05, 2012, 11:33:55 AM »

I'm discovering that learning French traditional accordion here in Atlanta Georgia is a lonely sport. Finding local TexMex or Cajun players might not be too hard but I listened to grivemusicienne and was lost.

I think I'll adopt Michik's terminology, "french stuff" which does a better job of covering my interest, or even expand it to "continental stuff", since I'm appreciating Carles Belda and others . . .

Two years after starting that melodeon journey, I have a different question. Where might I live in this coming year that would allow me to accelerate my learning the the "French Stuff'? Ideally the place would have these characteristics:
  • A lively diatonic music scene where it is easy to find concerts and players.
  • First rate instructors for private lessons and workshops.
  • English widely spoken as a second language.
  • Relatively affordable small apartment to lease for 3-12 months.
  • Public transportation, so that a car is unnecessary.
  • International airport within an hour's travel
I'm initially thinking a suburb or village near Antwerp as a possibility. But, I'm hoping to hear other opinions. So what say you?
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 06:01:19 PM »

see PM  8)
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 04:15:37 AM »

ditto
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docEdock

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 09:39:00 AM »

Thanks for the insightful replies. It is very helpful to gain local knowledge and advice about various considerations. I am focusing on the area around Ghent with June 2013 as a target for arrival.

As has often said around here, one must dance tunes to understand their rhythm and play them on a fettled box. I've added to my list of characteristics:
  • Many opportunities to learn to dance to the music, indoors during the winter and outdoors during the summer
  • A diatonic dealer and repair shop in the general area
Now a question about lodging. Is the Internet a good way to find an apartment to lease in the Ghent area or must one use an agency? If I were looking in Atlanta the Internet would be my first choice. But perhaps Belgium is different. I ask because http://www.expatica.com/be/housing/renting/finding-a-rental-home--31298_8315.html says,

"In Belgium, no central listing service exists, such as you find in North America. In the Brussels region alone, there are hundreds of estate agents. In addition, many properties are advertised 'privately', either via local press, a website or still commonly via the traditional black and orange 'te huur/à louer' notice propped in the front window. A property search therefore requires a lot of knowledge and even more time, which few of us have these days."


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Theo

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 09:48:00 AM »

Take care if searching accommodation from a distance.  There are scam estate agents online who will take a substantial deposit and then disappear into thin air. This happened recently to a family member trying to rent in Denmark,  I'm sure the scammeres are not confined by national boundaries.  Suggest finding somewhere temporary while you do your searching in person.
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docEdock

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 09:57:44 AM »

I'm sure the scammeres are not confined by national boundaries.  Suggest finding somewhere temporary while you do your searching in person.

Ah, yes. Thanks for that excellent caution. It had escaped my thinking. All those pretty pictures don't mean the bride really exists.
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 10:19:37 AM »

http://www.accordeons-viseur.com/index_v.php?taal=NL
And this is the guy absolutely everyone I know goes to for repairs.
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 10:30:40 AM »

If I were you, I'd focus on somewhere between the dampoortstraat and the kongostraat, 'cos that's close to the railway station to sint-niklaas/belsele/antwerp, near to the muzikantenhuis, near to the centrale, near to the city center. So you can play music all night, sample the beers if you are so inclined and walk home.

Of course if you have loads of money, the richer parts of town are slightly more calm and sophisticated and then you could focus on the area around ghent sint pieters or if you really are well off - the miljoenenkwartier has lovely art deco places  8)

If you arrive in june you'll be all in time for the festival season. If you arrive a bit earlier you can also do damada, in France which is usually in May. There is also trek er es uut in holland around ascension day, beginning of May, some of the teachers are English speaking :)





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Bobtheboat

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 10:43:45 AM »

Doc, I for one am green with envy at your prospective adventure. If I were a rich man........ Sigh. Good luck and don't forget the regular postcards to your melnet pals! Bob
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2012, 11:34:22 AM »

Doc's doing the right thing in learning dance too. 

How active is Boombal in Antwerp?
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docEdock

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 12:26:55 PM »

I'm thinking of this as my next cruise, gunkholing diatonic waters. True, I'll be in a dirt yacht -- unless I lease a canal barge and tie up in Ghent between explorations, now there's an idea.

I'm hoping for adventures and satisfactions: seeing new places and people, eating strange foods, hearing different music, and playing in a new locale. Plus, there's a chance of learning dance without having to worry about falling overboard and drowning.

Whether I end up across the pond on land or water, I intend to send postcards via http://loafingaboard.blogspot.com/, which has gradually expanded to cover most any type of loaf.
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 12:54:27 PM »

Doc's doing the right thing in learning dance too. 

How active is Boombal in Antwerp?

There is not only boombal in Belgium, which is now unfortunately a registered trademark and you have to pay to use it, but there are also baleynbal (http://www.tey.be/agenda/baleynbal), frisse folk http://www.frissefolk.be/, latjughan http://jeugd.gent.be/eCache/JON/15/445.html , and many others organisations doing their own thing. There are also organised dancing courses in Ghent.
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docEdock

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 01:23:14 PM »

And learning to dance -- I grew up Baptist and never sinned, well, that way at least -- does one take lessons or lurk on the sidelines to gain minimal competence?

I spent some years in New Hampshire and did some contradance where there was a beginner session prior to the real dance. Perhaps it is similar?
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 01:32:03 PM »

In Ghent boombal organises lessons, level one, level two level three, level four etc. There are also excellent "stages" in the summer. I wonder in how far language would be a barrier. The great thing about say boombal lessons in Ghent level one is that you have a small group of people who all are new and as you all start together, when you go to balls you can go together and then know people you can ask to dance because unless you are a natural dancer, the beginning can be the most scary. Many balls start with a short instruction of a few dances for beginners too. And you can also always ask someone at the sidelines to explain basic steps to you ;)

There definitely are some A-class dancers on the floor but lots of mere mortals too.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 03:16:37 PM »

Just to add - stage is the French word for a course usually a day or longer - and they have 'stagaires' rather than 'attendees' (see Witney thread)! The word also seems to get used in Dutch (tho' I learned cursus at school)

.. nothing to do with theatre, just as our word has nothing to do with golf  ;)
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Strigulino

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 06:39:26 PM »

Take care if searching accommodation from a distance.  There are scam estate agents online who will take a substantial deposit and then disappear into thin air. This happened recently to a family member trying to rent in Denmark,  I'm sure the scammeres are not confined by national boundaries.  Suggest finding somewhere temporary while you do your searching in person.

I would also advise caution with temporary.  I was working in Edinburgh during August for the Fringe and trying to find digs.  Alarm bells started ringing mightily on one enquiry when the alleged landlord started trying to tell me that the flat was handy for the Tube. 

Hopefully locals can help you find out; either that or go on a little fact-finding mission from a hotel in advance to find more permanent lodgings.
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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 06:49:55 PM »

Maybe I didn't understant everything on that post ...
Was it the idea to learn and practice french music and dancing  ???  am I right ?  So ... as far as I know, Ghent is in Belgium, isn't it ?
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Andy Simpson

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2012, 07:19:04 PM »

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking that, isn't that a bit like going to Scotland to learn about ITM.... ???

IIRC, both Antwerp and Ghent are Dutch-speaking cities and I don't think any Belgians would take too kindly to their distinctly different music and dance being called "French stuff".
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boisterous budgie

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 11:07:42 PM »

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking that, isn't that a bit like going to Scotland to learn about ITM.... ???

IIRC, both Antwerp and Ghent are Dutch-speaking cities and I don't think any Belgians would take too kindly to their distinctly different music and dance being called "French stuff".

aaaaah, but there you see there is a distinct difference between political thinking and musical thinking. I regard all good music as my stuff.

Both France and Belgium prefer GC and there is an important overlap in music and musicians and in balls many of the dances (andro, hanterdro etc ) are French too. Of course if you are interested in the more specific fest noz kind of bretonne dancing Flanders wouldn't be the right place to come to.

PS maybe the Flemish speak better English ;) that would be an argument for Ghent ;)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 11:14:06 PM by boisterous budgie »
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Lyra

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Re: Where to Study for a Year
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2012, 05:08:50 AM »

I'd agree with that - although for music, language really isn't a huge barrier since you at least know what each other is trying to say (mostly).
One thing I would say is that generally rentals in Belgium are on 9 year leases (break points at 3 and 6). You do get short term leases but expect to pay significantly more. It's unlikely to be a problem as long as you know.

Try www.vlan.be - it will give you an idea of what's there and there's an English interface. The expatica or similar sites will have stuff that is usually wildly more expensive.

You'll need to get your head round doh re mi whatever though  8)
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