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Author Topic: Learning new tunes  (Read 4492 times)

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Helena Handcart

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2014, 08:03:00 PM »

I don't seem to have much of a problem in learning tunes, just in remembering them once I've learnt them.  Apparently I now know 47 tunes according to my little book of tunes but at any one time they are all 'kitchen tunes' apart from;

a) the tune I learnt most recently
b) 'Winster Gallop' - the first tune in the tutor book
c) 'Ten Viennettas' (Theme Vannetais)  - for no explicable reason

I seem to need to play something through two or three times before my fingers remember it - not always much fun in a session  ???

I'm trying to improve on this by revisiting tunes on a regular basis but progress is somewhat slow.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2014, 08:53:32 PM »

There are various different learning styles and it makes learning tunes a lot easier if you know which style suits you best and adopt a learning method to suit that style. I am a systemic learner, so I learn best by devising a system and sticking to it.

My system has three parts to it.

1. I have a list of tunes that I am confident to start in sessions and I play through every one of them at least twice a week. There is also a list of tunes I need to play for our Morris side and I play through them once a week.

2. I also have a list of tunes that I know more or less well enough to join in if somebody else starts them in sessions, but not well enough to start them myself. I call this my 'Tunes that Need Work' list. This is a longer list and I try to play most of them at least once in a week, whilst focussing particularly on two or three with which I am trying to become sufficiently fluent to transfer them to my 'confident' list.

3. Then there are the new tunes. I try not to work on more than two of these at a time (except in the weeks leading up to Melodeons at Witney when the number of tunes is dictated by the workshop tutors). My approach to new tunes is to listen to them a few times and then write them out on a computer in Personal Composer. I work out a fingering pattern for the melody at the same time as working out a bass accompaniment and write out the former above the staff and the latter below the staff. In most cases, I also work out some ornaments to personalise the tune. Whilst practising, I will sometimes change the fingering, bass line and/or ornamentation and I record those changes on the score in Personal Composer, so that I don't forget them.

I practise every day except for those when other commitments make it impossible. My practising involves work every day on the couple of new tunes I am learning (Finnish Schottische and In the Toyshop at the moment) and may also involve some work on arpeggios, right-hand chords or some other aspect of technique. In addition to that, each day is allocated to practising tunes from one of my three lists: the 'Confident' list, the Morris list or the 'Tunes that Need Work' list.

This may suggest I suffer from O.C.D. (perhaps I do in a mild form), but experience has taught me that - for me - this is the best way to polish the tunes about which I feel confident, improve those that need more work and add steadily to my repertoire without losing tunes that I would forget if I didn't practise them regularly. If this sounds a bit dry, it isn't! I thoroughly enjoy my practising, which combines variety with a procedure to help me learn new tunes and remember the ones I already know.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2014, 09:06:59 PM »

My new tunes only really start to 'live' when I have the courage to play them in a session. Typical incubation times … 3 to 12 months.
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Six Stars

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2014, 09:23:49 PM »

I'm both heartened and dismayed by this topic.

Heartened that many people have difficulty in really getting a tune stuck into their brain and fingers - so I'm obviously not alone, dismayed that some older players say that they find it particularly hard to learn new tunes, but that they can still play tunes from years ago. As I took up playing (with no previous musical knowledge at all) a year ago at 58, is there any hope for me at all?

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2014, 09:27:42 PM »

Yes young 'un!
Don't waver just keep going  (:)
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Lester

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2014, 09:36:58 PM »

To learn tunes I listen to them on iTunes or as bleeps from some ABC until I've got it in my head. Then I print out the music from ABC Nav and write the notes under the stave because I can't read music. Then I play the tune slowly until I've got the swing of it. Then I throw the music away!

I recently learned Iron Legs. The A music was really easy and I was able to play without the music almost straight away, the B music was much harder dues to the relatively hard fingering and it took time to learn and needed references back to the music for longer than the A. But even after I had the tune and the fingering in my head the B was still very variable so I stopped playing it for a few days as I have found the 'muscle memory' bit of learning the tune benefits from a rest. Now I can play it reasonably competently with the exception of the third stanza of the B which I still finger badly.

malcolmbebb

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2014, 10:11:27 PM »

I am finding this thread encouraging and comforting. Well done Nick!
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2014, 11:54:59 PM »

A basic knowledge of chord structure is invaluable to anyone playing the melodeon.
It's not difficult to learn - simple arithmetic really, very simple.

Ha! Rees but I am innumerate , if I see 64 I'll probably write 46
Thanks for all the lovely replies gang . Can't even check my own lottery tickets. I'm Probably worth millions, not. >:E
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2014, 03:09:32 AM »

And the Lord said, "Prayers all the time!  Meet me halfway - buy a ticket!"

I'm having a bit of downtime, both playing and learning.  It wasn't planned, but I was forced to take on a job with such unsociable hours that I don't get to play with others, so can't see the point in practice and don't get to hear new tunes.  It'll pass.

Rob.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2014, 09:25:31 AM »

My process is similar to Lester.
Listen to the tune, print out dots, play through slowly looking at how to play sequences thinking of bellows direction and chord choice/ availability. Go back to listen again if a sequence is proving difficult, or to make sure I'm doing it right.
I start to learn, and find that I too often give it a rest sometimes if it's not going in and find a rest often helps in the learning process.

My recent learning aid is a little plastic folder entitles 'Tunes to learn'. Instead of leaving a trail of paper contains tunes all over the house, or have an armful of tune books, I print off the tune to learn and pop it in the folder until it's learnt. Apart from being tidier, it helps me to focus on tunes rather than ping through tune books not really learning.
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

george garside

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2014, 11:17:48 AM »

I use two lists

- tunes to learn

- tunes to learn to play well!

george
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2014, 11:24:51 AM »

Hmmmm..... Good point George
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

911377brian

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2014, 11:57:46 AM »

Ref my previous reply to Nick C.B's original post...I've just realised why I'm enjoying my boxes more. I'm finding it more difficult to get new tunes stowed away (Foul Weather call et all) but I've stopped being so EARNEST and DRIVEN about it. I'm old and my brain no longer functions as well as it did, but no one is going to die if it takes ages to learn a tune; and when I've 'learned it' it will fall far short of being perfect. But I will still enjoy hugely playing my rubbish interpretation of it....

 
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Learning new tunes
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2014, 11:00:52 PM »

 ;D  ;D
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