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Author Topic: After books for beginners?  (Read 1969 times)

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Tony Smith

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After books for beginners?
« on: June 03, 2016, 03:03:26 PM »

Hi all

I am brand new to melnet having been lurking since last summer when I decided that I wanted to try to learn the melodeon.  I bought a base level Scarlatti from Hobgoblin in Brighton in late August and started working through Mally's book for absolute beginners.  The Scarlatti was fine for me to try on and I was quickly hooked.  But I did start looking on eBay and elsewhere for a lighter more responsive box.  And I am now the proud owner of a 70s/80s Erica - bought relatively cheaply from an auction in Cheshire (on-line bidding).  When it arrived I was really pleased that, although a little externally battered, it was in pretty good tune.  Now having had the box expertly tweeked by the great Mike Rowbotham during our half term visit to Cornwall, my melodeon voyage of discovery can now proceed.

To my question (and apologies if covered before), but as I reach the end of Mally's book, what next.  I know there are several different and well regarded 'beginners' books, is there anything for intermediates?  Or is it a matter of finding tune books and building on experience.

It is great to be a member of this community. 

Tony
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deltasalmon

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 06:18:00 PM »

I don't know the Mally's book but I would recommend just learning tunes if you've finished a beginner's book.

For Irish music there are a few DVDs that talk about ornamentation and technique, and you can probably find the same kind of video on YouTube for the kind of music that you play. Even learning tunes based of recordings or videos and trying to emulate what you hear/see can help with improving your technique.
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penn

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 07:14:01 PM »

I got some way through the Mally book, and have found this forum's tune of the month threads to be a useful learning resource.
 
There's often very detailed discussions of the way a tune can be played, the fingering, the basses, rhythms, how key differences can apply etc.etc. along with links to practical demonstrations on YouTube. Sometimes these are from the experts who can give some inspiration for what to aim for but often they are played by beginners and peers, and it's encouraging to see how other players at varying levels of ability approach a tune.
Over the years a great selection of tunes have been covered, and I've learnt a lot of tunes from studying these threads....
( index here http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,10802.0.html ).
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Lester

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 07:20:53 PM »

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 07:31:28 PM »

I used Mally's book and found it a good base for starting getting going. It also got me into some good habits right from the start.
Since then I started learning tunes I vaguely knew from sessions, and a long time around the morris world, applying the knowledge gleaned from Mally.
As far as I know there is no 'next step' book, it's just a case of building on those simple basic blocks.
This forum is also an absolute gold mine of information and people will be only to glad to help and guide you forward, so though not a book, you have a great learning source here. No simple question is too simple!
Ask away.............
cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Rob2Hook

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 09:33:32 PM »

As I understand it, books on playing a French style tend to be more far reaching and can truly be considered a "course".  The English beginners books I've flicked through are rather rudimentary and as such most techniques you need to emulate your heroes will not appear there.  It's true that a lot can be learnt here on the forum, but once you can hold a tune with some confidence it's time to go out and play in company - observe what they do and incorporate it if liked.  The only other thing I can think of is the video publications such as those from John Kirkpatrick (alas only on VHS, I believe) and Squeezy.

Rob.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2016, 10:04:13 PM »

The JK one is on cd/DVD and I have a copy.
I attended a workshop in October with Squeezy and I was chatting to him about the differences between the formal Continental approach and the informal teach yourself style we have.
Granted there is structure and linear progression with the Continental way but you risk cloning players. Our more informal way leaves scope for greater variety between players and the ability to develope your own style creating huge variation in this country.
Bearing that point in mind, I was talking to Ed Rennie, who also has a tutor and cd out. He said the problem with making a more advanced tutor book is simply the huge variety of styles and music played. Where would  you start?

I suppose attending workshops where possible, or going to an ever growing band of tutors is also an alternative option.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

busbox

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 10:52:44 PM »

When I was young and foolish and went to work, I shared an office with a character who liked to tease a bit. He was a cockney who had done the famous 'knowledge' test for London cabbies. He was delighted one morning when he told me he had been listening to a radio talkback in which an expert on names here in Oz claimed that if anyone rang in with their names she could tell them something about its history, origins etc.. The bit that put a twinkle in his eye was where he revealed that the expert added 'Unless you have a ridiculously common name like Tony Smith!' :||:
Welcome Tony. We shouldn't be confused because I have a special melnet name. Melnet is a very welcoming place and the suggestions will be really helpful for you. Good luck with it all. (:)
 
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banjokat

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2016, 03:29:13 AM »

I'm using Mally's book and also George's book. I'm finding Lester's videos extremely helpful though. Thanks Lester!
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Chris Mash

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 07:22:13 AM »

I am a novice player and have been looking for a method that suits my learning method. This is important we all have different learning needs. I started with Mally's book and found it limiting on basic technique. For example he suggests that 2 fingers are probably adequate for left hand playing. If you foresee that as you progress you may want to develop a more sophisticated left hand 2 fingers are unlikely to be adequate. I have recently purchased Pignol and Milleret's method which starts you off using 4 fingers for the basses right from the off. It suits my learning needs and style perfectly. It is very well constructed using well graded exercises and tunes to develop skills and technique. And it is clear to me that over the three volumes it would take anyone who follows it to a very high standard. I can see that if you want to play Morris tunes and other traditional English tunes in particular it may not suit. As mentioned elsewhere it is written in both French and English and is based on the GC instrument but if you use the tab it can be applied to a DG etc.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 09:08:55 AM »

Lester's videos are very good, and accompanying the video he puts the abc notation with it.
This notation, though another topic in itself, allows you to put the code into a programme such as abcExplorer, and this generates the sheet music for the tune. Therefore you can see Lester playing it plus a sound file and sheet music exactly as its being played.

If you check out Tune of the Month on this site, where people all play the same tune in their own style also has the similar quality of abc and sheet music with people playing.
Both allow you to copy tunes whilst see how people play them, and build your repertoire slowly whilst learning how others play.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

banjokat

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2016, 09:36:29 AM »

Exactly! Personally I'm finding the resources / inspiration available here of more use than books. Still struggling with the left hand though!
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2016, 11:41:20 AM »

I think for me one huge leap forward was to get a grip of what chord to play with which melody note.
First, I learnt what the chord was  - fundamental + 3rd and 5th note
i.e. chord of G = G + B + D
and worked it out for each chord on the left hand, then applied that to a tune I was learning ( from Lester's blog, Tune of the Month etc ) remembering some chords only work on the push or pull. It took me a while to get it but worth the effort. From memory, Mally does have a bit on this.
It's one of those slow but rewarding things to do.
Q

corrected after my earlier brain out moment!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 02:25:08 PM by Thrupenny Bit »
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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: After books for beginners?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2016, 12:00:44 PM »

I think for me one huge leap forward was to get a grip of what chord to play with which melody note.
First, I learnt what the chord was  - fundamental + 4th and 5th note
i.e. chord of G = G + C + D
and worked it out for each chord on the left hand, then applied that to a tune I was learning ( from Lester's blog, Tune of the Month etc ) remembering some chords only work on the push or pull. It took me a while to get it but worth the effort. From memory, Mally does have a bit on this.
It's one of those slow but rewarding things to do.
Q

Where I live a chord is  - fundamental + 3rd and 5th note so G Maj is G B and D

Tony Smith

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2016, 01:21:05 PM »

Thanks all - as I expected the quality and quantity of the responses to a first timer is testament to the friendliness of this community.

I should have said in my original posts that YouTube vids have been very important to me.  Daddylongles' blogs and various posts on how to play the melodeon were inspiring and contributed to me making the decision to buy the instrument.  And Lester has been really important to me understanding what the tune I am playing is really supposed to sound like.

And following the comments above, I have been watching the various submissions that followed the 1st TOTM - Speed the Plough.  As it happened this tune was next in the Mally's book and I have seen how watching the various newbies and experts play will help me develop my style.  It is how to develop beyond\add to um-pa that I want to concentrate on and the examples here will help. Would the Ed Rennie base book be valuable to me?
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2016, 01:39:44 PM »

Argh..... Thank you Lester.
Yes of course it's fundamental 3rd and 5th = G-B-D

No idea what I was thinking of earlier.

Goes off to hang head in shame..... :-[
Hope I haven't confused.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2016, 01:49:14 PM »

Tony - yes sounds like the next step on the road, exactly what I did.

If you are wondering about chords, don't forget there is a chord chart available to download off the front page of this site, compliments of Lester, its worth downloading.
Cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Theo

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2016, 02:09:52 PM »

A very important part of moving on as a player is having a good idea of the kind of player you would like to be.  To this end it can be enormously helpful to listen carefully to playing that you like and if possible do a little bit of analysis of what you like and why you like it.  It doesn't have to be technical details such as which cords to use, but what inspires you, or makes you want to jump up and down/dance/cry or whatever.  When you can start to think of where you are heading as a player then look for courses and workshops run by players you like. There are lots of courses at festivals over the summer season, and others through the year.  There is nothing to beat spending a few hours or a few days with an inspiring player, you should be able to pick up enough ideas to keep you busy for months.
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TomBom

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2016, 02:51:44 PM »

There is also Tony Croft's book of classical music for melodeon:
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=17991.0
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playandteach

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Re: After books for beginners?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2016, 07:25:28 PM »

My route has been find a style I like, find some tunes I like, pick the easiest (ask here for advice) and start to learn it. That way you'll discover the things you don't know - and can get help with, whilst having ongoing motivation.
On the other hand, after a while with that philosophy, I've now taken delivery of volumes 1 and 2 from Milleret and Pignol and will work my way through those (they are for Francophiles).
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