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Author Topic: How long did it take you to feel like you "got somewhere" with the melodeon?  (Read 1915 times)

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Lester

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And curious - when you all say play by ear - do you already know tunes that are commonly played on melodeon? Most of these tunes are all new to my ear. It would mean learning the tune first, then figuring out where on the box it all is, how to do the basses, and then somehow keep all that in my head.
Can you hum a tune?  Mary had a little lamb?  Jingle bells?  Start with those.

Another vote for nursery rhymes (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) or Christmas carols, tunes you have known since you were a child.
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catty

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Right, I wouldn't concern myself with 'what others do/how long it took others to play.."

For me, I found that the box practically plays itself, but this after a lifetime of playing all kinds of different music on different instruments..

Still, if any instrument 'plays itself' ... it's the melodeon.  *Squeeze in and out while fiddling with the buttons - see if a tune doesn't begin to emerge (maybe have a sip prior :|glug ..?)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 07:25:09 PM by catty »
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Chris OBJ

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Does it matter how long it takes to "get somewhere" as long as you yourself are getting pleasure from the trip and not knowingly upsetting anyone as you go. Personally I started very late in life with music and will never be a great player, however during all of that time I have enjoyed myself and met some great people all of which have given freely of their time help and assistance (including the Sages of this site, many thanks). I am happy to just continue without bothering to see if an end is in site because even if there was and I reached it what would I find to do then. All the time you are happy and getting pleasure keep going but if you start to find things a chore then look for another hobby.
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Melissa Sinclair

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Does it matter how long it takes to "get somewhere" as long as you yourself are getting pleasure from the trip and not knowingly upsetting anyone as you go. Personally I started very late in life with music and will never be a great player, however during all of that time I have enjoyed myself and met some great people all of which have given freely of their time help and assistance (including the Sages of this site, many thanks). I am happy to just continue without bothering to see if an end is in site because even if there was and I reached it what would I find to do then. All the time you are happy and getting pleasure keep going but if you start to find things a chore then look for another hobby.

This is true, but I practice with hopes some day I can play a piece that is pleasing to the ear. Maybe daftly thinking maybe someday my kids might want me to play a tune for them or something. :-)

That and the chorus director I work with has already gotten all excited because there is this solstice piece she has that she needs a squeeze box player. I better get that piece quick if I want any chance in being able to play it by December (basically not kidding!  ;D )
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Lyra

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I'd also add that playing a piece that is pleasing to the ear (for me) starts with a piece that is pleasing to MY ear. Tunes that are "good for me" struggle to go in, never mind come out.
I gave up the flute when forced to play Hindemith - I just couldn't find music in the sea of notes. (Came back when he'd gone away). The joy of being an adult learner is you get to choose!
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playandteach

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I'm playing the Hindemith at the moment with my daughter. She actually even likes the slow movement. But the French flute repertoire is where we have the best times. The Incredible Hulk is also a long standing favourite!
She makes fantastic progress with short (supervised) dedicated practice, but still avoids the very things that show most improvement unless I go a long way out of my way to pester, encourage, bully, plead.
She has now run out of grades, so I'm wondering what to do to make her feel like she is making progress. Including spending potential melodeon money on a Webb headjoint.
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george garside

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when the saints go marching in is a good tune to poke and prod out  . the first note is on 3rd button form chin and only buttons 3, 4 & 5 are required . start with 3rd button push and then just 'poke and prod' to find the next note - then repeat the first two notes and poke and prod to find the 3rd note. Then repeat the first 3 notes and add the 4th et etc. Each time you add a note play the tune from the beginning so you don't forget the notes you have already found.

Practising 'on the row' scales also greatly facilitates  developing the ability to 'think a tune and then play it'

george
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Jonathan Arnett

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Having played the piano first I'm not really in the same boat. But can only wish you well. And say keep at it. Every day at least 15 minutes. And the next day will be a little easier. Bobby Shafto's super easy. Also What shall we do with the drunken sailor. But starting from scratch scales would be my choice. Before you can play a tune you have to have finger control. I struggle to get the time to practice before it's too late to wake the neighbors! My box is too loud! But during the day if they can't take 15 minutes it's there problem! If you want a break from squeezing learn to read music. It's really useful. I found the music for Snowy Monday on the net. Printed it out. And no I can't play it. Also got the music for Drunken sailor from Daddy Long Les. His music is good as it says pull and push in the right places! Which really helps when your starting. The kids arn't too encouraging. My daughter listened for 5 minutes before saying. That doesn't sound like anything Daddy.
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playandteach

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My daughter also says it's time for me to take something else up - 'why don't you just play the piano more?'
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AirTime

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My earliest tunes were things I "composed" myself, just noodling around on the box. It is something that comes very naturally on a melodeon. I was able to play complete tunes, reasonably competently, after about 6 months. The process was always enjoyable, although I do remember periods when I was dealing with pain or discomfort from playing too much, presumably with inappropriate technique. I have a feeling this is not too uncommon. It's interesting that now, after a little more than 5 years, I do not seem to have that problem.

The 10,000 hours thing seems relatively realistic to me. The implication is that most people can master a complex task if they devote enough time & practice to it. If an hour-a-day means 27 years, this would suggest playing 4 or 5 hours a day would cut the time down to 5 or 6 years. I suspect that this is what dedicated, obsessive young musicians do & why some of them can become extremely skilled by their mid-teens. Clearly some individuals have special abilities that lift their playing to another, higher level, however.

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Thrupenny Bit

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Blimey, take a day out and 2 pages of wisdom appear!

As with DTN, the mornings at weekends are the best for me for practice. Coming home in the evenings after an early start at work sometimes mean I either practice for a few moments or just don't try as tiredness kicks in. The curse of the working melodeon player  :-[
Yep, I'm another late comer so Melissa you're a spring chicken, don't let that worry you!

I went to a workshop yesterday with Ollie from this parish.
It was really good, thoroughly enjoyed it and brought back several nuggets of wisdom a couple might be of use to you at this moment in time ....
*Get to know your box - find out where all the notes are and what each button does.
When you start out, that takes time, but is invaluable stuff.
*chords - work out what a 3 note chord is. It means it helps to give you a clue as to which chord to accompany which melody note ( simply, those chords that might contain the melody note ).

Bit of a side track here, but thought it might help.
cheers
Q
off to apply some of Ollie's knowledge
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Thrupenny Bit

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

stevejay

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I fell in to the same line of thinking others did here, answering what I did as opposed to how long.
A lesson in answering the question :)


I am not really sure of the time, but I think after a year, you will be very comfortable with tab/music. 

Get a tune in your head before you attempt it. You might spend breaks at work with headphones listening to a tune you want to work on. It will be more internalized, and easier to find the melody later. May shorten the learning curve.

Although you don't want to get exclusively reliant on tablature/music (same thing really music is tab), you now have a map to get to where you're going. Many of your favorite tunes have readily available tab, which is a good thing in my opinion. It's also a place to notate discoveries about fingerings, other chords that work, etc.

And sometimes in the spirit of minimalism, less is more. If I have too many new tunes to work on simultaneously, it can make me anxious. Like exercise, small gains are better than overdoing it in a short span of time.

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Steve C.

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Pleasing to the ear is going to be tough.
To some, the melodeon will always be in the banjo/bagpipes/etc. category of instruments to make fun of, no matter how professonally played.
"To thine own self be true..."
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malcolmbebb

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...
Get a tune in your head before you attempt it. You might spend breaks at work with headphones listening to a tune you want to work on. It will be more internalized, and easier to find the melody later. May shorten the learning curve.
...
This is a good suggestion, and one I use if I need to learn a tune (or set of tunes). If you can't be playing then you can be listening.
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Thrupenny Bit

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A mistake I often make is that I hear a tune and want to learn it cos it appeals to me.
I dive straight in with dots or Amazing Slowdowner and am learning a tune in my fingers before I have it in my head.
I must listen more.

To illustrate this I was in France on a family holiday and kept listening to a tune on my ipod, a real ear worm. I'd wake up at night in a thunderstorm and it would go round again. Driving back it was doing laps in my head as I drove.
When I got home and picked up the melodeon I could play 85% straight off, just some of twiddly bits to sort.
For some stupid reason I still try and play a tune before it's in my head......duh  ::)
If you can't play ( at work or whatever ) or are just too tired, try and listen. It's all good learning habits.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Julian S

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I also wonder how our learning ability changes as we get older - maybe hours spent learning skills whilst young can count extra (but maybe the ability to focus and set goals can improve as we get older). Having spent a couple of hours noodling rather than practicing the tunes for a French/Breton session tomorrow I'm not certain that the latter applies to myself !
I admire those who can concentrate on a few tunes, and keep on repeating them to perfect. Obsession and dedication - yes-  but we don't all learn in the same way(and can devote the time) and for me it's more important that we enjoy the learning process, and have fun with the instrument, rather than ending up demoralised by lack of progress.
And then there's the step to playing with other people (or for song accompaniment, or dancing), where learning can sometimes really begin !
(And lastly I fully agree with the points about listening and fixing tunes in the head...so important)
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Thrupenny Bit

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I can't keep at a complex tune for ever. I find I loose incentive and get stale. I've also come to realise if I don't get obsessed by a tune, and get diverted whether noodling or a new tune pops up, when I come back to the original tune it has gone in a bit further whilst I've been away. No idea how that works but it does.

There's also something Squeezy said a while back, about constructive learning and how important things like noodling were to the creative process. Can't remember all of it but being creative/ unconstructed learning is as valid as formal 'learn this tune' type learning.
Q
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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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there is rather more to  to playing a tune than just playing it from the dots or memory!  There are many players of various instruments who claim to be able to play  a long list of tunes but who  do little more than  belt out   the right notes in the right order (ish!)  .  \musicality doesn't seem to enter into it  but techniques including phrasing, rhythm, aand dynamics and most importantly 'playing the gaps' are the hallmark of a half decent player.

Thorough listening to recordings made by top hole players  and absorbing not just the bare tune but the subtle nuances can be very helpful not only to by earists but also to dotists as there is so much that isn't shown on the page of dots.

trying to play along with experts CD's can also be very illuminating and extremely difficult whether it be Tony Hall or Jimmy Shand!

george


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Jonathan Arnett

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My daughter also says it's time for me to take something else up - 'why don't you just play the piano more?'

Bit off topic. Sorry Melisa. But I can no longer play the Piano. Or at least not as I used to as I have a condition with the ligaments in my hand that causes them to contract. Simply put I can't reach octaves anymore. Not a problem with the Melodeon. I chose it over a Piano accordion as  I love the sound and all the notes are in a compact area. Just I have to get used to a diatonic system. I have only been playing under two weeks and was attempting to play Snowy Monday at the time! Which is a bit ambitious. Am a bit better at Cock of the North, Bobby Shaftoe etc. Well at least you can tell what they are.
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Steve C.

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With some seriousness, if someone were to ask me how to "get somewhere" with the melodeon, short of a tutor next door, in my limited experience I would say to get either George or Mally's book and follow it all the way through.  Learn the basic techniques, learn a lot of tunes. 
Find earworms (TOTM great place for it!!) Try and find some venue/people to play for fun (DC/Balt. should not be to hard).
IMHO, too much rote practicing, especially M&P (let me tell you, I have been there, still on vol.1 after years and years) is not bad for you, but is SLOW way to melodeon happiness.
Ask any of your Melnet melodeon heroes if they "ever" practice hours a day or worked their way through MP!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 04:41:06 PM by Steve C. »
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