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Author Topic: Help!  (Read 908 times)

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Simon Cragg

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Help!
« on: March 18, 2018, 11:32:00 PM »

Having had my melodion now for 6 months, I have discovered I am not a natural. All I have achieved is "Happy Birthday", "Jingle Bells" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Just starting on "Ten Green Bottle" The only way I seem to learn anything is by writing the button numbers down and then coloring the blue / push and  red / pull. It seems to take ages to sink in. What am I doing wrong? Is there a better way. I still love playing it, but at this rate will be dead before I can produce something decent!.
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boxcall

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Re: Help!
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 12:21:06 AM »

It's not easy but if you persist you'll get it.
So you are able to write from sheet music? And you are writing out
numbers plus push and pull colors. It may be better to write out the
Notes and learn where they are on the box. This might help you in
the long run. Also if you know a simple tune just try to pick it out,
Maybe find the first couple of notes to get you started then work out the rest.
A tip I picked up from Lester is if you can't find the next note you
need try the last one you hit as your trying to pick out a tune.
It works most of the time.
Also you could look for some lessons, they help a lot.

Edit to add:
when I first started I would write out the notes above or below the staff line because it was easier for me, rather than try to figure which note was which as I was reading across the staff line.
Now I don't need to do this as it comes easily, but you need to know where the note is on the box.

I'm not sure what you have for a box, but most are set up with 3rd or 4th button push start of the scale. So if the key of the row your on is C, say third button start. Push that button and say C, pull it say D, next button push say E, pull say F, next button push say G, pull say A, next pull say B, push say C. Keep doing this all the way up and down the row until you know what notes are where. It might help to print your box configuration so you can see the notes as you do it. This is really just to help with reading music. The best way is to play by ear if you can , I'm still struggling with this but getting better. In some ways it's the same because you still have to know where the sound is located on the box.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 12:45:52 AM by boxcall »
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Hohner 1040 C, Beltuna one row four stop D, O'Byrne Dewitt/ Baldoni bros. D/C#, Paolo soprani "pepperpot" one row D

Edward Jennings

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Re: Help!
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 06:12:33 AM »

Oh, Simon, what a tale of woe! I would have given up long before now, you must be soooooo frustrated.
I started at 63, with very little patience or application, but found that I could play a few (deeply embedded) tunes almost straight away. Mind you, I don't have a clue about notes and things!
It seems to be so difficult for you; I even wondered if you're trying to play from music which is written in a key that is different from the box you're trying to play it on? You have checked this, haven't you?
As Boxcall says, your scale usually starts on either button number three, or four, on the push; happily that's also the same note that many of those simple, embedded from childhood, tunes also start. If you discard your music for a minute, press that button and push the bellows together, then you can take that as your first note of the tune.
With Twinkle twinkle, the first two notes are the same, then the next note can be easily found by listening to the tune in your head and fiddling about on the buttons and bellows direction for the next, which is two buttons up the row, also on the push and also twice. Of course that may not be in the "proper" key, but the tune will be the same.
As I said above, I'd have given up if I hadn't made some progress very easily. Once you have the ability to find the notes you want, then a player who reads music as well might be able to play from music easier. Sadly, I haven't progressed very much from having to learn a tune in my head before attempting to play it on one of my instruments, but that's down to my idleness and lack of musical knowledge as much as anything else.
Good luck, and I hope you find some improvement before too long.
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Edward
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Hohner 114 in G. Hohner 1040 in C. International One Row 2 voice in D.  17 button 8 bass, bandoneon tuned, Squirrel with stops for both treble voices in C/F. Dino Baffetti Organetto in C. Ancient M. Hohner 2 voice 1 row in C. Plus projects and parts of projects.
http://ourluxorflat.blogspot.co.uk/

Simon Cragg

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Re: Help!
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 08:15:42 AM »

Many thanks to you all for your encouragement, very helpful. I will never give up on it, as it is a real challenge, and even playing "Happy Birthday" for somebody recently was brilliant. (They all sang along and loved it). There just seems to be a disconnect between me reading the numbers / push / pull, thinking about it, and then getting the right fingers to press the right buttons. What makes it worse, is that I only have partial feeling in my ring and little finger on my right hand. I have had to put a blob of blue tac on two of the buttons to help feel where they are. I think I have got the key right when I get going (my box is a d/g), as the notes sound about right. Oh well, keep practicing daily it is then!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Help!
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 08:25:39 AM »

Having had my melodion now for 6 months, I have discovered I am not a natural. All I have achieved is "Happy Birthday", "Jingle Bells" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Just starting on "Ten Green Bottle" The only way I seem to learn anything is by writing the button numbers down and then coloring the blue / push and  red / pull. It seems to take ages to sink in. What am I doing wrong? Is there a better way. I still love playing it, but at this rate will be dead before I can produce something decent!.

The melodeon is a strange beast. For a beginner, it is not the most straightforward instrument to play from written music, regardless of additional aids such as colouring notes, button numbers, etc.

However, it is far better suited to playing 'by ear', but to do that you need to have the tune fixed in your head first of all. If you can sing or hum a tune then you have a good chance of being able to play it on the melodeon without needing to see the tune written down.

Question: can you play those tunes you mentioned ("Happy Birthday", "Jingle Bells" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star") without looking at your sheet music? If so, then you will be able to play other tunes which you haven't tried yet.

My advice is to forget written music of any sort and just start to pick out tunes which you already know in your head. So - nursery rhymes, hymn tunes, carols, etc. are very good. Don't worry about playing the correct 'written' notes. Just poke about on the rows of the melodeon and let the tune find its own buttons, as it were. For example: a tune such as 'Frere Jacques' can be played on one row of any melodeon. If you know a few simple traditional tunes in your head such as 'Winster Gallop' or 'Oh dear what can the matter be?' you might try those too. But at this stage do not use written music.

Once you can pick out a few tunes in this way, you should hopefully find that the relationship between what you know in your head, and what buttons and bellows direction to use, starts to become automatic.
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Steve
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Help!
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 08:47:39 AM »

As ever, Steve said it so much more eloquently and persuasively than I did, and he's a highly skilled player and musician to boot!
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Edward
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Hohner 114 in G. Hohner 1040 in C. International One Row 2 voice in D.  17 button 8 bass, bandoneon tuned, Squirrel with stops for both treble voices in C/F. Dino Baffetti Organetto in C. Ancient M. Hohner 2 voice 1 row in C. Plus projects and parts of projects.
http://ourluxorflat.blogspot.co.uk/

Bryan Field

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Re: Help!
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 10:29:34 AM »

Simon, I picked up my melodeon in September of last year. I am 67, I think age makes a difference. I have eleven tunes down and am learning the B/C box. My musical friends tell me I'm doing pretty well. To me the layout is somewhat illogical. Everything I play so far is in the key of D and so played across the keys. I make an effort to practice everyday for at least 20 minutes. I don't read music but have found the ABC system to be very easy to follow. I get the feeling from this website that the instrument takes a fair amount of upfront work and then suddenly you can play. That's what I'm betting on. I think it boils down to familiarizing your fingers with the notes you hear in your head. That only comes from practice. That's the philosophy that is keeping me going. I am hoping that I'm on the right track! I guess this can be summarized as "Everything comes to him/her who practices and waits"
I'd be interested in the feedback of the veteran players out there to get their feedback.
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Steve Coombes

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Re: Help!
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 10:46:23 AM »


I was kicked off the school orchestra for playing the triangle in the wrong place, also when I first picked up the melodeon and was handed a copy of the Rodger Watson teach yourself melodeon book and managed to get the pushes and pulls reversed. From a deeply unpromising start (and I'm still slow at learning new tunes), the melodeon brings me a lot of joy.
 I've found that most of the books produced by Dave Mallinson have very clear print and easy to follow sound track CDs, these are my main learning resource.
Some sessions will have a slow section to start and even if you can't join in then you'll get a chance to absorb the popular local tunes.
Recently I found out (from a post somewhere on here) that you can slow the play of you tube clips this is great for watching how people play.
Starting with tunes that are already lodged firmly in you brain is a very good place to start, try out a few some will flow some won't.
Building up muscle memory does take time but sooner or later you'll find your fingers just working without much conscious thought.
Good luck
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Re: Help!
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 12:39:45 PM »

"Mally for the complete beginner", excellent. Covers near everything.  Several members also have tuitions.  There is a list, somewhere?
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Nigel

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Re: Help!
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 04:36:15 PM »

I'm not a natural musician and can remember your position, Simon. Trust me, it will start to click if you continue to practice. The Melodeon PlayGroups have been so beneficial in sharing experience with my peers assisted by wonderful tutors in an informal environment. There is one coming up in the North East, followed by Derbyshire in the Autumn and the major original one near Evesham usually in February. I don't know where you live but will happily talk more about them. Regular tuition is also good - I have mine by skype with Mel Biggs.           
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exiletaff

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Re: Help!
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 05:43:03 PM »

Just keep going. Practice often even 5 minutes, leave it if it goes bad. I started at 69, no music previously, now just over 4 years in about 30 Morris tunes ok and 10 others better. Now also read music. So, flog it hard and suddenly whoopee most of a tune will sound right. (I ignore the odd mistake, just smile and nod).

Al
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Simon Cragg

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Re: Help!
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2018, 06:57:26 PM »

Yet more really good info. What a helpful bunch you are, I am very grateful.
I am going to try the method that Steve suggested, and try to play a bit more by ear, and not rely so much on the numbers / colours. Oddly enough, I have found on the odd occasion that sometimes I just have to "think" the notes and it just happens!
Back to the practice room!.
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Martin P

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Re: Help!
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 07:03:06 PM »

Boring basics, but practice scales more (entirely from memory). Put the music away, and play tunes you know in your head.
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Mike Carney

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Re: Help!
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 07:28:01 PM »

Simon, I would recommend not giving up yet, and giving it just a bit longer. Stick with Steve’s advice and as you play tunes that are inside you (don’t worry about the left hand) just gradually notice which buttons seem to be the right ones. Melodeon learning even for existing musicians is an odd thing IMHO, and it takes a good steady plod at the start. I think you are in the Deep South, so too far away for us Yorkshire folk to fraternize with... but keep going. And try to get some tuition if you can, even if only one or two pointer sessions.
Best of luck
Mike
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boxcall

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Re: Help!
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 07:48:42 PM »

I love this poem.  It's more about life but also useful for this thread.
Keep a-goin' ! (:)



If you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin'!
If it hails or if it snows,
Keep a-goin'!
'Taint no use to sit an' whine
When the fish ain't on your line;
Bait your hook an' keep a-tryin'--
Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills your crop,
Keep a-goin'!
Though 'tis work to reach the top,
Keep a-goin'!
S'pose you're out o' ev'ry dime,
Gittin' broke ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime--
Keep a-goin'!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin', sing--
Keep a-goin'!

 Author: by Frank L. Stanton (1857-1927)
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Calum

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Re: Help!
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 02:54:52 PM »

Melodeon learning even for existing musicians is an odd thing IMHO

This is definitely true.  I know my way round things with keyboards, strings, and reeds, and I can pull a tune out of most things if you give me five minutes, but the in and out style of thinking needs my brain to reprogram itself.

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Barlow

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Re: Help!
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 05:25:58 PM »

(sorry if this sounds basic or obvious) Play the scale a few times up and down, to try and get that key in your head - the G or the D depending on which row you are going to use. Then by trial and error work out which note to start whatever tune you want to play. Once you get it, hammer it until the neighbours start banging on the walls.

And keep doing that.
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Helena

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Re: Help!
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 05:43:45 PM »

I struggled for a few months with various tutor books and got basically nowhere. Then I went to Sidmouth and did the Beginners workshop with Ed Rennie and bought his tutor book - and THAT worked. It's different to the others because it has not only the usual CD but also a DVD showing both ends of the melodeon at the same time - so you can see what you are supposed to be doing as well as hear.  That, along with Ed's system of notation which uses colour-coded red/blue pushes and pulls which was much more immediate to me than notation using arrows or letters - the colours tell you when to pull and push. The notation system is intended as training wheels to get you reading music which is exactly how it worked for me (before anyone says that using notation or tab other than the staff is bad).

I like the system so much I used it (with Ed's permission) at the recent Melodeon Playgroup with the absolute beginners group with much success. So yeah, I'm biased but it worked for me and others in our local steady speed group.

Available direct from Ed as well as E-bay or Amazon.

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Pete Dunk

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Re: Help!
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 06:48:29 PM »

Hi Simon, welcome to the forum. No need to be specific but whereabouts in the world are you? There may be a forum member in your area willing to give you a leg up or just show you a few pointers. At least one member here gives online lessons via Skype so you may find that helpful. Don't give up, keep at it and you'll get there!
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Re: Help!
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 09:26:45 PM »

Hello, Simon.
I had my box for about six months without getting anywhere with it. Felt a bit like you sound. I went a had a few (I think it was four) lessons with Pauline aka Ganderbox, sometimes of this parish. By the end of them I was sorted out, wound up and ready to go. I highly recommend a few lessons with one of the teachers listed

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/page,teachers.html
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