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Author Topic: Beginner problems  (Read 3241 times)

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The Oul' Boy

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Beginner problems
« on: February 11, 2019, 07:13:21 PM »

OK, so I've had my DG Pokerwork for just over a month, and I'm coming on a storm on the treble side, banging out any straight-forward tunes that come into my head, though not always perfectly of course. Just today I picked it up and played Horn Fair (which I know from Spiers & Boden, a very sweet tune on the melodeon) pretty much straight off without having planned to or thinking about it. So things are going well on that front...

But then come the difficulties. I can oom-pah or oom-pah-pah all day on the bass end, and can play Frere Jacques on it without thinking too much, but I'm damned if I can get the bass and treble ends to go together. As soon as I try, things fall apart entirely. I can just about play the Winster Gallop with oom-pahs in slow motion, but even then it's awful, and everything else is a non-starter, especially when there's not a one-to-one match in the beats on the treble and bass ends. Any tips for how to get past this impasse would be much appreciated! (No doubt Richard or someone will be along soon to tell me I should have gone with B/C, and part of me can't help thinking the same even though I love my DG; indeed Theo has a nice one for sale right now, hmm, MAD may be another problem I have, or would be if I had any spare cash...)

A few other things are giving a bit of trouble too. The change in bellows direction on buttons 11 and 12 tends to catch me out as my brain keeps expecting the scale to keep going as it was. Presumably this will come with practice. And whilst my scary melodeon faces have toned down a bit (it has helped to play in front of the mirror for some reason), I'm still breathing with the bellows a bit. I'm also pulling my right shoulder way back, which seems to be the only way I can get my right hand to where I want it, but it's not comfortable. Tips on breathing and posture are also welcome.

Thanks for your help and advice!


 
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Warren M
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Theo

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 07:21:44 PM »

You are doing well but it takes time and patience, so relax, don’t rush it. Don’t try to work on too many tunes, one or two is plenty to begin with.  I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “banging out” tunes,  but it makes me think that you might be rushing.  Try to chill out take a more relaxed pace and think about the rhythm and feel of the tune. That way you will be learning good playing habits. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Lester

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 07:27:33 PM »

I'm afraid to say that the answer to the treble v bass problem is perseverance. I usually get people going on Donkey Riding as the bass and treble mostly go at the same speed, but as you say you are getting somewhere with Winster Gallop I suggest practice followed by more practice. The good news is one day it will just click and you wont know why it was such a great deal.


As to bellows directions changes I recommend you play scales for a while every day and the change will become second nature.


And finally to posture. Assuming you are using two straps have you got them adjusted so that the keyboard lies on a chin to bellybutton line, this should give your right arm more freedom and thus preventing pains.

Helena Handcart

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 07:46:38 PM »

Perseverance is pretty much it.  Well do I remember the frustration.  I actually learnt basses first on 'Speed the Plough' - someone (possibly on here) told me that the right and left hands were evenly matched and it was a good one to start with. Not sure how true that is but it is good that you care enough to be concerned about this issue - I have known players ignore the basses because they are difficult and rush off, developing relative fluency on the right hand only having to pretty much re-learn the whole instrument when playing basses becomes unavoidable. Equally I have seen one or two players who are unable to separate the left and right hands so that the basses mimic the treble end exactly in rhythm - not a good habit to get into and it would seem not an easy one to get out of.

If you are using any sort of notation I could suggest writing B (bass) and C (chord) under the relevant notes - this was a ruse I came up with and it seemed to help although it was a long time ago now.
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The Oul' Boy

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2019, 08:06:16 PM »

Thanks all, couldn't ask for more experienced feedback! I probably am rushing it a bit, but I kind of can't help playing whatever comes into my head when I pick the melodeon up (that's what I mean by banging out, i.e. not reading the music or playing along with anything), though I'm also practicing the starter tunes from the Garside and Rennie tutor books every day too. I'll keep persevering with the bass and see if I can get any better at matching it up with the treble, hopefully the click will happen one day! Writing B and C under the notes is a good idea Helena, thank you, I think that will help (I probably need to look at the dots more rather than working the tune out then playing it from memory from then on).

As for the posture, the right side does seem to roughly be along my button line (I have two straps), so maybe I'm just compensating for the weight on the left-hand side, I'm not sure. I'll work on not pulling my shoulder back to see if it helps.

Much appreciated, still early days of course, so I've much to learn.

Warren.
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Warren M
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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 08:18:57 PM »

Hi Warren,
The best advice I was given when starting wad to get both hands working together.
As you're experiencing, it is a headbanger, but one that is worth keeping at. One day it *will* happen and the brain will have got around the problem.
Helena's right, if you just get used to playing on the right hand, you will have to re-learn fingering if you want to play the basses. Re-learning, in my experience, is twice as hard!

Theo's right too, just chill and keep at it. He once told me it'll take time and he was right, but once the door opens...  :|||:
Good luck
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

The Oul' Boy

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 08:31:00 PM »

Thanks Thrupenny! I'm enjoying it enormously so far, even if it is difficult. Good to see I can still learn something new in my mid 40s, hopefully with a bit of practice it will get easier.
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Warren M
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 08:31:59 PM »

... I'm also practicing the starter tunes from the Garside and Rennie tutor books every day too...

If you've got Ed's book you'll also have the DVD - I found the DVD really helped because I could actually see what the two hands were supposed to be doing - even when I couldn't quite do it myself.
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The Oul' Boy

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 08:33:31 PM »

I have, though I haven't had time to look at it yet, as I only got it last week.
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Warren M
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 08:38:20 PM »

I have, though I haven't had time to look at it yet, as I only got it last week.

Aha - then that would be my top tip. I found the DVD really useful - CDs are all very well but if you can hear that what you are doing is wrong but don't know how to correct it then you're a bit stuffed. Having the DVD in split screen means you can see as well as hear what you are supposed to sound like - really useful if you don't have an experienced player on hand to guide you.


I started playing when I was 40 - and that was actually quite young.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 09:20:01 PM »

Two hints:

1.  Metronome.  There are all sorts of ways to set the tick-tock from "beats" to "bars".  I prefer the old- fashioned pendulum gizmos and found that rather than having to keep up with it, it kept me from rushing into whatever was problematic, letting me know there was plenty of time and to relax into it.  A steadily dripping faucet is just as good...

2.  You don't need an instrument to practice "hands".  Select your rhythm (polka, march, hornpipe, jig, waltz, whatever) and pat the basic beat with your LH, then pat out the rhythm of the melody with your RH over the LH pulse.  You can begin the LH slowly with only the "bass button" (1 & 3 in even meter), then double up with "bass/chord" (1,2,3,4).

Pat LH in caps, pat RH per syllable:

WHAT shall we DO with the DRUNK-en SAIL-or...


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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2019, 09:28:33 PM »

To be honest, I think you're worrying about a nothing thing. Your brain has to burn pathways. It will already be happening and will continue to happen. You can't force it. Much better to wait for it. Do the things people recommend and the phase will pass.
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Greg Smith
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Daz Barry

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 08:31:59 AM »

Hiya this has been very interesting.I have learnt a lot.can you give me the name of the dvd and where I can get it.I'm really enjoying learning the melodeon and as you say taking it slowly.Daz😎
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2019, 08:36:42 AM »

Hiya this has been very interesting.I have learnt a lot.can you give me the name of the dvd and where I can get it.I'm really enjoying learning the melodeon and as you say taking it slowly.Daz😎

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Melodeon-Tutor-Edmund-Rennie/dp/0957284608
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2019, 08:47:07 AM »

Thanks will send for it today.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2019, 07:06:57 PM »

I think it's very worth your time to challenge yourself with coordinating bass rhythms with melody in your first months (or any months!). The different options of playing a melody note without changing bass, playing a new bass without a melody note, for all the different common tune structures. One of the most important lessons I got from tutor books, I think. It took me quite a long time (months) of occasional studying the book, playing & solo learning to get it all sorted and to feel like I'd really scored a victory over, let alone conquered, egan's polka and cock of the north. I think if I'd had a DVD or lessons it would have helped a lot.

I'd suggest focussing on playing one or two bars at a time, figuring out each 'step' your hands will have to go through, note by note, bass by bass, but, linked together - slowly, without worrying about keeping the rhythm too much. That way you can perhaps begin to mentally construct the individual states of your two hands in combination, without changing your fingers if they're not supposed to, or, adding in the steps your brain wanted you to skip over. Then you can slowly try to add the rhythm, and then speed, back in. I still use this method, and I'm sure others do too, for leaning/figuring out how to play any strange tunes that defy the tools I've generated so far, or have confusing rhythms of pushes and pulls.
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The Oul' Boy

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2019, 08:03:29 PM »

Thanks so much everyone, you've all been very helpful. I shall persevere, keep going with the slow-motion playing of treble with bass, and hopefully things will eventually click (I even felt a slight improvement on the Winster Gallop today thanks to your encouragement, though oom-pa-pa-ing to 'Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be' still seems to be beyond me for now).  :||:
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Warren M
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The Oul' Boy

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2019, 08:05:37 PM »

I'd suggest focussing on playing one or two bars at a time, figuring out each 'step' your hands will have to go through, note by note, bass by bass, but, linked together - slowly, without worrying about keeping the rhythm too much.

Yes, this seems to produce results (of a sort), painful and cacophonous though they might be right now. Thanks!
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Warren M
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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2019, 11:50:59 PM »

The good news is that like everyone says, it comes with practice and suddenly it's no big deal. I put the two hands together with Frere Jacques as well (from Dave Mallinson's book). It doesn't surprise me that Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be is extra-tricky; I think most people have trouble getting the oom-pah-pah of waltz time right at first since your hand wants to oom-pah-oom like you just taught it to.

So that's the good news. The "bad" news is that once you get this you'll be wanting to switch chords, and then control the length of the oom and the pah, and then you'll want to go beyond oom-pahs and start adding bass runs, and basically it just never ends. ::)
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Lester

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Re: Beginner problems
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2019, 07:44:46 AM »

Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be seems to me to be an excellent choice for learning waltz basses, as there is not a great deal going on on the treble that is not aligned with something going on on the basses.

Stick with it
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