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Author Topic: Blank Slate  (Read 4125 times)

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PhilD

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Blank Slate
« on: February 14, 2019, 05:21:21 PM »

If you could restart your Melodeon journey again, fresh, with a blank slate, what would you do differently?

I'm just about to start out, I know I'll make mistakes, and I'll embrace them and learn from them, but I'd like hear about the potholes you would have preferred to avoid when you started.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 05:51:22 PM »

Oooh good one. I'm in the same boat as you, so I'll be eagerly watching this thread.
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Theo

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 05:56:08 PM »

My biggest mistake was ignoring good advice to stick with my very nice black Hohner Erica.  After about 6 months I traded it for a lovely looking wooden bodied Italian box in the belief that it would improve my playing.  It didn’t. If I’d waited a couple of years till I’d developed some competence I would have been able to tell from a few minutes playing that the Italian box was no easier to play than the Erica,  and I could have saved myself several hundred pounds.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Rees

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 05:59:39 PM »

I'd start building them at 25 not 55!
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Lester

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 05:59:50 PM »

I would not have started on a one row four stop.

John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 06:03:29 PM »

I would not have become friends with Greg Dunn.  >:E


SJ
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There is no beginning to my talent :)



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Fred

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 06:24:30 PM »

I would not do anything differently. It's my journey and I enjoy having experienced it.
Learning a new instrument is wonderful and developing your own style is just as important as making steps in the wrong direction.
Do whatever is fun to you and don't stop practising.
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Martin P

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2019, 07:42:25 PM »

Learn with 4 fingers on LH. I can’t kick the 3 finger LH habit, despite having 12 bass buttons to operate. Seems my little finger on LH just not flexible enough to reach the C bass note (on a D/G).
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Guy

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 07:45:23 PM »

I’d have started playing aged 5 not 35!

Cheers,
Guy
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george garside

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2019, 08:03:11 PM »

I sometimes wonder whether I would start on a DG box  if I was starting over again in 2019.  I started on  a BC in the '50s  and progressed to BCC# and still get  a lot of pleasure playing the semitone boxes.  DG etc boxes didn't exist when I started  and it was a long time after when I added a DG pokerwork because I had been roped in by a morris side  and the DG with its rhythmic bass was for more suitable than the BC with fairly useless bass for driving a rhythm. I also  as part of the bargain became involed in 'English' sessions  for which the light but powerful DG was ideal cos nearly everything was /is in D or G  and if needs must A is quite easy ( more or less the same as playing in G on a BC!


For what its worth I feel that starting on a semitone box has stood me in good stead  and making the journey the way I did  was perhaps easier than starting on a DG and later throwing in a BC or BCC#  as me the similarities are far greater  than the differences.

george

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Alan Pittwood

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 08:35:14 PM »

Concentrated solely on Erica-sized [and smaller] instruments and bought other key combinations.

Realised that many of the older players were alive and and could have been heard in sessions/performances in the 1970s [though I still would have bought all the Topic LPs]

Otherwise no changes.  And thanks to all the dancers who let me practice while playing for them.



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Helena Handcart

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 09:22:45 PM »

If you could restart your Melodeon journey again, fresh, with a blank slate, what would you do differently?

I'd probably have got an anglo  >:E (and about 25 years earlier).
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playandteach

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2019, 10:40:31 PM »

I would probably have bought the same 2 boxes I have now, but I would also have bought the first box I borrowed - an old Hohner Bb/Eb with very long bellows.
I might have invested more time playing on the row, as my bellows use for changing note is very poor. May still try to borrow a one row (Vienna style) to see if it isn't too late to develop that skill.
I could complain about not being able to remember tunes at all, but that isn't a bad choice that I made, just a problem with the way my brain works.
I might have taken more opportunities to play with others though (getting over my embarrassment is still an issue).
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Tufty

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2019, 11:18:39 PM »

Where to begin! 1. Start with a two row, not a 4 stop one row 2. Travel to meet the remaining traditional players 3. Start using more than 2 fingers for the left hand 4. Learn some basics of "dots". 5. Not drop out of the folk scene for the whole of the 1990s. Having said all this I have rather enjoyed the last 40 years of squeezing!
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Eshed

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 11:19:00 PM »

I would not do anything differently. It's my journey and I enjoy having experienced it.
Learning a new instrument is wonderful and developing your own style is just as important as making steps in the wrong direction.
Do whatever is fun to you and don't stop practising.
Good on you! I'm rather satisfied myself as well at the moment!
One thing that others said before me - meet and play with other players as soon as possible. You don't have to be "good enough"; even the best players weren't always best and most people are incredibly friendly.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 11:22:20 PM by Eshed »
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I'm playing all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the wrong order.

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2019, 07:27:50 AM »

I agree entirely with Fred, I have enjoyed my journey very much indeed and, through necessity, I have done it my way. There are no teachers where I live, so it is just me and You Tube.
The only thing I would change if I were to start again, is that I would not buy any old Hohners. I seem to have developed a huge dislike for the typical wet sound of Hohners - it is too rich for my ears. Like chocolate, the first taste is lovely but, if I eat the whole bar I feel sick!
I feel, in this company, I need to apologize for that  :(
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xgx

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2019, 10:58:21 AM »

If only...

... been playing for umptynine years and now struggling (!) to learn the Bass side and playing across the rows to get the 'correct' combination  (Old dog, new tricks  ;D )

...  having to change most of my fingering (!) that's the price of taking the easy route up and down the rows, ignoring the basses when I started :(


« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 02:05:20 PM by xgx »
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Graham

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Jesse Smith

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2019, 02:02:22 PM »

I don't feel that I've made too many regrettable mistakes in the year or so that I've been playing. I have good teachers in the tutor book I am using (Dave Mallinson's D/G Melodeon Beginner book) and in all of the very helpful people on this forum. It's a great resource, and one can learn a lot simply by trawling through old threads.

The one regret I do have is letting a schedule change over the summer result in me not really practicing much from August until just this January. I wish I hadn't lost that time.

I know the original poster was looking for suggestions of beginner pitfalls or "bad habits" to avoid. xgx has a good one - introduce the bass side fairly early and don't get in the habit of ignoring the basses (assuming you want to use them at some point). The reason for this is that what chords you play with the left hand determine the bellow direction, which will in turn determine which row you play your melody notes on with the right hand. If you learn a tune without giving any thought to the basses, then you will need to completely rework the fingering in order to add the left hand in later.

Best suggestion I can offer is listen obsessively to the kind of music you want to play and think about what the player is doing to get that sound. The more you listen, the more you will internalize the typical rhythms and dynamics of the music.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2019, 03:07:18 PM »

I know the original poster was looking for suggestions of beginner pitfalls or "bad habits" to avoid. xgx has a good one - introduce the bass side fairly early and don't get in the habit of ignoring the basses (assuming you want to use them at some point). The reason for this is that what chords you play with the left hand determine the bellow direction, which will in turn determine which row you play your melody notes on with the right hand. If you learn a tune without giving any thought to the basses, then you will need to completely rework the fingering in order to add the left hand in later.

I both agree and disagree with this.

Agree:
That it is good to learn to use both hands together right from the start, even though it might seem slow going at first. But in my experience of teaching, it is far harder to learn the basses/chords subsequently, having had students who have gone through a thought process of "I'll get the right-hand techniques sorted first and then when I am more fluent, I'll tackle the left hand." That's usually a big mistake and difficult to break the habit of playing melody only.

Disagree, at least in part:
Quote
what chords you play with the left hand determine the bellow direction, which will in turn determine which row you play your melody notes on with the right hand. If you learn a tune without giving any thought to the basses, then you will need to completely rework the fingering in order to add the left hand in later.

Yes - I understand the logic in this, and for playing cross-row fluid style, it's a good approach to sort the basses/chords out first and fit the bellows directions and rows around the harmonies. It's the way in which many European players learn. BUT...

...it somewhat disregards the fantastic rhythmic drive which you can achieve by playing up-and-down on the rows and treating the basses/chords as a rhythmic, almost percussive accompaniment not necessarily using the 'correct harmonies', and which suits so much traditional English music. One-row four-stop boxes are superb for this sort of music. I know (again from teaching experience) that 'on the row' players can fairly readily adapt to cross-row technique and harmonically correct left-hand chords when needed. In contrast, many cross-row players brought up on a continental technique can really struggle when trying to 'unlearn' their nice correct playing (;)) and switch to something far more earthy and driven. Don't eschew one-row technique - it's good valid stuff. 
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Steve
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xgx

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Re: Blank Slate
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2019, 03:17:56 PM »

(... the fantastic rhythmic drive which you can achieve by playing up-and-down on the rows and treating the basses/chords as a rhythmic, almost percussive accompaniment not necessarily using the 'correct harmonies', and which suits so much traditional English music. (...)

I knew that   (:)  (yeah, right ... ;D )
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Graham

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