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Author Topic: Fanning the flame  (Read 5188 times)

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playandteach

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Fanning the flame
« on: October 05, 2019, 05:35:05 PM »

I'm not picking up the box as much these days. Still following the forum, and playing every couple of weeks, but not finding either the TOTM inspiring or finding another reason to play. Clearly I don't play with anyone, and have other musical outlets - namely my job, but I want to be in some sort of melodeon shape to enjoy Wensleydale next spring.
Any tips on what to do to get back into it? I've written probably as many tunes as I'm going to have in my head.
I mainly play French style tunes on a GC 2 row, but also have a DG. I'm in the far north east of England.
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Tiposx

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 07:51:39 PM »

Having a friend to play along with is a big incentive. Another fillip is to keep learning new tunes, or visit a pub session, if you can find one that plays your kind of music.
Also a change of instrument now and then eg to mandolin or concertina can help.
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Winston Smith

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 08:37:45 PM »

"not finding either the TOTM inspiring or finding another reason to play"

Hi, P&T. We all have different reasons for wanting to play, mine is just that I enjoy trying to play tunes which I like. But, from what I've read of your journey on here, you seem to prefer the challenge of perfecting playing a new instrument and enjoying the sounds which you can get out of them.
I'm still happy to try knocking out tunes (you've heard my playing, haha!) so I'm still happy to just be able to do that. Whereas, since you have conquered the 4th apart system (yes, I've heard your playing, too!) it would seem that that challenge has been met, and you've now nowhere to go with the melodeon!
How about taking up another system, like the half-step boxes B/C, C#/D etc.? Being a proper musician, however, I'm sure that you'd soon overcome that challenge also, and then what? Perhaps you might develop an interest in playing for dance, or the Morris, I'm sure that there'd be an opportunity somewhere local for either of these melodeon music outlets.
Good luck, anyway, it would certainly be a shame if we were altogether deprived of your talent for lovely squeezebox playing!
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 08:53:59 PM »

There's a nice informal monthly session in the church tower in Corbridge. Sunday lunchtime and there's a micro brewery there.
Get along to that and just busk along. It'll do wonders for your playing by ear journey too. Play a party piece when it's your turn and everyone will support you.
It won't be French stuff but there'll be string people who will play in C with you
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 09:45:59 PM »

For inspiring French music, you could do worse than visit the Festival des Panards at Todmorden next weekend (11 - 13 October). There will be some great music in the bals on Friday and Saturday night, a range of workshops on Saturday (including a melodeon workshop led by Pierre Marceau of Trio Morvan) and an opportunity to play in an informal bal on Sunday. More details can be found at http://www.frenchdanceleeds.co.uk/
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playandteach

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2019, 09:53:45 PM »

There's a nice informal monthly session in the church tower in Corbridge. Sunday lunchtime and there's a micro brewery there.
Get along to that and just busk along. It'll do wonders for your playing by ear journey too. Play a party piece when it's your turn and everyone will support you.
Thanks, Pete. I know the Peal Tower, and you're right that I need to develop the ability (not so much to play by ear, but to remember what I've just played - although the ear stuff is ture too). I'll try to get along without a box to start with - although Sundays are never good days for me. No chance that I'll play a party piece though.

Winston, it might well be that a different box (more rows, more basses) could be an answer - though I have far from conquered what I have already.

Tiposx, I could pick up a guitar I suppose, as I'm very good mates with Stefan Sobell, and he'd lend me a stunning one, but that might take me on a long journey elsewhere. I already know from trying once before that the finger picking style would be the one to tempt me - and not barre chords or strumming in general. You are right that having an outlet - or like minded person to play with would make a difference. There is a village band here run by David Oliver, but the volume doesn't fit with tinnitus.

Bob, that looks great. Not enough notice for this time - other commitments (table tennis matches), but I'll keep an eye out for that sort of thing. Thanks.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 09:58:04 PM by playandteach »
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Peadar

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 12:31:38 AM »

When the fun stops stop....as William Hill counsels those with a gambling addiction.

Take a break. Head for the hills. Buy an old & cheap 1 row, remember that when it was new it was the best and  almost certainly the only box the owner could afford.

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Julian S

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 04:12:47 PM »

How to keep motivated - and not be disheartened or too self critical at apparent lack of progress in playing. My problem as well - when I stopped working I did wonder about learning another instrument but my Wife started learning violin and I realised that concentrating on improving my box playing would be less stressful all round !
 So I started going to more workshops, listening to a wider range of music, learned more French music, started a little French and Breton session with dancing as well. Sessions can be fun, but also can be fraught with problems and I really prefer playing in a small group where we can all hear each other and enjoy each others playing. And play more interesting and challenging tunes together.
I don't know much about your area, but maybe there are other musicians in your patch who might share your musical tastes - or might like to learn with you. The trio I play with grew out of playing for a newly formed Border Morris side (yep - Marmite stuff I know) but I would always say that playing for dancing is a great way of keeping motivated and also improving. After all, many of the tunes we play are fundamentally for dancing to !
I'm also interested P+T - any opportunities to use traditional music in your school? Or perhaps you would prefer to keep work and hobbies well separated. ::)

Finally, we're hoping to be having a few days in your area, P+T, in early November, and I gather that Trio Dhoore are playing nearby around then. For me, hearing great musicians play can be both disheartening (why can't I play like that ?) and reinvigorating (great new tunes to learn - whooppee !)

Julian



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playandteach

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 06:13:40 PM »

Thanks, Julian
I'd forgotten about Trio Dhoore coming. I meant to buy tickets ages ago. We do have a folk group in school, they're good. They prefer to be self-governing at the moment, even turning down - perhaps not the wisest choice, but I've given them their heads - a really fine local fiddler to run the odd rehearsal. I think I'd mess up their self contained status if I played with them this year. I do think some sort of reason to play other than by myself might be an answer.
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arty

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2019, 01:37:26 PM »

Hi Pete...thinking about your position at the moment and having read the replies so far, can I throw in my threepenneth?
When I think of you, I always think of a very experienced musician in the classical genre. I am wondering if it is the type of music that you are playing on your melodeon, the English Folk Music, the French Trad and Contemporary Folk Music, that is leaving you wanting and, as a result, losing enthusiasm. Please don’t take this too much to heart, I don’t want to cause hurt, but sometimes, listening to you play, is like listening to Pavarotti sing the Beatles. You can tell that his heart, his ingrained musicality is not really in it. His voice, his training, his delivery was just too sophisticated and He didn’t come alive until he was singing Puccini or some other demanding aria - then he came in to his own and touched us all with his incredible voice.
I was listening to this, this morning and I thought of you. I can imagine you making an absolutely fantastic job of this kind of music....you have the musical knowledge, the musical skills and most of all, you have the heart.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KAR7zEHGWIc

Could you not find music of this type, to duet with your flautist daughter? I can imagine that could be wonderful. Do you know a competent pianist to accompany you?

I hope you don’t mind my speaking my mind, it is meant to help, not injure. I just think that you should be thinking ‘Concerts’, not ‘Sessions’.

I notice that Pete at Acorn has a Castagnari One Row in D !
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playandteach

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2019, 05:03:29 PM »

I know your comments are always well intentioned, no problem hearing your views. I do like the French stuff I've played otherwise I wouldn't have taken up the melodeon at all. I love Naragonia, and having workshops with them at Wensleydale was inspiring. As to whether it sounds like my heart isn't in it, isn't for me to say. I'm certainly no virtuoso for the concert scene though. I've wondered about a one row at times, but mainly to force my skills for two row playing. There are instruments I can play better if I just want to play. I think if I had the money for that one row, though, I'd trade in my other instruments and buy something like the GC Pariselle (although I don't actually know how that plays).
Thanks for the thoughts, I'll have a ponder.
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baz parkes

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2019, 05:15:39 PM »

I don't know if it helps, but there seems to be something in the air at the moment.

Several of my box playing friends are going through the same thing, and I did a while ago.

Hopefully, like all things, it will pass... :|glug
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Winston Smith

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2019, 05:48:55 PM »

"I've wondered about a one row at times"

If you fancy trying a 1 row for a bit, I've one or two which you could easily borrow.
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RogerT

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2019, 08:29:08 PM »

Get along to a folk session. Play with other people. That’s the beat cure.

playandteach

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2019, 10:47:42 PM »

If you fancy trying a 1 row for a bit, I've one or two which you could easily borrow.
I know you would happily. I won't hesitate to ask if I do. Thanks.
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David Summers

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2019, 10:57:26 AM »

Hi P&T, think we've only chatted on one thread, but its clear you are an excellent musician.

To my mind whats key is that you enjoy yourself. So to my mind I say music away from work, where you can interact with people, and maybe pass on your knowledge.

Guess this then takes into whats the local music you can do, are there any local choirs, are there any local bands, is the style in anyone of them to your liking. Some will be more professional than others, so some you'll need no knowledge (e.g. if its a new instrument for you).

Trick is, just do it for the enjoyment. so if its not fun, then no point in doing it.

Take me for example, I'm usually a choral singer, in middle of the road choirs. So I can hold the tune, read the music, do the resonance, change voice, vibralto, etc ... But what has been fun recently is joining a local folk choir, who are completely amature, take anyone and teach by ear with generally fairly simple none complex tunes. This is huge fun, and music simple enough I can start doing my own arrangements for the choir, so even though the music is far simpler than I'm used to, its been hugely stimulating.
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fc diato

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2019, 12:27:13 PM »

Code: [Select]
I think if I had the money for that one row, though, I'd trade in my other instruments and buy something like the GC Pariselle (although I don't actually know how that plays).
Having recently acquired a Pariselle, I can assure you that they are stunning.  Amazingly responsive, light-weight (compared to equivalent models of Italian manufacturers)… the possibilities of subtle control of dynamics is truly exciting – (not that I can master that).  I got my D/G box as a supplementary to my G/C Castagnari.  The Casta sits neglected:  The Pariselle is a Jaguar; the Casta feels like a Ford Focus.  My guess is that the 3-row that Theo has just advertised is about the best ‘bang for the buck’, or should I say 'Pound per box ratio', anybody could hope for.

On a different note, if I may, speculate a bit:  I have been struck by the way you approach learning the box with systematic discipline (and keep telling myself I should adopt a bit more of that).  Makes sense, since you are a music teacher. But do you sometimes put aside the teacher inside you?  The reason I ask is that I notice you seem to record pieces that seem precisely at your level, seeking to master something before moving on. And teaching us in the process, for which, thank you! But do you – behind the scenes – sometimes throw caution and pedagogy to the wind and attack pieces that are definitely ‘too hard’? Might it be one of the dangers of being a music teacher that the dreaming teenager who just thinks ‘wow, I wanna play that’ gets suppressed? For ex: you obviously liked Coudroy’s La Sourde and even transcribed the beginning of it.  Did you try it out?

Otherwise, I would say that what works for me in slumps is to move to pieces that are in a completely different style.  I also have a preference for the French waltzes, mazurkas, etc.  But after awhile, they feel a bit monotonous, and something completely different spices things up.
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playandteach

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2019, 12:38:05 PM »

Thanks both. I don't need a musical outlet, as I have lots, but you are right (David) that perhaps I need something outside of work.
Thanks for the review of Pariselles. I did try one I really liked in Witney, but then another that I didn't. No surprise of course, as they are individual things. As for most of us though, I'd have to sell what I've got to buy something different (which always causes problems). I quite like what I've got, but would like more options for harmonies etc.
I'd forgotten about La Sourde - and now can't find the transcription - did I do it by hand, or was it printed? Yes it is a great idea to try something far too hard.


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fc diato

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2019, 01:09:15 PM »


La Sourde intro was a PDF ... here it is (I think ... can't tell if attachment works) .
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: Fanning the flame
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2019, 01:10:06 PM »

Anything just beyond your comfort zone will help spark more ideas.
I remember when I was first learning I was playing the odd Morris tune for the dancers alongside the more experienced musicians. I did prefer to dance in those days.
The university team was organising a day tour and assumed I would be happy to play as I danced with them regularly. Come the day, I was the only musician and we had only one spare dancer. I ended up playing everything I even thought I knew.
Nothing went wrong that anyone would notice and I got to the end of the day thinking Wow! Did I do all that?
I went and learned all the possible tunes after that, half by ear, half by dots.
You are a very capable box player with a very precise style. Your expert musical knowledge is the foundation for all your arrangements and harmonies.
Yet there is a lot to be said for busking, getting some of it wrong, jogging along quietly at the back of a session.
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