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Author Topic: That 'a-ha' moment  (Read 3086 times)

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Helena Handcart

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That 'a-ha' moment
« on: January 26, 2020, 10:17:55 AM »

Fellow melnutters,

I'm in the process of reviewing and updating my tutor material in preparation for Melodeon Playgroup in a couple of weeks. This, along with conversations with members of my steady-speed group recently have got me thinking about different learning styles.

I've been thinking back to when I first started playing and the things I wish I'd known/been told/listened to back then. So I was wondering, what are the thing that you wish you'd been told or tried early on in the melodeon journey?  Alternatively what where the penny-dropping moments when stuff just clicked for you in your early playing days?

TIA my dears.
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Graham Wood

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 10:37:19 AM »

I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 10:42:36 AM »

The first time I played a tune without running out of air.
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Helena Handcart

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 10:55:22 AM »

I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

That's really useful Graham - that is mentioned in my 'what is a melodeon' introductory notes but I may revisit how I approach it in the light of your post.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2020, 11:06:43 AM »

I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

I remember a similar moment, associated with the opening bars of The Abbess, accompanied by realising that the note could, then, be accompanied by a change in the harmony.

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Graham Wood

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2020, 11:11:37 AM »

I've been playing less than a month but my first 'a-ha' moment was discovering that 2 same notes could be played either on the push or the pull.

I remember a similar moment, associated with the opening bars of The Abbess, accompanied by realising that the note could, then, be accompanied by a change in the harmony.

Yes I think the knowledge that these notes exist is good, but learning how to exploit them with different basses, air management, fingering and style is better. Haven't quite mastered that bit yet.....lol
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MikeK

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2020, 12:02:10 PM »

When I realised I could play tunes using both rows. Previously, I was transposing everything to the key of G.
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Julian S

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2020, 12:26:00 PM »

Thinking back, I now realise that I never asked anyone 'how do I play this ******* instrument (or tune)? '- I learned by listening to lots of tunes from all over the place and working them out. So my best advice, never be afraid to ask other musicians but be prepared to challenge or ignore their views ! And the more listening the better.

Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.

Julian
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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2020, 12:43:11 PM »

Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.
Julian's experience is similar to mine.

Previously having only played up-and-down the rows on a D/G box with much bellows waggling, I went to see Andy Cutting and Chris Wood play at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in about 1991. I watched Andy play lovely music using smooth bellows action and hardly a waggle to be seen. I thought to myself: 'what is he doing? how is he doing that?. It was the first time I'd ever encountered anyone using cross-row technique, and it turned my own playing round forever. Thanks, Andy! :|glug
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george garside

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2020, 12:44:49 PM »

when I started a long time ago as a teenager  you were virtualy 'on your own'  unless you knew another melodeon player, which I didn't.  My lightbulb moment was getting a recognisable tune out of the thing which I did my treating it as a hand operated mouthie.   

george
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george garside

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2020, 12:47:09 PM »

Lightbulb moment for me, meeting a young Andy Cutting and realising what else could be done with the instrument.
Julian's experience is similar to mine.

Previously having only played up-and-down the rows on a D/G box with much bellows waggling, I went to see Andy Cutting and Chris Wood play at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in about 1991. I watched Andy play lovely music using smooth bellows action and hardly a waggle to be seen. I thought to myself: 'what is he doing? how is he doing that?. It was the first time I'd ever encountered anyone using cross-row technique, and it turned my own playing round forever. Thanks, Andy! :|glug
 

Tony Hall did much the same for me

george
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Graham Wood

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2020, 12:52:53 PM »

Another 'a-ha' moment was realising that all the bass/chords on left hand correspond with the inner row and not the outer row. I was trying to learn the jigs on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmE6rFDW1vs and realised he was playing everything on the outer row with bass and chords on a B/C box. It transpires that he is using a B/C box with an old bass system that is aligned to the outer row. But it certainly had me scratching my head for a while. I can transfer what he's doing to the inner row but obviously it's in a different key.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2020, 12:58:02 PM »

My wife took my daughters and Breton friend to London for the day.
I dug out my youngest's notes from her Chippenham festival workshop with Ed Rennie, picked up my friend's cheap starter melodeon and set to it determined to work out if there was any hope one way or the other on this infernal contraption.
Could both hands work together?
What is this bass thing?

They returned in the evening to find me with a blinding headache and sore arms after 7-8 hours of bashing away and the thought implanted 'I might be able to do this. ..'
Lightbulb moment or the start of my downfall?
You choose  ;)
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I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Chris Rayner

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2020, 01:03:47 PM »

Learning to play 7/8 of a scale in the left hand.  No F#, but you can live with that.  And combining basses and non-adjacent chords to get Bmin7th etc.  Also the various options on chin end notes, Anahata layout , accidentals etc.
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Elderly amateur musician hoping to stave off dementia by learning to play the melodeon.  Main instrument a Tommy, also D/G and G/C pokerworks,  a single row 2 stop Hohner, and a new addition to the free reedery, a rather splendid Paolo Soprani four voice 120 bass c-system chromatic button accordion.  Very shiny, very loud, and about the same size and weight as a small car.  Now I’ve traded me Benny with (ahem) a cash adjustment, to a three voice 60 bass Castagnari K3.

Helena Handcart

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2020, 01:04:30 PM »

I dug out my youngest's notes from her Chippenham festival workshop with Ed Rennie, picked up my friend's cheap starter melodeon and set to it determined to work out if there was any hope one way or the other on this infernal contraption.

...Lightbulb moment or the start of my downfall?
You choose  ;)


That Mr Rennie has much answer for, I had a starter melodeon for a few months and several tutor books which ranged from incomprehensible to downright off-putting. Then I went to his beginner sessions in Sidmouth, bought the book and never really looked back.
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Helena Handcart

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2020, 01:05:42 PM »

  No F#, but you can live with that. 

No F#? But surely you now have every conceivable option under the sun on that infernal machine you've switched to  >:E
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Little Eggy

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2020, 01:13:20 PM »

Things I wish I’d known at the start :-
1. Try lots of boxes ‘TIL you find one that ‘fits’ your hands and fingers.
2.  Mally is dead right to emphasise the central importance of practise.
3.  There are millions of tunes out there.  Don’t bother with those you don’t like.
4.  You tube has a brilliant device for slowing down a tune without changing the notes.
5.  Try to practice with the same concentration as if you’re performing.
6.  (From Mel Biggs). Learn to isolate bars or short sections to practice them.
7.   Music is wonderful- play it with delight and enjoyment.
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Chris Rayner

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2020, 01:28:39 PM »

  No F#, but you can live with that. 

No F#? But surely you now have every conceivable option under the sun on that infernal machine you've switched to  >:E

Indeed.  I play, or should that be, attempt to play, many instruments.  Each has its advantages, and disadvantages.  Horses, courses etc.😁
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Elderly amateur musician hoping to stave off dementia by learning to play the melodeon.  Main instrument a Tommy, also D/G and G/C pokerworks,  a single row 2 stop Hohner, and a new addition to the free reedery, a rather splendid Paolo Soprani four voice 120 bass c-system chromatic button accordion.  Very shiny, very loud, and about the same size and weight as a small car.  Now I’ve traded me Benny with (ahem) a cash adjustment, to a three voice 60 bass Castagnari K3.

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2020, 01:29:43 PM »

Yes Helena, he does!

After my downfall:
1. Pick up, fondle, squeeze as many boxes as possible.
I discovered one will feel right, even though I couldn't play a note!

2. Download two copies of the DG layout from Melnet, arm yourself with two coloured pencils and colour away. One showing notes on the pull, the other on the push.

3. Make tea.
When tea is drunk or cold, stop practicing and take a break. Better to have several practice periods throughout a day than one long session.

4. Keep bashing away, both hands right at the start
Don't be tempted to just play melody. Keep at it, the door will open!
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Thrupenny Bit

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

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Re: That 'a-ha' moment
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2020, 02:30:47 PM »

Learn the bass/chords at the same time as the melody, as they define the direction of the bellows for each melody note.
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