Author Topic: Where/how did you learn?  (Read 10134 times)

KLR

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Where/how did you learn?
« on: October 13, 2015, 06:47:21 PM »
Was wondering about how you fellows went about learning the big box.  There's a lot to it, after all.  I can see how you could go to a piano accordion teacher for tips on the left hand side, but that treble side, oh boy.  And it's a bit of an obscure instrument too, I gather it was more common in the past.  Did you have to travel far and wide to get to a teacher when you were starting out? 

Fishfeathersmacteeth

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 07:55:25 AM »
I'm really a Fiddle player but dabble in the B/C and now want to do some 3-Row. 

I've played with and admired the styles of many 3-Row players over the years.  Jim Birse of Arbroath was a great influence on how music could be played.  Often just listening gives you a good idea of the desired effect.

Who else have I learned from?  Graham Irvine was always good for a tune at Festivals, Billy McGuire was a force of nature. More of the Angus style, Harry Scott, Willie McHardy and Angus Cruickshanks  were great players that I always enjoyed listening to.

Listening is good learning...
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 07:58:57 AM by Fishfeathersmacteeth »
...all the way from Luthermuir..

TW

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 09:35:07 PM »
I watch videos of BCC# accordions being managed with elegance - and then play them back at low speed to see if I can detect the magic - but there isn't any magic, just the players innate ability and hard work over the years.

I now have a lovely instrument - with which I am making some progress at least with the treble hand - but trying to do 'joined up writing' by  incorporating the bass side is an entire new jungle.
My bellows have a life of their own and seem to need to expand almost to infinity, despite my trying to just prod at the buttons to save air.

I do try to plot the best way to progress through a tune, making use of the alternatives, but seem incapable of  controlling the bellows reversal (life long chromaticism and bellows blown pipes at the root I think)

I'll keep plodding on because it is fascinating, it is a struggle, it is frustrating  but knowing what my instrument sounds like when played by previous owners with skill and feeling is a target to aim for.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 11:29:40 PM by TW »

george garside

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 09:03:35 AM »
I started about 60 years ago on a bc    double ray  and coming from a mouthie found little problem in playing in B or C!

Two of us in the Scouts had the same box and neither of us gave a thought to playing in other keys.  probably about ten years later I acquired a Trichord  and a keyboard diagram and lo and behold the possibilities of other keys  revealed themselves and in a relatively short time I could manage the bluebell polka in its 3 keys.   

From there on it was slow progress over the years  but the 12 bass trichord did enable me to get the hang of the 3 chord trick on the bass which obviously transferred to larger setups.

Being a great admirer of Jimmy Shand  from an early age I was mystified by his economical use of the bellows  , his ins and outs  being completely different from my 'long distance' jobs. 

That led me to taking a very serious look at the 'alternatives'  and practicing scales   using different fingering and bellowing,
and from there on it was slow but steady progress 

george

george

TW

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 05:34:50 PM »
You're always consistent with your advice George, and I'm also sure you are right.....but scales and 'practice' is so boring..so much nicer to pick a tune you like and work at it..but obviously not working for me though!
Quote
I was mystified by his economical use of the bellows, his ins and outs  being completely different from my 'long distance' jobs. 
One of the problems I find is that the airbar continually gets in the way of the ball of my thumb and I get inadvertent deflation at inconvenient moments.
I often wonder whether some mechanism - as there was on a Echo III - where a rotation invoked by a thumb movement, rather than a press, might suit me better however I notice that the good players seem to have their thumbs prominent - so I assume they use the ball of the thumb - producing flowing rhythmic pieces so the conventional airbar must be the better way I suppose.
Nil desperandum....
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 05:37:33 PM by TW »

iancruickshanks

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 09:57:37 PM »
Personally I've never practiced scales on the button box due to there being too many alternatives rather than one set of keys for 8 notes as on a piano. Only in recent years have I  realised the value of practicing  runs or sequences of notes as in a new tune, still many permutations of notes throw themselves at me after 49 years of struggling with the instrument,  particularly in the Scottish country dance scene where we're expected to play a different original tune for many thousands of dances, so I'm finding that a new tune can throw up a new sequence of notes maybe just in one bar that I  have to concentrate on, above all, learning a new tune that you like or want to play is the most enjoyable experience.
Ian

Bill

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 11:27:36 PM »
I started about 60 years ago . . .

I misread the instructions! Instead of starting about 60 years ago as I should have, I waited until I was over 60 before starting. Big mistake! I doubt if I'll ever make up for those lost years, but it's certainly fun trying. Since attending Jim Mackay's last workshop in Kingussie I'm paying much more attention to working out sequences of fingering for new tunes, and working up to speed gradually.

george garside

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 11:23:19 AM »
I don't think any other type of box provides near as much satisfaction  on an ongoing basis as there seems to always be  a new bit of technique to discover and get the hang of  together with  an inner glow of satisfaction in so doing!

That's how it works for me anyway!

george

TW

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 12:00:00 AM »
It is encouraging to hear very experienced members allowing that there is still plenty to learn and also that they enjoy that aspect....it keeps playing the instrument fresh..
In the light of those comments my five minutes experience fades into insignificance..and I should just 'get on with it' and watch the youtube examples...

roymagna

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 08:04:54 PM »
I agree with Ian's thoughts as I tackle it tune by tune and have not practised scales for years.

My advice for what it is worth after 60 years is get to know your keyboard inside out! Do not be

afraid to play in any key you wish. It is the ultimate instrument of torture ;) ;D and I would not have

it any other way as you get a great sense of achievement when you have cracked any tune that you set

out to learn. Do not be afraid to ask for help from anyone as the world of three row players is full of

people who are only too willing to help you if they can.

Roy.
Roy

TW

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2017, 12:08:38 AM »
I have had nothing but encouragement from forum members but a major problem is forming questions that are sufficiently precise - allowing accurate guidance to be offered - and not just time wasters.

Bellows control is a major problem for me coming from years of PA/CBA and one that requires thought, observation of talented players and solo practice - but the odd nudge from the forum also tends to focus one's attention on the job in hand!

george garside

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2017, 08:52:30 AM »
John, As you can already play the bass from your piano box days  it might help getting the hang of bellows control to temporarily play treble only keeping the bellwos as near closed as possible.  Memorise the positions of the alternative buttons in a systematic way but not all at once. start with the two E's  and when you come to E in a tune try it both in and out to get the feel of it. Perhaps then have a go at the two B's. Then  when playing a particular tune make a conscious decision as to which alternative to use , sometimes as a way of reversing the bellows and sometimes for easier fingering but always aiming to not let the bellows go ever outwards or sometimes inwards!   

There must be those on here with far more experience than me who can  chuck in their three penneth about bellows control and alternatives etc

george


Andy

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2017, 02:49:35 PM »
Definitely don't have more experience than George and not really qualified to give other folk lessons on air control but there are some BCC# accordions with very slow  (small valve) air buttons, a skilled player can work around this but it still provides an extra and unnecessary challenge for even the best of players. Not sure what sort of box you have or whether it might fall into this category.

george garside

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2017, 05:29:06 PM »
agree too small an airhole can be a bugger but JW has the rolls Royce of 3 rows!

george

TW

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Re: Where/how did you learn?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2017, 12:51:05 AM »
Since the advantages of finding alternate treble paths was emphasized by members I have been trying to apply it as suggested to control the need for extravagant bellows movement.
It's not easy as you all know - the sheer luxury, on a PA/CBA instrument, of not worrying where the bellows are is wonderful.

As George has mentioned I was able (well into the now or never time of my retirement) to make myself a present of a small Shand. It is lovely, the keyboard is so easy....wasted on me after it's previous illustrious owners perhaps...but if it doesn't make me keen to try, then nothing will.

I don't have real trouble now with playing tunes without the basses....but coordination requires more concentration...and a lot more effort.
John

 

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