Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Beginning the Melodeon

I have been looking for a suitable instrument to learn for a while. I've tried to learn various instruments in the past, with little success - I've always hit the first plateau, and then given up. Not quite sure why, I've learned to speak several languages, I can knit and crochet, I've learned to type, and to take shorthand (although that is exceedingly rusty now) - obviously, I can stick with things, I just haven't with instruments. However, I'd decided that I needed to try again, when a conversation with a friend made it clear what I should go for.

Jill plays several instruments, including the concertina and the bagpipes. I had seen a kid on the front of a narrowboat playing a piano accordion, and quite liked the idea of a folky type instrument. I asked Jill about concertinas and piano accordions, and Jill asked whether I wanted to play an instrument or a wardrobe? Jill suggested a melodeon, which sounded right - a bit of research and I knew that it was what I wanted.

I joined Melodeon.net and asked some questions about a suitable instrument for a beginner, and was very quickly offered a recently restored second-hand Hohner Pokerwork - a nice box for a beginner - this one HERE. Fortunately, it's a German made box - the more recent Chinese made ones don't seem to be as well regarded. Even better, the seller lives only a few miles from me. 

So I went to look at the box, spent a lot of time talking about all sorts of things and I ended up exchanging a cheque for a nice secondhand melodeon. My dear husband thought that I had probably finally lost all semblance of sense, but he was nice about it.

So, I'm learning to play the melodeon. I can't read music, I know nothing about how the melodeon works - it isn't completely obvious to the beginner, but I'm learning. I can just about manage "Twinkle Twinkle, little star" and I'm working on "Baa Baa Black Sheep".

Obviously, I'm not just learning the melodeon, but also music theory - about which I know nothing. Our son used to play trumpet while he was at school, and sometimes picks up the guitar, so he has some understanding of music - he's able to pick the melodeon up and get some simple tunes out of it without too much difficulty. 

I keep reading about how lots of melodeon players can't read music and just pick the tunes up by ear - all I can say is how? That seems as far from me now as the idea once was that I would one day be able to hold a conversation in French, or read a newspaper or a novel.