Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Some Lessons now that I've retired

As retirement approached I realised that I needed to take some proper melodeon lessons. We will be going out for several weeks boating, and I know that I have a number of problems to deal with. In particular:
  • air button
  • bass
  • not keeping the bellows 'square' 
  • general reading music problems
I also thought there might be some more things I didn't know about. I wanted to start to work on these before we go away.

So, I looked out LB, who sold me my melodeon last year. He was playing melodeon for a local morris side at a canalside pub in my hometown. Would he be interested in giving me some lessons? Yes, he could do that. So we arranged to meet at his home, as I have young adults doing noisy things here.

The first lesson showed up some definite problems. Yes, all of the things I had already identified, which I was given advice about, but also a big problem to do with fingering. I touch type, so I'm very aware of the need to keep your fingers on the 'home keys' of the typing keyboard. I'd asked around a bit with regard to keying the melodeon to find out if it mattered which fingers you used for keying. No, was the general answer, use any fingers. So, I went with what seemed right to me - have your hand over a set of 'home keys', and stretch for any buttons that aren't under your hand. LB pointed out that this tends to give a choppy sound, some stretches are too far to be able to handle smoothly - the timing between some notes is just wrong - especially when I was using the same finger for subsequent notes.

I needed a radical rethink. Subsequent notes played on different buttons needed to be played with different fingers and I had to relearn any fingering that I had already got 'sorted'. However, I found immediately that playing some tunes was much easier.

The next problem, for someone who doesn't really understand music, is that just because something looks to me like it is in the key of G, it isn't necessarily - it could be E minor. That means it isn't played on the G row, but the D row. Ah, another mistake. Funny, I'd originally learned 'Bear Dance' on the D row, but decided that I would get the basses wrong, so relearned it on the G row. Time to go back and try again.

I learned a huge amount in the lesson, and followed on with two more lessons, each of which expanded my knowledge enormously. I have actually found re-learning the fingering far easier than I originally thought I would. I could never just shunt my hand up the typing keyboard a couple of keys and expect to hit the right keys.  I've made a lot of progress with the basses and I've improved on avoiding'rotating' the bellows - and keeping the bellows square. I also know a bit more about music theory and a little bit about chords. I now feel in a much better position to go off boating and practice while I'm away.

No comments:

Post a Comment