The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60036   Message #959716
Posted By: Les from Hull
27-May-03 - 09:33 AM
Thread Name: Learning First Instrument
Subject: RE: Learning First Instrument
Anglo playing does relate somewhat to melodeon and harmonica, so talking to players of those instruments may help you. It's perfectly fine to learn tunes by using fingering charts but it's most helpful if you can play the tune through at a constant (if very slow) speed, rather than going faster on the bits you can do and slower on the bits you can't. Like Geoff says, if there's a bit that won't work then take the bit on its own for a while.

It's also useful to be able to play by ear. You can get a great deal of enjoyment of joining in with others, for example adding another instrument to an accompanied song, if the key is suitable. Or playing an accompaniment to your own singing.

The advice I give to people is to play little and often. Don't hide the instrument away. Keep it handy in the living room. You can pick it up and tootle away for five or ten minutes while you're waiting for a taxi or a TV programme or Godot.

At folk festivals there should be anglo workshops. Don't worry that you're just starting out. You'll always learn something useful to your playing. If you see other anglo players about, ask them to teach you just one thing. Most folkies are happy to do this. So you might learn odds and ends about row-crossing, about ornamentation, about maintenance. If you've both got time, buy them a beer and sit down somewhere quiet where you can play and chat.

Listen to good players (like Chris Sherburn!) and to what they're doing. Don't worry that you're not doing that, but you'll know what the instrument is capable of.

But most of all - have fun. Playing along with other musicians is great fun, and when you reach the stage that you can invent harmony lines as you go along you'll know just what I mean.

Best of luck, and when you're dead famous you can come back and say you owed it all to Mudcat. It would be very useful to come back in a year or so and let us know what worked for you. There'll be somebody else just starting out on Anglo who will find that really useful.