Well, the concertina arrived a few days ago. It is a nice instrument.
I have NO IDEA what I am doing, lol. I have not felt this way in... I
don't know, 25 years? I have picked up a number of instruments over
the years, but none so foreign to my existing musical sensibilities
and instincts as this one. At first, this felt crushing. Then I
thought back to what it was like to learn guitar as a teenager. I was
no good and couldn't play in time/rhythm at all. My hands did not
know how yet. So I have come to realize this will not be at all like
going from guitar to bass or the like. The notes are not arranged in
linear order and the note varries on the push and the pull. This is
mindbending for me.
That said, I went through a few introductory video lessons on the
interwebs that fcame with the concertina. They got a few basics set
in my mind. I played along, very sloppily, to Mary Had a Little Lamb.
I quickly realized that I didn't really do nursery rhymes when I was
learning guitar, piano, or trumpet. So I took out the fingering chart
and looked up some sheet music for a song I was interested in
actually learning: Orange In Bloom (Sherborne Waltz). The sheet music
I found for it was just the melody without chords added. Which is
good for where I am at in my playing. Though still tough. I can play
through it with only minor issues. Though it doesn't sound smooth. I
have yet to get a sense for good bellows technique. I also, since it
was on while I was sitting around, tried to play along (with the
opening chords) to The Passenger by Iggy Pop. I more or less got
something workable, lol. It was fun.
I have a book of tabs/sheet music coming in the mail that should get
me going on some other songs. The book is specifically about playing
in the harmonic style (melody and accompanyment at the same time). I
have tried that only a very little bit and found it to be extremely
difficult for me. But I suppose the name of the game is to just bang
my head against the wall until it stops being so tough.
For now, my practice consists of: run the three scales I know forward
and backward (C maj, G maj, D maj). Then play Orange In Bloom over
and over for 15 minutes or so. Sooner or later my fingers will start
to remember it (though the fingers are less the problem than the
bellows direction). Then take another 15 minutes to play around with
whatever random stuff I can find, focusing if possible on playing
chords and accompanyment.
I'll probably wait to write about concertina again until after I have
gotten the book in the mail. But I do intend to keep writing about
my progress in general as I learn the instrument. Playing it has made
me want to pick up my guitar for the first time in a long while, but
I am resisting doing so as I do not want to take focus away from the
concertina at this early stage.
Be well gopherspace.