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| Dear Gina, I practice my accordion a lot but I find it difficult to cope
with fast playing, is there a way I can improve this.
Laura Best, Sollihull.
Dear Laura, There are no easy answers to this
question without observing you in action.
The regular practice of scales and exercises,
combined with a good sitting position, and instrument position, will allow
you to play faster. Always keep the hand square to the keyboard, whether
playing at the top or bottom of the instrument. Always have a straight
wrist action, never bend the wrist and almost stop the blood flow, think
about the piano requirement which is a straight lower arm and wrist, and
slightly bending the fingers, this allows the thumbs and little finger to
be in play, hence a faster action and fluency.
Hope these points may assist you.
Dear Gina, I always fail miserably on my sight
reading in the examinations, how can I best improve this.
Reading lots of different music, experiencing
different editorial, and sitting with the music without an instrument on,
is often beneficial, it makes it easier to work out the music
without the need to play as well as read. A plan of the keyboard and
bass will assist in working out possibilities of fingering. Good
Aural work ie Solfeggio, is an essential way to learn to hear the music
and work out the timing in your head before putting it into practice.
also helps to speed read, only eventually needing to look for the
difficult areas in a piece. Remember in an examination, accuracy,
style, tempi, dynamics, articulation are all taken into consideration,
and a notationally sound performance will not always receive the top
available marks. So keep in mind that besides the notes, you should
check the suggestion of style from the title, the time signature, and
suggested mode of performance ie Allegro, Lento, in a Marching Style,
Slowly with Feeling. Also dynamic markings that may help you put over a
Dear Gina, My 5 year old has been given an 80
bass accordion, do you think this is suitable for him? Mr O'Conner
Dear Mr. O’Connor, He is just a little boy, his
height from his waist to his chin will tell you that an 80 bass instrument
is much too large for him. A light 48 bass would be much more preferable.
This child has got to feel that picking up the accordion is no big deal,
and that practice will not be made difficult, due to the weight. By all
means put the 80 bass away until later, although it would be better if
later this was a 72 or 96 bass which includes the diminished row. When
choosing a 48 bass, please not an old wheezy one.
Dear Gina, I have played the piano for many
years, and I can read music quite well, how long realistically would it
take to learn the accordion. Pauline Wells, Cumbria.
Dear Pauline, Oh you are in a very fortunate
situation, you read music already. There is the question of technique, and
the left hand to have to learn, which encompasses the use of the bellows.
Depending on the style of music you are intending to learn and good
practice times, in 6 months you will feel in control, 18 months should see
some form of proficiency. It is a difficult question without knowing the
precise background, but certainly you will have cut short the learning
process by means of reading music, and playing a piano.
Gina, I am getting really fed up with competitions and examinations, I
really do like the Accordion, but if this is all there is, then I
really am considering giving it up. I am 15 years old, and I have
played since I was 8 years. I have never had time to go out with friends,
and I feel it is time to do something different. What would you suggest?
Because of my teacher and family, I want to remain anonymous, but I am in
Anonymous, I must make it quite clear that I think that your age has a lot
to do with it, in my experience of teaching, it is an age of change,
interests, friends etc: all contribute to a feeling of 'well why should I
practice when all my friends are out having a good time' if this is not
the case, then maybe someone out there is having this problem. and they
maybe able to relate to this statement.
and examinations are a way to prove to yourself, not necessarily to others
how far you are reaching musically, in Competition it is not essential
come in first place, but to have those very helpful comment sheets that
Adjudicators write out for your personal betterment.
are essential if you are to want to become a teacher, or look back on your
learning with great satisfaction when you are older. t. Examinations
themselves, because of the marking system helps to further your
musical education, and hopefully inspire you to carry on.
time out is difficult, the need for continuity and constant commitment to
practice is essential to maintain the standard. But perhaps a change
of repertoire, some easy listening music, a more commercial side to your
music will give you a relaxed feeling, and indeed indicate that you have
achieved a lot in your dedication to the instrument. Be experimental
stylistically. Then turn your attention to the serious music in smaller
doses for the time being, but do not give up the more demanding
repertoire, as this is the way forward musically.
often have people said to you, I wish I had kept music up when I was
young, they have lived to regret it, surely you do not want to do that.
put the Accordion out of sight, out of sight out of mind, and it really is
true. Please continue to play, your young age is very important to
the future of the Accordion, be an ambassador for the instrument, it needs
will finalize with the subject of friends, because I felt from your letter
this seemed to be an issue. Often friends that have no special interests
are the worst kind of friends, they have no conception of the dedication
one needs to achieve something special in life, because they have never
had to do it. You have many years ahead of you, friends will be
there for you on your terms, if they are true friends. Please keep up the
Accordion and continue to be one of the special people.