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21 Tunes in 21 Weeks Challenge, 2021

Tom

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Ok, we had the 100 days practice challenge. How about the "learn 21 new songs in 21 weeks" challenge? Basically, learn one new song per week for 21 weeks, posting (or not) your rendition here each week. Thereby increasing your repertoire by 21 songs in 21 weeks. I read somewhere that you should be able to learn a new song in a week. If you can't, then the song is too hard for your ability. These could be brand new songs, or songs you've worked on but not yet committed fully to memory (or sight reading if you prefer). (Obviously there is nothing wrong with working on too hard songs, but this challenge is all about repertoire building.)

So, I am going to give it a shot, posting my first of 21 new songs by the end of this week, (May 1). Anyone in?
 

Jeremyh

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I am only a beginner but I have been trying to learn a song a week for a while, some of them to get from memory others, that I am less worried about keeping, to sight read. I have been inflicting them on a WhatsApp group, but I am not sure you lot have done anything to deserve such punishment, so I will be with you more in spirit than sound.
 

Tom

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You can do it Jeremy! It's about the motivation, not the performance here.... I'm starting with the "Always Happy Polka," not because I'm always happy, but because it's a good old Yankovic chestnut that my friend played at our weekly jam last week. Yea, it's the "old time" style so I might get oompah'd out by the cordeen police, but here in Wisconsin if you DON'T play a polka you'll get thrown off the bandstand....
 

Scuromondo

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Ok, we had the 100 days practice challenge. How about the "learn 21 new songs in 21 weeks" challenge? Basically, learn one new song per week for 21 weeks, posting (or not) your rendition here each week. Thereby increasing your repertoire by 21 songs in 21 weeks. I read somewhere that you should be able to learn a new song in a week. If you can't, then the song is too hard for your ability. These could be brand new songs, or songs you've worked on but not yet committed fully to memory (or sight reading if you prefer). (Obviously there is nothing wrong with working on too hard songs, but this challenge is all about repertoire building.)

So, I am going to give it a shot, posting my first of 21 new songs by the end of this week, (May 1). Anyone in?
If I can manage 5-10 hours of practice in a week, it’s a good week. And, assuming the song is a challenging one, I estimate that it takes me 50-100 hours of practice to get to the point where I feel that I’ve just about gotten it. At that rate, I’d be lucky to manage two new songs in 21 weeks! 😉
 

Tom

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You could do it, Terry! Concentrating on the melody of those standards, maybe a single chorus of improv.... Figure if I spent half the time learning as I do yscking on here I could learn 40...🤣🤣🤣
 

Tom

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If I can manage 5-10 hours of practice in a week, it’s a good week. And, assuming the song is a challenging one, I estimate that it takes me 50-100 hours of practice to get to the point where I feel that I’ve just about gotten it. At that rate, I’d be lucky to manage two new songs in 21 weeks! 😉
Obviously some tough songs for you Dark, I'm talking basic repertoire for people who need to beef up their set list. Anyway, good luck with them!
 

Scuromondo

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Obviously some tough songs for you Dark, I'm talking basic repertoire for people who need to beef up their set list. Anyway, good luck with them!
Seriously, if I would attempt a song a week it would have to be a Big Note classic, or a selection from Sedlon’s 3A lesson book. I’m a slow learner!
 

Tom

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Seriously, if I would attempt a song a week it would have to be a Big Note classic, or a selection from Sedlon’s 3A lesson book. I’m a slow learner!
I understand. For a while I worked on tunes that were way over my head. I struggled to learn them and did not retain them well. Now I concentrate on easier tunes that can be made musical through interpretation. I still have a long way to go. Mainly I just want to be able to play a longer set of non-repeating tunes. The mind is weak, but the will is strong 💪 💪 💪.
 

Tom

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As usual, I couldn't find a lead sheet I liked for Always Happy Polka in F/Bb so I had to make my own.... Next step flagging the accidentals and finding chord shapes I like... Oh yeah, and finding versions to listen to.
 

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Pipemajor

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Problem with learning a new tune every week is that, at my age, by the 2nd week, I've forgotten the first tune!!.
As a piper, I'm often asked to play tunes I don't know at funerals etc. sometimes with only a couple of days notice, so I find them on you tube or whatever, and listen through a few times and that suffices, but the day after, I've usually forgotten it :rolleyes:
 

losthobos

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Problem with learning a new tune every week is that, at my age, by the 2nd week, I've forgotten the first tune!!.
As a piper, I'm often asked to play tunes I don't know at funerals etc. sometimes with only a couple of days notice, so I find them on you tube or whatever, and listen through a few times and that suffices, but the day after, I've usually forgotten it :rolleyes:
I should have a repetoire of hundreds... But lucky to recall 3 without some sort of basic prompt sheet.... SNAP!!!
 
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Tom

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Problem with learning a new tune every week is that, at my age, by the 2nd week, I've forgotten the first tune!!.
As a piper, I'm often asked to play tunes I don't know at funerals etc. sometimes with only a couple of days notice, so I find them on you tube or whatever, and listen through a few times and that suffices, but the day after, I've usually forgotten it :rolleyes:

I should have a repetoire of hundreds... But lucky to recall 3 without some sort of basic prompt sheet.... SNAP!!!

Hi Pipe and Lost,

I'm right there with you. It's a battle of mind over mind. Building up the mind and muscle memory at an advanced age seems to mean playing the tunes at least once a week. People obviously do it, I watch them on youtube. Of course I suspect many of them started memorizing the tunes from a young age and play them constantly. Will it be possible to build up a couple hours of tunes (with or without lead sheet help)? I guess time will tell....
 

Corinto

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Tom, great idea, but here for me 21 tunes in 21 months would be a more appropriate and realistic approach ... and even so it should be rather easy tunes. ;)
 
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NickC

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This is a good idea. The issue that I have is that I keep trying to refine my existing rep and I don't work on new tunes as much. To be fair, my existing rep does need a lot of refining, but I suppose that I'll never be totally satisfied with it. Plus working on new tunes will help my technique/reading and that should transfer across all my playing. I've had a number of tunes that I have dropped from my rep for one reason or another. Since I have a head start on them, I might pull some of them out again and work on getting them performance ready. I don't know if I will make it to 21 tunes in 21 weeks, but it sounds like a fun challenge.
 

Tom

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This is a good idea. The issue that I have is that I keep trying to refine my existing rep and I don't work on new tunes as much. To be fair, my existing rep does need a lot of refining, but I suppose that I'll never be totally satisfied with it. Plus working on new tunes will help my technique/reading and that should transfer across all my playing. I've had a number of tunes that I have dropped from my rep for one reason or another. Since I have a head start on them, I might pull some of them out again and work on getting them performance ready. I don't know if I will make it to 21 tunes in 21 weeks, but it sounds like a fun challenge.
Good to see you working on it Nick! The key here seems to be the idea of building up a repertoire of tunes within our ability. Which is annoying because the more difficult songs are more interesting. Developing musicality in (apparent) simplicity of repertoire seems to be the key. Why didn't anyone tell us? 😆😆 Look at the lead sheet for Autumn Leaves, or even the Always Happy that I posted, both seemingly simple, but watch someone good make them so musical. I guess it's humbling, and so instructive to see what your repertoire "really" is, and where the level is that you need to build from. Luckily, there are plenty of "easy" pieces since we can't all be JerryPH or Piotr this month.....
 

Tom

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Ok, slight change of plans. Based on popular demand, and because this week is half over, the rest of this week will be devoted to identifying and firming up our repertoire, with the first of the 21 tunes due next Saturday, May 8, just in time for the 3rd forum zoom meeting...
 

losthobos

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Thinking a little braver i may well be in even if just to kick myself up the arse...
So you suggest start 1st of May and then vids posted every Saturday for next 21 weeks...
So who's actually in. Let's get a solid commitment list scrolled up and start encouraging each other whatever level... More peeps in the easier it'll be... 😉
 

Tom

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Thinking a little braver i may well be in even if just to kick myself up the arse...
So you suggest start 1st of May and then vids posted every Saturday for next 21 weeks...
So who's actually in. Let's get a solid commitment list scrolled up and start encouraging each other whatever level... More peeps in the easier it'll be... 😉
Yes, exactly. Not necessary to post vids, only if you feel so inclined, don't want to scare anyone off. Yes, first song week of May 2 - 8, hopefully with discussion at the zoom meetup May 8. Basically the goal is to determine your repertoire: those songs you would be confident enough to play in front of someone, with or without music. For some on here it would probably be hundreds, for some of us probably less than 10. It's like AA (accordion anonymous), "Good evening everyone, my name is #####, I have been playing accordion for 12 years and I can play 23 tunes."

The main thing about this challenge is that to be successful, you have to pick songs that you can learn in a week at your level of practice, in order to add them to your repertoire. It may be Twinkle Twinkle, it may be Bumblebee, it's YOUR level, not your accordion hero's!

Success will be a new repertoire of tunes to give you 45 minutes to an hour of showtime. How cool is that? Who's in?
 

NickC

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Who's in?

I thought about this last night. While I would love to jump in and learn 21 new tunes, I am hesitant to commit. I am enjoying the stuff that I am working on, and I am thinking that it would take about 3 weeks to have a new tune performance ready. This is a more realistic goal for me. I will 'play along at home' and make the commitment to myself to learn 7 tunes in 21 weeks.

Right now, I am really interested in the music of Massimo Budriesi, Ruggero Passarini, Carlo Venturi, etc. All of this is all above my playing level, but I am really enjoying the process.
 

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