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Hello from a new older learner

J

Janice

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Hi there
Have decided to keep my brain active as I am approaching my 60th birthday this year by learning to play Piano Accordion. Picked up a reconditioned Hohner 48 bass just after Christmas 2017 so have been practising every day for two and a half months now.
Thoroughly enjoying the challenge, had never played keyboards before but have played guitar (since a child), ukulele and bass for many years.

Are there many others who start playing later in life?
How long will it take me before I can play competently enough to play in public if I keep up a daily half hour session?

Am practising 3 tunes - Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells and Irish Washerwoman
 
G

Geronimo

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Janice post_id=56074 time=1521059109 user_id=2699 said:
Hi there
Have decided to keep my brain active as I am approaching my 60th birthday this year by learning to play Piano Accordion. Picked up a reconditioned Hohner 48 bass just after Christmas 2017 so have been practising every day for two and a half months now.
Thoroughly enjoying the challenge, had never played keyboards before but have played guitar (since a child), ukulele and bass for many years.
As your user name is female and you are not the youngest and you have never played keyboard before but a number of chromatically paced instruments, Id really strongly suggest that your next challenge may want to be to move to CBA (chromatic button accordion) rather than a larger piano accordion: the correspondence between score and fingerings is less direct than on a piano accordion but the relation between fingering and sounding semitone is a lot more straightforward, making the instrument easier to play by ear and more similar to instruments you already played before. And the instrument requires quite less size and weight for reaching serious range and capability and so youll likely be able to enjoy this instrument type for longer than its piano keyboard cousin. And your history does not sound like the piano accordion will give you all that much of a headstart.

Of course, the availability of a suitable teacher should be a big factor in whether to make that change and what kind of CBA system to pick then: this suggestion may easily be moot due to circumstances.
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Janice,

Welcome to the forum. Don't worry, you are not the oldest here; not by a long stretch.

The answer to you question is "Yes." I first picked up an accordion at the age of 67 (almost 68), since when I have made a significant advance from dreadful to just plain bad. Like yourself, I thought it wise to keep my brain active in my retirement.

I play in Folk Clubs, Care Homes, Public Parks and for Dementia & Carers Groups and Rainbow Guides. I receive generous applause wherever I play, which just goes to prove that my audiences are very easily pleased. I know that I am not all that good, but my audiences seem ignorant of that fact. (long may this ignorance continue)

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

JeffJetton

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Janice post_id=56074 time=1521059109 user_id=2699 said:
Are there many others who start playing later in life?
How long will it take me before I can play competently enough to play in public if I keep up a daily half hour session?

Im a part-time accordion teacher with a handful of students. About half are older folks--retirees (or nearly so) who got the bug to play later in life. Its not uncommon at all.

Some progress quickly, some take more time. Theres no standard schedule, although I do notice that those with previous musical experience, on any instrument, tend to have a leg up. (As for your goal... I guess it also depends on how difficult the songs are that you intend to play in public!)

Of course a lot depends on your quality of practice too. Ill take 15 minutes of focused, deliberate practice on a small, well-defined goal over 30 (or even 60) minutes of just playing stuff. Im increasingly of the mind that learning how to practice an instrument is just as important as learning how to play it.

Anyway, congrats on picking up a wonderful instrument! Youre going to have a blast. {} :b
 
J

Janice

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Geronimo post_id=56082 time=1521064834 user_id=2623 said:
As your user name is female and you are not the youngest and you have never played keyboard before but a number of chromatically paced instruments, Id really strongly suggest that your next challenge may want to be to move to CBA (chromatic button accordion) rather than a larger piano accordion: the correspondence between score and fingerings is less direct than on a piano accordion but the relation between fingering and sounding semitone is a lot more straightforward, making the instrument easier to play by ear and more similar to instruments you already played before. And the instrument requires quite less size and weight for reaching serious range and capability and so youll likely be able to enjoy this instrument type for longer than its piano keyboard cousin. And your history does not sound like the piano accordion will give you all that much of a headstart.

Of course, the availability of a suitable teacher should be a big factor in whether to make that change and what kind of CBA system to pick then: this suggestion may easily be moot due to circumstances.

Thanks for the advice with regards to CBA but as I have already purchased a Piano Accordion the budget will not allow that at the moment. I havent got the luxury of a local tutor but do have a working knowledge of a keyboard even though I havent played one. As with anything I know progress will be slow to begin with but I feel that I AM making headway with the Piano Accordion so it will just be time related and how much practice I can get in I guess. :D
 
J

Janice

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Stephen Hawkins post_id=56090 time=1521071172 user_id=1440 said:
Hello Janice,

Welcome to the forum. Dont worry, you are not the oldest here; not by a long stretch.

The answer to you question is Yes. I first picked up an accordion at the age of 67 (almost 68), since when I have made a significant advance from dreadful to just plain bad. Like yourself, I thought it wise to keep my brain active in my retirement.

I play in Folk Clubs, Care Homes, Public Parks and for Dementia & Carers Groups and Rainbow Guides. I receive generous applause wherever I play, which just goes to prove that my audiences are very easily pleased. I know that I am not all that good, but my audiences seem ignorant of that fact. (long may this ignorance continue)

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

Thats heartening to know Stephen that I am not the oldest learning starter and that you are now playing in public :) Can I ask how old you are now? How long you have been learning? :D
 
J

Janice

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JeffJetton post_id=56105 time=1521124008 user_id=1774 said:
Janice post_id=56074 time=1521059109 user_id=2699 said:
Are there many others who start playing later in life?
How long will it take me before I can play competently enough to play in public if I keep up a daily half hour session?

Im a part-time accordion teacher with a handful of students. About half are older folks--retirees (or nearly so) who got the bug to play later in life. Its not uncommon at all.

Some progress quickly, some take more time. Theres no standard schedule, although I do notice that those with previous musical experience, on any instrument, tend to have a leg up. (As for your goal... I guess it also depends on how difficult the songs are that you intend to play in public!)

Of course a lot depends on your quality of practice too. Ill take 15 minutes of focused, deliberate practice on a small, well-defined goal over 30 (or even 60) minutes of just playing stuff. Im increasingly of the mind that learning how to practice an instrument is just as important as learning how to play it.

Anyway, congrats on picking up a wonderful instrument! Youre going to have a blast. {} :b
Thank you Jeff for the encouragement and I am having a blast already even though its early days. I feel like I have a whole orchestra on my lap whilst playing Piano Accordion already and I feel my leg jigging along as I play LOL :lol:
 
J

Janice

Guest
Thank you all for your response and encouragement. Without a local tutor I'm just drawing on my own musical knowledge and it's heartening to know I'm not the only older learner. :tup: {} :D
 
G

Geronimo

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Janice post_id=56118 time=1521135566 user_id=2699 said:
Geronimo post_id=56082 time=1521064834 user_id=2623 said:
As your user name is female and you are not the youngest and you have never played keyboard before but a number of chromatically paced instruments, Id really strongly suggest that your next challenge may want to be to move to CBA (chromatic button accordion) rather than a larger piano accordion [...]

Thanks for the advice with regards to CBA but as I have already purchased a Piano Accordion the budget will not allow that at the moment.
Oh, I was just suggesting to keep this in mind before you go on to buy your next piano accordion because you are quite likely to outgrow the current one eventually.
 

jozz

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Janice post_id=56074 time=1521059109 user_id=2699 said:
How long will it take me before I can play competently enough to play in public if I keep up a daily half hour session?

Took me three years :D

but I am very shy so I just take a couple of drinks before I go on stage
 
G

Geronimo

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Janice post_id=56120 time=1521135949 user_id=2699 said:
Thank you Jeff for the encouragement and I am having a blast already even though its early days. I feel like I have a whole orchestra on my lap whilst playing Piano Accordion already and I feel my leg jigging along as I play LOL :lol:
I am currently practising on a whole orchestra piece, Paul De Bras Turks Fruit arrangement, with about three separate instruments at the same time and a few instrument changes. This is still work in progress, but the last recording was this one.

While usually things are not as extremely separate as here, even with standard accordion music one wants to arrive at a state where one can play staccato bass while using legato in the treble, gaining some independence in articulation for both hands. This is somewhat more relevant than on a piano since you have continuous tone production on an accordion where the duration of articulation is very much apparent. Its more like a harmonium or organ than a piano in that respect.
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Janice,

You may indeed ask me how old I am (in fact, I think you just did). I will be 70 in a couple of months, though I have kept my boyish good looks.

I played Clarinet in the 1960's, mainly in Folk Clubs & Village Halls, and occasionally with my Cousin's Folk Group. The accordion is, at least to me, a much tougher prospect than the clarinet, though I think anything is easier when you are young.

If this is of any interest to you, I began by learning three (simple) tunes which I could play almost without thinking. These tunes formed the basis of my public repertoire, to which I added one tune each week. After about three months, I could play around a dozen tunes without reference to musical notation.

Nowadays I have two lists, one for tunes I can play easily, and my practice list. My practice list feeds my public repertoire. I feel obliged to point out that my system is not quite as methodical as I have made it sound, and is intended as a rough idea for guidance only.

Whatever you may call it, this system has worked surprising well for me. On days when I don't feel like practicing............. I don't. Sticking to a rigid system, especially on days when you don't feel like it, can have a negative effect on your ability to learn.

What kind of music do you intend to play on your new instrument? Whatever genre you choose, someone on here will offer suggestions. If it is Folk, 40's 50's or 60's music, I would be happy to discuss my play lists with you.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 
J

Janice

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Stephen Hawkins post_id=56146 time=1521154356 user_id=1440 said:
If this is of any interest to you, I began by learning three (simple) tunes which I could play almost without thinking. These tunes formed the basis of my public repertoire, to which I added one tune each week. After about three months, I could play around a dozen tunes without reference to musical notation.

Nowadays I have two lists, one for tunes I can play easily, and my practice list. My practice list feeds my public repertoire. I feel obliged to point out that my system is not quite as methodical as I have made it sound, and is intended as a rough idea for guidance only.

What kind of music do you intend to play on your new instrument? Whatever genre you choose, someone on here will offer suggestions. If it is Folk, 40s 50s or 60s music, I would be happy to discuss my play lists with you.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

Hi Stephen
My first two tunes are Deck the Halls, and Jingle Bells because they were the first ones in a Teach Yourself book I have. I soon found that only part of the songs were in this book so have had to find the rest of the tunes elsewhere and improvised. I then found The Irish Washerwoman to learn and again, only half the tune and this is taking longer as its a more difficult piece. What were your first 3 tunes? Im very impressed with the fact you learnt 12 tunes in 3 months. Im only two and a half months in and only 3 tunes.

I would love to play any musical genre. On ukulele and guitar I play a huge range from Folk, 20s and older up to very modern songs. Jazz, Reggae, Blues, Pop, Rock n Roll, Ballads, anything goes. If I like a song Ill play it. What I would love to do is to learn a few of our local Morris dance tunes as they apparently are always in need of musicians. I can already play Shepherds Hey on Concertina and play guitar and ukulele at Folk Groups.

I would love to know your play list. It could give me inspiration as to what to learn next.

Janice
 

JeffJetton

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Janice, FYI, I have an arrangement of The Irish Washerwoman on my website that you can try. It has the entire song:

http://jeffjetton.com/2016/03/free-sheet-music-for-accordion-the-irish-washerwoman/

There are adjustments you can make to this arrangement to make it a bit easier if you need to. If you havent learned minor chords, you can play a D major or D7 chords where the A minor chords are. If you havent learned 7th chords, play regular D major instead of D7... that sort of thing.
 
J

Janice

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JeffJetton post_id=56172 time=1521215216 user_id=1774 said:
Janice, FYI, I have an arrangement of The Irish Washerwoman on my website that you can try. It has the entire song:

http://jeffjetton.com/2016/03/free-sheet-music-for-accordion-the-irish-washerwoman/

There are adjustments you can make to this arrangement to make it a bit easier if you need to. If you havent learned minor chords, you can play a D major or D7 chords where the A minor chords are. If you havent learned 7th chords, play regular D major instead of D7... that sort of thing.

Thank you Jeff I shall go and have a look :tup:
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Janice,

Happy to oblige.

I started with "You Are My Sunshine", "The Wild Rover" & "Que Sera, Sera". When I had cracked those tunes I began practicing "Wild Mountain Thyme", "Love Me With All of Your Heart" & "The River."

"Wooden Heart", "La Vie en Rose", "Mountains of Mourne", "Over The Hills & Far Away", "The Wayward Wind" (Frank Ifield & others) & "World Without Love" (Peter & Gordon) soon followed.

I can play most of the above without musical notation, and many more with notation handy. (just in case I go wrong)

Though I am not familiar with 48 Bass instruments, I imagine that a 48 Bass will have sufficient capacity to play most of those tunes. I started out with a little 12 Bass Galotta, but soon hit the buffers when I tried more complicated tunes. I then bought a 72 Bass Chanson, which can easily play all the tunes I like playing. Just in case I find a tune which the 72 Bass can't manage, I now own a 120 Bass Hohner Arietta.

I am fortunate to have around ten Folk Clubs within a 20 to 30 minute drive of my home, so I could potentially visit a different Folk Club every night of the week. (but I don't have the energy for that)

It is highly likely that you will have Folk Clubs close to where you live, some of which may have regular or visiting accordionists. If they are anything like the Folk Clubs up here, you will be highly valued and generously assisted.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 
J

Janice

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Stephen Hawkins post_id=56188 time=1521243182 user_id=1440 said:
Hello Janice,

Happy to oblige.

I started with You Are My Sunshine, The Wild Rover & Que Sera, Sera. When I had cracked those tunes I began practicing Wild Mountain Thyme, Love Me With All of Your Heart & The River.

Wooden Heart, La Vie en Rose, Mountains of Mourne, Over The Hills & Far Away, The Wayward Wind (Frank Ifield & others) & World Without Love (Peter & Gordon) soon followed.

I am fortunate to have around ten Folk Clubs within a 20 to 30 minute drive of my home, so I could potentially visit a different Folk Club every night of the week. (but I dont have the energy for that)

It is highly likely that you will have Folk Clubs close to where you live, some of which may have regular or visiting accordionists. If they are anything like the Folk Clubs up here, you will be highly valued and generously assisted.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

Thank you Stephen for all your replies :tup:
Wild Rover was the first song I played on Ukulele and You are my Sunshine is VERY popular with the local ukulele groups so I guess theyd go down well if I learned them on Accordion.
Wild Mountain Thyme is a beautiful tune too. Stephen youre giving me some inspiration now as to what to learn next.
Yes, we too have about 6 Folk groups which I attend whenever work will allow and am hoping to get some tips along the way. I also plan to go to Upton Folk Fest this year for even more inspiration. :D

Janice xx
 

hais1273

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A good friend of ours has started learning at about your age, she is enjoying the experience very much, I didn't pla any thing until I was 48, that was ten years ago and I'm addicted now. ( still rather average as an accordionist, but hope springs eternal as they say) If you want a good weekend of accordionism, I'd recommend the Weekend at Halsway Manor in Somerset, the Halsway website will tell you all you need to know.
 
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Janice

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hais1273 post_id=56215 time=1521319779 user_id=1042 said:
A good friend of ours has started learning at about your age, she is enjoying the experience very much, I didnt pla any thing until I was 48, that was ten years ago and Im addicted now. ( still rather average as an accordionist, but hope springs eternal as they say) If you want a good weekend of accordionism, Id recommend the Weekend at Halsway Manor in Somerset, the Halsway website will tell you all you need to know.

Thank you hais1273
I am enjoying it too and hopefully in 10 years time I shall be retired and have more time :lol: I shall look up the Halsway Manor weekend as Somerset is not far away :D
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Janice,

I am flattered that my words of encouragement have inspired you, and truly hope that you will soon feel comfortable with your new instrument.

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any difficulties you may encounter. As previously mentioned, I have no experience of 48 Bass instruments, and would be obliged if you could tell me which tunes are beyond its range. (and those which are within its range)

This is mostly a guess, but I think a 48 Bass should be able to tackle over 90% of folk tunes. I reckon that my 12 Bass has the capacity to play 60 or 70% of folk tunes.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

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