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I think I've had enough!

knobby

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Does anyone else who's fairly new with the accordion ever feel like quitting?

I seem to be getting worse at playing, not better. Simple tunes I could play last week; now I can't get more than 2 bars in without making a hash of it, no matter how many times I try. It's been like this all this week, to such an extend that after 10 minutes playing cr*p the accordion is put away and I go off and watch the telly. The next day I really don't want to pick it up again because I know it's gonna be rubbish, and sure enough it is, so after cursing and swearing and stomping around it's quickly put down again. I managed around 15 minutes of cr*p this afternoon before I wanted to smash both the accordion and my stupid fingers. The accordion is now back in its case, and I don't know whether to ever bother getting it out again. I'm beginning to feel that I'm just flogging a dead horse and that maybe {} are not for me as I'll never be able to master even the simplest basics.

Maybe I should stop wasting my time, and go and learn how to play the triangle!
 

Glenn

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Knobby, this is the equivalent of writer's block.
It happens to all of us at some time until you suddenly play a genius few bars and amaze yourself.
When it happens to me I don't put the accordion away, I just open the book at a page I've never seen before and start a new piece.
What I find is after a few weeks, you come back to the old piece, warm up with it a few times and can't think what all the fuss was about.

Thus my suggestion. Start some new music. There's plenty out there.
 

Matt Butcher

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I think it's about how the brain works, or in my case doesn't always work. And yes lots of times when I started I wanted to throw it against the wall. That feeling of frustration did go away. Sometimes new stuff goes in right away, another time you don't seem to have learnt anything but a month later you can do it. For me, the way round it seems to be to give it something a bit different to think about. I think Glenn's right, new music, or even something more different like just play left hand parts only for a few days, or if you mostly play from music play by ear, or the other way round. Something new to help the brain to process the learning differently. And take the pressure of yourself, if you can for a bit, no end result that you're looking for just at the moment, just playing.
 
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Pippa

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:( !

Yes, I get like that all the time, about all sorts of things - not just the accordion! I would feel like that constantly, if I was judging my playing by how well I can master simple tunes. I can only play one tune all the way through, but that doesn't stop me from having fun with it. I just keep challenging myself with different things that I expect to be bad at, and after a while of doing that, whatever I was playing before suddenly seems easier and more fun.

Don't force yourself if you're not enjoying it - My first PA sat in its box for two years before I got over my initial frustrations and became curious again!
 
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goldtopia

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I think it happens to most of us. I'm always looking for new tunes to make playing more interesting and sometimes revive old tunes tthat have not been played for a while. That seems to work for a while but there are times when I need a day or two break from playing. Sometimes looking at other accordions that I might be able to afford, its like a bug as if buying another accordion would instill new interest, but I know it dont really work and is probably why some people have three or four accordions, and you can only play one at a time.
 

Soulsaver

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As Glenn & Bill says -A) we all have these times. It's not abetted by the fact that you'd rather be out in the sun in the garden, balcony or wherever, rather than fight the untameable (today) beast of a accorjun.
b) When you get these 'attacks' the recommended therapy is to just do a couple of quick pieces you know you can, even if that's just a few scales, then put it away 'still hungry', do this for a day or two - & stick to those pieces or just do the first 4 bars of the piece you're stuggling with - until the weather turns cooler and you're less grumpy.

It ain't easy.. even the 'easy' stuff is really hard, remember when you first tried 2 hands together? So you give your self a pat for being able to play anything at all.... IT Will come...eventually.
 

donn

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I think of the instruments I play, the accordion poses the most severe mental challenge. I'm fairly sure that, by now, I have it in me to play tunes through ... if only I could reliably tap that ability. Extremely frustrating, and like many really bad things it's a negative feedback spiral. The bright side though is that as I overcome this and develop a more reliable musical focus or whatever, that's going to help in anything I do involving music.

What I'm working on right now is `singing' the tune in my head, while I'm playing it. The way I put that, it could sound like a way to just add to the complexity of the whole thing, but what I mean is ... how do you know how to play a tune? (I'm taking for granted that at some point we're not just following the written music.) Something in there produces a tune by whatever means, in a way that can be expressed by whistling, singing, the accordion, whatever. Now in the beginning of course we lack the ability to play the accordion, which interferes with that in a big way, but this is easily remedied by practice. But what happens to me is, I think, the opposite -- after a certain amount of rehearsal of a tune, that core musical faculty fades, and I'm sort of trying to produce the tune by some kind of rote memory of the physical process. Literally going through the motions. It doesn't work.

The reason it's such a problem with the accordion is of course the left hand. I need to get more used to `thinking' musically in that form, even though I can't whistle it or play it anywhere but on the accordion.
 

Soulsaver

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BTW 20 -30 mins every day... is waaay more productive tha 3 hours once a week....
 

george garside

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knobby - don't give up. As others have recounted everybody (well almost everybody) gets a dose of 'the dismals' at some time during the learning process. The danger is of the box being shoved into a cupboard and left there for years which I think also happens to many other instruments aas the dealers seem to sell a lot more than we see being played!

some thoughts on the way forward a bit of which may make sense:

in no particular order of merit

-If you are teaching yourself look into the possibilities of having at least a few lessons, preferably from someone with a not to seriarse disposition as those so afflicted can kill students enthusiasm stone dead.

- try to think in terms of learning to play the box as requiring tow separate skills, manual dexterity aand a modicum of musical ability. The former is absolutely essential, lthe latter is usually sufficiently possessed already!

- If you already play another instrument use only tunes that you already know well and can play on the other whateveritis.

- thing carefully about the tiype of music (genre etc) that you want to come out of the box eg aare you battling with classical so called 'pieces' when you would be happier playing 'jolly tunes' or 'folk' or vice versa

- don't forget that the box is effectively two instruments and you don't have to always play both! i.e. enjoy enjoy playing some nice melody - it will keep yhour interest and enthusiasm. Similarly try developing eg some bass runs or different rhythms as a separate exercise.

- Do you work from the dots - give it a break a;nd try to pick out a favourite tune by ear using the poking and prodding method - its fun!

- consider settling for less than perfection! i.e. don't agonise two much about playing so called 'correct' chords or whatevers that may be a little beyond where you are at any given time. Just settle for it sounding something like it should - perfection can come later if at all


- Always remember that playing an instrument should be enjoyable, fun or whatever and keep withing those parameters, whatever they mean to you. After all, if its not enjoyableo or fun whats the bloody point in doing it unless you aare a martyr to exams grades etc.


hope at least something in this list may help restore your enthusiasm

george :D {} :ch
 

dunlustin

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I can only agree with what everyone else has said: just about everyone goes through times of levelling off/going backwards even.
I wonder if people who choose to do new and difficult things when they don't have too are also harder on themselves than people who don't?
Off-topic: 1. We wouldn't be able to urge you on if you hadn't been so determined in the first place - for which many thanks
and 2. I'm often asked why on earth I ride a bike and there's no logic to that either!
 

jarvo

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Right ....now then .....this is me ...for once being deadly serious....and take heed...it happens rarely..

but when it does ...take a note....You will have these crashes and these periods of sheer frustration.....remember though

A) It is never the instrument's fault.......it is you.......it is not your fault , it is alpha rhythms and endodorphins and too bloody hot.....After ten minutes of crap , yeah put it down....there is no point in pursuing it if you are not in the mood......do something else ........then go back to it later.....never pick it up with high expectations , expect the worse and you may be surprised......

B)If you can ,keep the instrument somewhere where you can just pick it up in passing....or at least leave it in as accessible a spot as possible.....sometimes those impromptu sessions are really valuable........

C) If you can't make it play a tune do some scales or bass riffs.........make things up , play with, it experiment.....

D) Always finish on the best one you have done for the day, hour, ten mins, whatever..............

E) Beat yourself up mentally when you screw it up....but then relax when playing....if you find you cannot relax ..or concentrate, stop...... for Flipping Full On Hecks Sake it 's a hobby and fun .......

And finally and probably most contentiously, I believe that we could all make more use of the " I Did That " section .....or ask if there is someone on here who will have a listen to privately emailed MP3s...

( I will.....I'm no expert but 'ee I do lahk a good toon..and then accompany and re-send /submit).....

simply to get feedback on development and progress, as well as the sheer delight of posting a piece that is probably pants, like mine, but was fun to make and do ..............not a teaching tool as such, but an advice and suggestion platform.....woodshedding....it's easier if there is more than one ....as George says........anyway I can feel the mischief Imp trying to take over ...so enough.........if you give up I'll smash your fingers :twisted: :lol: How's that !! {} :hb {} ....this is your current state......aim for........ :ch {} :b {} :ch



All The Best

(actually, to be fair, they 're not pants..........pants are useful.)
 

knobby

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Thanks for the advice folks.

I'm off on a boozy trip to London tomorrow, so no accordion, and I'm away most of Sunday too so no accordion then either. Maybe some time off it will help. I don't think my tutor will be too impressed when I go round on Monday evening having done virtually nothing all week.
 

fjsys

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Just to add a me too to this thread.

I find that there are days when I can play, and days when i cannot.
There is nothing more aggravating than the days that I cannot. But what helps me on these days is to remember
a. I don't have to do this for a living.
b. there are very few accordionists because it is a hard instrument. By just picking it up you play it better than 90% of the population.
c. Don't compare yourself to the remaining 10%. (I have the hardest time with this one)

The other thing that helps me through these times is just to play runs. For me there is something hypnotic and relaxing about just running up and down the keyboard for 20 or so minutes.

Don't give up, we all plateau at some point. What makes us different is that we don't quit in that plateau, and some amazing results come out after.
Ben
 

pentaprism

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Thanks for encouraging words, folks. At times I feel Ive had enough too. That happened to me with guitar and piano and I gave up both but somehow keep going back to accordion.
fjsys said:
b. there are very few accordionists because it is a hard instrument. By just picking it up you play it better than 90% of the population.
c. Dont compare yourself to the remaining 10%. (I have the hardest time with this one)

If the numbers 90%/10% are true for accordion in general, now that Im (trying to) play(ing) CBA, I think by just picking it up I play it better than 99% of the population, at least the population in the US ;) :b
 
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Guernseyman

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I was trying to learn flambée montalbanaise and for weeks and I mean weeks I was playing rubbish and left it alone. When I came back to it, the brain put it in the right order and suddenly I could play it. Hang in there - it will get better.
 

Glenn

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Guernseyman said:
I was trying to learn flambée montalbanaise and for weeks and I mean weeks I was playing rubbish and left it alone. When I came back to it, the brain put it in the right order and suddenly I could play it. Hang in there - it will get better.
Ive just started that piece and its bl%$#y difficult.
Hope I can say the same in a few weeks.
 

george garside

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Guernseyman said:
I was trying to learn flambée montalbanaise and for weeks and I mean weeks I was playing rubbish and left it alone. When I came back to it, the brain put it in the right order and suddenly I could play it. Hang in there - it will get better.

What you describe is not uncommon, particularly amongst byearists but also experienced sometimes by dotists. I have experienced it many times, putting a tune I am not completely happy with on the back burner for a long time and then much later suddenly playing it without any problem, indeed sometimes withut even remembering its title.

I see it as a sort of festering process that goes on all by itself within the brain until it suddenly swells up sufficiently to get down the arm!

george :D
 

Soulsaver

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Knobby said:
Thanks for the advice folks.

Im off on a boozy trip to London tomorrow, so no accordion, and Im away most of Sunday too so no accordion then either. Maybe some time off it will help. I dont think my tutor will be too impressed when I go round on Monday evening having done virtually nothing all week.
S/hell be ok when s/hes had the fee. :twisted:
 

Anyanka

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What a relief... I read the heading and thought you'd had enough of running this forum... that would be dreadful!

Anyway, "time off" would have been my suggestion - either doing something completely different, or playing another instrument (ideally one that you're confident on). My favourite alternative to playing music is making art. When I hit a mental block with the artwork, the music helps to get me unstuck. Works both ways.
 

Soulsaver

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Anyanka said:
What a relief... I read the heading and thought you'd had enough of running this forum... that would be dreadful!

Anyway, "time off" would have been my suggestion - either doing something completely different, or playing another instrument (ideally one that you're confident on). My favourite alternative to playing music is making art. When I hit a mental block with the artwork, the music helps to get me unstuck. Works both ways.
You're back. Good break I trust? Top weather, you lucky beggar! :tup:
 
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