Age related syndrome

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george garside
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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:18 am

can we please keep politics away from the forum and stick to polite box banter?

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:27 am

can we please keep politics out of the forum and stick to polite box banter!

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Geoff de Limousin » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:11 am

When my wife started to learn the fiddle (Violin) in her late 30's, a fiddle playing friend said " the first five years are the worst" ! I can attest to the fact that if the Violin is one's choosen instrument it is best to start before the age of 10... but our friend was right and my wife, who has fine musical skills, became a good player within that suggested time span.

So, when I began the CBA at 64 I did not have high expectations, though it is the fifth type of keyboard layout I 've tried, knowing full well how much time would be needed I decided to enjoy the journey. Luckily although I have not procured a teacher, I have a solid genre of music to launch into which can be played simply enough and plenty of examples ( heros) to listen to. Nearly four years down the line I am happy with progress... even if I am the only one. ;)

Sometimes I watch the televison (with the sound off) whilst I practice to play without fully concentrating, this appears to be usefull to overcome those mistakes caused by distractions ( like when playing for an audience) and to improve 'muscle memory'...whatever that is. This type of brain training came in usefull recently when it was my turn to lead the band at our local ball and the precocious four year old daughter of another accordionist decided that I should put on the 'accordion smile' and stood right in my face trying to pull my mouth open.... I survived ... only just.

Keep at it whilst you are enjoying it .... and levels of playing skills do improve with time .
Last edited by Geoff de Limousin on Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by JerryPH » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:54 pm

I think that is the one constant truth... in that no matter what you do, as long as you do it consistently and with all the passion you can muster, you WILL improve. The issue where it relates to this thread is that if you compare the improvement of a 20-year old vs a 70-year old, the improvement levels and speed at which improvements are attained are different, nothing else.

I still heartily recommend a nice 15-30 minutes of exercises at the start, just to warm up and get the mind and body synced and some flow happening and then spend the rest of the practice session (be that 15 minutes or 5 hours) practicing and playing songs you enjoy.

At this stage that is what the accordion should be about... having fun doing and playing what you want most.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by jozz » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:12 pm

My humble opinion is that the accordion is by the way not the ideal instrument to take on at later age. Especially the size, bulk, you need a fit body here, it's not so easy.

Cursing in the church here, but why not try melodeon sometime? It's closer to the end results of the guitar, in so, that it is small, essentially made for beginners and you'll get a decent tune going in months rather than years. Or so this is my opinion.

As melodeon is my goal for 2018, I am biased, but already I have smiling faces when I pick it up, where the accordion is met with another attitude. Not that I'm saying you can't play solely for yourself, but I feel the melodeon is like driving a solex or a cute classic car, where as the accordion is like driving a dime-a-dozen louder moped.

:b

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george garside
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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:15 pm

certainly not as to me all melodeons are accordions but not all accordions are melodeons! . However anyone on here thinking of taking up the ''melodeon'' (called a button accordion in some parts of the world and an accordion diatonique in france) would find it worth looking at melodeon.net forum for loads of info.

The main decision in choosing a melodeon is whether to go for a '4th apart box' or a 'semitone box'
the former play very well in their home keys of eg DG, CF , BbEb or whatever but are defi;antely not chromatic.

The semitone boxes eg BC. CC# etc are chromatic but are very deficient in the bass .

george

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Alan Sharkis » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:25 pm

jozz wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:12 pm
My humble opinion is that the accordion is by the way not the ideal instrument to take on at later age. Especially the size, bulk, you need a fit body here, it's not so easy.

Cursing in the church here, but why not try melodeon sometime? It's closer to the end results of the guitar, in so, that it is small, essentially made for beginners and you'll get a decent tune going in months rather than years. Or so this is my opinion.

As melodeon is my goal for 2018, I am biased, but already I have smiling faces when I pick it up, where the accordion is met with another attitude. Not that I'm saying you can't play solely for yourself, but I feel the melodeon is like driving a solex or a cute classic car, where as the accordion is like driving a dime-a-dozen louder moped.

:b

now you may curse and swear on me
OK, here comes another IMHO, which is: it depends on what kind of music you want to play and under what circumstances.. Right now, I'm learning to read chord symbols from a lead sheet and playing those chords with my right hand using American pop music as material. If you really need the chromatic ability of a PA or a CBA as I do, there are alternatives to choosing a 25-or-more pound instrument, but they all have their own positives and negatives. A smaller PA or CBA is, of course, one choice. So are reedless instruments, but they have their own drawbacks as well as weight advantages.

Take my experience as an example. I bought a compact PA from a friend, but the 17" keyboard did not play well with my larger fingers. I bought a SEM Ciao reedless (later traded in) when my back was giving me trouble, but found problems in the bass samples. On a sustained bass note it sounded like all but one set of "reeds" cut out. When that happened and my back got better, the trade-in occurred. The Ciao, the compact accordion and a 12-bass that I was saving for my granddaughter (who decided she wanted no part of it) were all traded in for a full-size PA with mikes and midi.

My teacher has a rather heavy Petosa that he used to take to gigs and still does on occasion. But if those gigs demanded a lot of electronics and amplification, he opted for a Roland. He originally had an FR-7, but later got himself an FR-8x. There was only a slight weight advantage of the FR-8x over the Petosa, and after playing a series of strolling gigs in a restaurant with it, he was worn out and hurting. So, he bought a Roland FR-4x which has a significant weight advantage over the Petosa and he can stroll with it more easily, even though, when compared to the FR-8x, it's missing a few treble keys and some programming capabilities.

Oh. Did I fail to mention? I'll be 78 next month.

Alan

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Tom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:00 pm

I'll add my two cents because I too started late in life. I agree that I will never get to the level of accomplishments reached by people who started much younger, no matter how many hours a day I put in. I recognize this, based on the profiency I was able to reach in other skills I started much earlier.

But, that said, I do see improvement gradually in my skills, even in my 60s, and did take lessons to start, thereby learning the basics. I have been able to progress enough to entertain people, to have fun and to play well with others. I'm smart enough not to try to keep up with the experts, thereby avoiding that feeling of being an annoyance myself.

However, that said, there is more to music than proficiency, technical skills and how many notes you can play per second. This is what can provide hope to us old people. You can have, or not have, soul, musicality, feeling, etc. at any age. It's an old saying, and a cliché, that BB King could produce more feeling with 5 notes played beautifully than (insert name of your favorite shredder) could with 1500. (Yeah, Ok, I know, he played 18 hours a day since he was 2, but the point remains regardless.)

In fact, as I watch some of these experts run up and down the keyboard a mile a minute, I just shrug and go over to that old guy with the funny hat who has played the same 3 tunes of his village for 70 years and yet gets everybody dancing.

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:21 pm

That brings up a very important point for anyone starting later in life or for that matter developing aches and pains here and there after many years playing.

Choose tunes of slow to moderate speed but that can be played with great feeling eg waltzes, slow airs, sing along stuff etc etc

choose or downsize to a box that you can feel comfortable playing i.e. so that playing it is a pleasure rather than hard work or even torture . many a good tune can be had out of a 48 bass 3 voice box and for playing for enjoyment 60 or 72 should cover most 'needs' if not 'wants' . Just because some refer to a 120 bass box as being 'full size' is quite misleading as there is an inference that anything smaller is not quite the thing to have!

And yes a melodeon may be worth considering

george

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Tom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:34 pm

All good points. And other ways to compensate: I practice a lot with a smaller, lighter 41/120, and bring out the bigger one when I want the sound. The difference in keyboard size doesn't seem to bother me. One pro I know uses a 72 bass for strolling, standing, and accompanying, and also keeps a 41/120 on a stand on stage for solos.

To compensate for not being able to sight read quickly, I build up a repertoire slowly, adding songs (tunes, American English, ☺) as I know the others very competently. This way no one suspects the repertoire is limited ☺. Also, I'm not afraid to write in fingerings, and to make my own arrangements to make the tunes easier to see, and if necessary, to play.

You can't help getting older, but you can keep it fun!

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:39 pm

Tom wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:34 pm
You can't help getting older, but you can keep it fun!
and in so doing minimise the side effects of old age creeping up on you

George ( a young man of 75 determined to grow old disgracefully!) {} :b :ch

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Tom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:03 pm

Good for you George! My (informal) teacher is 77 and can play the heck out of me. I saw Dick Contino play at 85 and I say, "It's,all good!"

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by donn » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:09 pm

jozz wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:12 pm
As melodeon is my goal for 2018, I am biased, but already I have smiling faces when I pick it up, where the accordion is met with another attitude.
That doesn't come as much of a surprise, but I can't fully account for why. Most of the music I play, on accordion, comes to me from melodeon players, so it's a particularly interesting question for me. The sound is unmistakably different, but some of it is visual, isn't it?

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:41 pm

Donn, do the melodeon players you listen to play DG or BC boxes. The DGs' tend to have a very distinctive sound mainly because of the limitations of 8 bisonoric bass which tend to be used to drive a rhythm but give only more or less ok harmony. Great for ceilidh or morris dance stuff if treated as (slightly) tuned percussion,

The BC bass can't really be used to drive a rhythm and tend to be either not used or just pot the odd bass note that will harmonise as it passes sort of thing.

The melodeon bass rhythm/harmony is very difficult if not impossible to imitate on stradella

george

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:11 pm

Hello Happy Girl,

I have a fading memory of an historic discourse in which we were involved. You seemed somewhat perturbed by my attitude toward learning music I didn't like, especially after I stated that I would not waste a moment of my time on learning stuff I didn't like and didn't want to play.

Your suggestion was, as I recall, that we should learn whatever we were advised to learn, and that this would make us better players. My position was (then & now) that I found it better and easier to learn a tune if I actually liked it.

I first picked up an accordion at the age of 67 (almost 68), and fully understood that I was never going to be a fabulous player. What I have achieved, despite my advancing years, is reasonable competence with the type of music I enjoy playing. I still make mistakes, but I have a ball doing it.

All I want out of life is to have fun. I don't really take anything too seriously, and no-one is going to persuade me to do otherwise. Playing my accordions is a joy....... Playing at my Folk Club is a joy....... I couldn't care less about convention or grades, as I view that as being too much like work.

My advise, if you will accept it, is to do whatever makes you happy and content, and don't get too serious about things.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Keymn » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:01 am

At 65, I no longer desire to hustle gigs like I was up to 2017.
Can not remember lyrics, like when younger. Melody lines and chords still stick in my mind. Maybe that part of the brain, wherever it is, lasts longer?

Here in Scottsdale, the Accordion gigs seem limited to senior retirement areas. Appears many hobby musicians play those centers for little or no money. Which is not a bad thing!

My mother had severe Alzheimer’s in her 80s and when I did a show at her nursing home, she sat by her keyboard and started playing a song. I will never forget that!

Don’t let how old you are, slow you down (It is only a number). If it is in your heart, pickup that accordion, violin, guitar...etc. and jam away!

LR
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http://www.larryrobertsent.com

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by donn » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:28 am

george garside wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:41 pm
Donn, do the melodeon players you listen to play DG or BC boxes. The DGs' tend to have a very distinctive sound mainly because of the limitations of 8 bisonoric bass which tend to be used to drive a rhythm but give only more or less ok harmony. Great for ceilidh or morris dance stuff if treated as (slightly) tuned percussion,
Yes, I reckon it would be at any rate the usual melodeon, with two scales some distance apart, likely often D/G but could be A/D, C/F, whatever. There is for sure an important difference in the bass voicing, and I dare say the treble reeds are also a bit different. But I doubt that's all there is to it. The push pull action and its connection to the music might be as important.

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:58 am

the push pull aaction CAN make a difference in that many melodeon players make very rough ins and outs but it is just as possible to play smoothly - a good player has the choice but unfortunely many play very heavy verging on turgid bass.

A difference between diatonic and piano box is that with skill it is possible to insert very small grace notes between tune notes by giving the bellows a very swift but gentle pull whilst pushing ! this gives just a hint of the note on the other side of a button eg playing A push will give a hint of G if a 'back flick' is applied

george

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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by Happy girl » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:22 am

From your many posts I feel inspired to write a synopsis of my own favourite contributions:

Most inspiring: 'Remember, music is not about getting to a destination, it is all about the journey' Jerry PH

'Progress can seem slow but when you have been at it for a few years, think back to how you were doing early on and you will almost certainly see an improvement.' oldchemist


'The issue where it relates to this thread is that if you compare the improvement of 20-year old vs. a 70-year old, the improvement levels and speed at which improvements are attained are different, nothing else.
I still heartily recommend a nice 15-30 minutes of exercises at the start, just to warm up and get the mind and body synced and some flow happening and then spend the rest of the practice session (be that 15 minutes or 5 hours) practicing and playing songs you enjoy'. Jerry PH

"Do what's fun" is good advice, but maybe not great advice - the problem is, it's fun to do better, so the question may be how to do enough better, that it's fun'. Donn

Saddest: Every time I decided to "start again from scratch" it got harder and harder to the point where at age 64 I am not really able to progress any further. It's not that I don't want to learn, it just seems that my capability to do so is no longer there. Maugein96

Favourite: At an older age, the question of what you are going to get out of it yet is more pressing. Taking up the instrument at 70 may mean that you are still fighting your deteriorating physique at 90 trying to get stuff to sound the way you imagine it should when people the same age as you haven't taken up useless stuff like that and have already managed to get their burial under wraps 15 years ago. Geronimo

Most witty: Some are just happy but crappy george Garside


Happy playing everybody & thanks for your uplifting contributions. {}

george garside
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Re: Age related syndrome

Post by george garside » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:36 am

please can we keep clear of politics and stick to ''box banter''

george

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