Sunday, September 17, 2006

ABCs and things...

It's great to be getting a bit of feedback from this site! If you are finding it at all interesting do leave a comment, and tell your friends.

One person has contacted me requesting that I send them some Scottish ceilidh tunes. There are plenty of sources of these both in books and on the internet. I don't think I want to get into the business of providing these right now. The person who got in touch was asking for tunes in ABC format. This is a way of accurately writing melodies using the alphabet and a few other symbols. Some people really like it, and it is certainly handy on a computer keyboard. (However, I am not fluent in it at all!) However, there are a number of sources of traditional music on the internet which include ABC files and standard notation, so here's a couple of links:

I was also happy to hear from someone who found this page via a link from a site called Let's Polka. This was amazing, as I'd never heard of it and this blog was less than 2 days old at the time. It's a nifty place to go for accordion news, etc. Worth checking out at

Back to the question of me providing written music without tuition for a moment, here's part of my reply to that question in an email I received today. "If you want some help with your playing more generally, I would be happy to help you with that via some video coaching (or perhaps just audio) - and that could include teaching you some tunes by ear. Learning by ear is very rewarding, and although I read the dots very fluently I also encourage all my pupils to learn to play by ear. It really helps your style, and means you can learn things you like straight off CDs or from other players."

I notice that some music teachers seem to base their approach almost entirely on teaching piece after piece without teaching any pure technique. I think there is a belief that people will be too bored and they won't get enough business, etc. I have not found this to be the case in my own teaching. Rather, I think pupils feel enabled to tackle the music they want to play because they know they have the various skills they need in place. Of course I teach tunes as well!!



Anonymous said...

I understand where your coming from re: the teaching pure technique, something i have never really done, its just been tune after tune...

some more comments on the type of thing you would suggest would be very helpful indeed

Kris Hughes said...

Hi "anonymous"

I think a lot of people are vaguely dissatisfied with just learning tune after tune - it's not very empowering to be hand fed like this. It's the old "give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish" isn't it!

I have been away the past few days, but now I am back there will be new items on the blog this week. Perhaps you would like to reply and suggest a topic such as right hand or left hand or bellows or whatever.


Anonymous said...

Great to have found your blog. I've played piano for many years and have just started the piano accordian so have been fishing for useful sites. I will certainly make this blog a regular visit!

Thanks for the links to scottish tunes (been struggling to find any) and the useful reminders about aspects of practice.

I think the main issue I have is with the bellows, should I systematically "change direction" at the end of a phrase or can I be a bit looser about controlling the air flow? Any tips would be much appreciated.

Thanks for blogging and being open to beginners!

Kris Hughes said...

Welcome, Janine!

I have been meaning to write something on the subject of bellows all week. It's a big subject, and one where I particularly feel that a picture is going to be worth a thousand words. However, I will try to get something useful up ASAP. I am planning to do an instructional DVD on this, as I feel it is a strong point of my teaching and an often neglected subject.

Watch this space!!