Learn to Play Irish Concertina

John Williams
An Easy Beginner's Lesson 65-minute DVD, Includes music + diagrams
  • Code:DLWILCN21
  • Skill Level:Novice (1)

This easy beginner's lesson teaches you everything needed to start making music on any 20 to 30 key concertina. Using his custom Anglo C & G concertina, John Williams explains all the basics: how to hold the instrument; how to get the most power out of your bellows; and how to use the buttons and the versatile C and G scales. Follow along with John as he explains slowed-down, then up-to-speed versions of each tune in split-screen detail. Before you know it, you'll be playing the familiar Irish children's song, Oró (Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile)!

The stereo effect of producing two simultaneous tones (muffled and clear) and of double-octave style playing are both essential techniques. John uses them--as well as the legato capabilities of cross-fingering and a focus on bellows work--to illustrate that developing various skills makes it possible to play one melody in several different ways.

The catchy Jimmy Ward's Jig provides a great opportunity to use the air button, master the alternate C pattern, and begin to add a few simple ornaments. Switching to another concertina, John examines the popular session tune Kesh Jig, using it to introduce new buttons and give advice for better tone production.

John teaches chords, triplets, pick-up notes and more ornaments, then illustrates the common practice of playing jigs in sequence. When his note-for-note breakdown of Bobby's Casey's Jig (in A minor) is complete, John performs this string of jigs so you can hear how they sound together at a moderate pace. He completes this thorough concertina overview with a rousing reel, Last Night's Fun, which introduces additional notes used when playing in the key of D.

As you work your way through this Irish concertina lesson, John shows you how to deliver a tune with good volume, clarity, snap and rhythm. Before long, you'll be ready to lead your own dance sets on this wonderful traditional instrument!


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