Melodeon Playgroup IV: A Squeezing Success!

This past weekend saw the sixth original Melodeon Playgroup event take place which is held in one of my favourite places on Earth – The Fleece Inn, Bretforton. This was my fifth consecutive year of teaching at the event, which caters for absolute beginners, beginners and improvers.

This year I took the improvers group – all 31 of them! We took the tune Jenny Lind Polka apart, degreased it and put it back together again. A large group equals a diverse array of abilities so I kept the speed low all day so that no one was left behind (an important feature in my workshops!). Learning to play slowly (very slowly!) is very important for building control into our playing and it was challenging for even the most experienced players in the group. Watch a video of them all playing together at the end of the day!

My workshoppers were tripping over each other to tell me how much they’d enjoyed the day, how much they’d learned and what a great job I did. This particular piece of unprovoked feedback really touched my heart:

As a participant I can honestly say I felt you handled the whole thing superbly – if you were in any way at all privately daunted by the task, it in no way came out in your presentation and tutoring. In 30 odd years working for private enterprises, I was regularly in situations where senior professional managers were sitting over seminars or working groups with far less bodies spread around the room than you had on Saturday. Many of those managers could have learnt much just by sitting and watching your class on Saturday. That you kept 31 people on track for the entirety of both sessions speaks volumes for what you achieved. Despite the very obviously different ability levels, I doubt anybody completed the session without feeling they had a fair amount to take away with them. Well done!

Acorn Instruments Presentation

During the lunch break, myself and Pete Ward from Acorn Instruments announced our new business partnership to the crowd. The news was well received as both of us are well known to the Playgroup community. Pete presented me with the Castagnari Trilly that I had chosen to be mine a few weeks ago when I visited his showroom near York. Here is photographic evidence of the moment I received the instrument and a video of me enjoying playing in the acoustics at my Mum and Dad’s house: