26-28 April 2019

About the Workshops:

There are no designated instructors, nor workshops decided in advance. At the beginning of the weekend we cooperatively develop a schedule of workshops for the following days. Any individual may suggest a workshop subject that they would like to either learn or teach, and from those subjects for which we find both "teachers" and "students" -- or "seminar participants" -- we work up a schedule to accomodate as many as possible.

But spontaneous, unscheduled "workshops", jams, discussions, etc. are not forbidden. In fact, they're common. Those present do what they wish when they wish, and they're welcome to change their minds whenever they want. (The exceptions are arrival, departure, and meal times. Even meals are optional, but I don't recall anyone choosing to miss one.)

Advance input
    Some folks have said that they learn more readily with a more structured format and would be more comfortable if there were advance materials to study. Well, the main concept of the Squeeze-In is that the structure is improvised, but we've introduced a feature that I hope might let us "have it both ways":

Instead of waiting until we all gather on Friday evening to even take suggestions for workshops, we're asking those who have definite ideas of what they would like -- to either learn, teach, or share -- to let us know in advance (by email). Then we'll use this page to keep everyone up to date on the suggestions and any responses to them. If there's enough interest in a particular subject or skill and one or more interested in teaching it, and if the prospective teacher(s) would like to provide materials in advance, then we would gladly assist in the distribution of those materials to the interested parties.

Once again, to "prime the pump", we're providing a few workshop suggestions (below). But if you have your own ideas of what you'd like to either see or share, please let us know. Don't be shy.

If you're submitting a suggestion, please say whether it's something you'd like to lead or something you'd like to learn. If it's something you'd like to lead and you'd like to make materials (e.g., notation for tunes) avaiable in advance, I could also post them here. That might be a good way to attract support and participants for "your" workshop(s). I'll also post any relevant comments then made by others. (Sorry, no "Like" buttons. If you want to comment, you'll have to actually say something in an email.)

   To send an email with either suggestions or comments,
click here.

The ultimate scheduling of workshops will still be done cooperatively on Friday evening. Additional workshop suggestions -- both requests for subjects and offers to host -- will still be accepted at that time. Materials to hand out are definitely not a requirement. And it's even possible that a workshop for which materials are provided in advance won't make it into the final schedule, though that seems unlikely if there was strong advance interest.

Some suggestions from "the management" and others:

These are just a few suggestions from myself (Jim Lucas) and other former participants, to "prime the pump", as it were. Several of them have been done before, but are certainly worth doing again if there's interest. If you have other ideas -- and we hope you do, -- please send them to me using the above email link, and I'll include them here. That will give everyone a chance to think them over before the SSI starts.

Note that some of these suggested "workshops" would work well as "seminars", i.e., with a "panel" of experienced individuals sharing and comparing their experiences. Others would work better with a single "teacher". And some could be done either way, depending on the needs and resources on hand when we develop our schedule.
Basics - About the Concertina
  • How it works.
  • The different kinds and keyboard layouts (anglo, English, various duets).
  • Facts, myths, and just plain opinions.
This would be especially useful for anyone attracted to the concertina but unsure about the different types or even about concertinas in general.

Basics - Playing the Concertina
  • Holding the instrument, controlling the bellows, reaching all the buttons.
  • Exploring your concertina: Learning the "logic" behind your keyboard, but more importantly, getting a "feel" for where the music lies.
  • How to practice, and other "tricks of the trade".
This should be useful not only to relative beginners and those trying concertina for the first time, but also to experienced players interested in how others approach the above issues. Depending on the needs or desires of those attending, this could be divided into different sections -- anglo, English, etc., -- though I think a combined session looking at the similarities and differences among the different types could also be beneficial to all.

Those "other" squeezeboxes
Though we've emphasized concertinas in the past (and it's my own concentration), at past SSIs there have always been at least a couple of participants who also played some form of accordion, especially the "diatonic button accordion" types known variously as melodeon, button box, durspel, etc. Since 2013 we have officially included these other squeezeboxes as equal participants in our Squeeze-In. We're all glad we did, and are looking forward to even more of them this year.

Tune Arrangement and Song Accompaniment
How do they differ and how are they the same? Looking at various styles and techniques and how to use them.

Do you have questions or concerns about comfort or control when playing the concertina? Pain that you think might affect your playing or even be a result of your playing? Here's where we can discuss our experiences, problems, solutions, or just guidelines... keeping in mind that different individuals may need individually different solutions.

Basic Maintenance and Repair
For any serious work I take my concertinas to someone with more expertise and a better workshop than my own. But every player needs to know how to deal with minor matters, those things which can interrupt a performance but can also be fixed on the spot with little more than a screwdriver of the right size. If you don't already know, here's your chance to learn.

Tunes From Here and There
Each local tradition has its own music and styling. I've lately become interested in tunes from the Jämtland region of Sweden. Friends from Skåne, Dalarna, Stockholm, etc. might like to teach some from their own local traditions. And of course, non-Swedish music -- e.g., from Fanø (in Denmark), Cork (Ireland), Telemark (Norway), Yorkshire (England), New England (USA), Greece, etc. -- is also exciting and welcome.

Depending on the interest and on who has what to share, this could be one workshop covering multiple traditions, separate workshops for different traditions, or some of each.

Playing for Dancing
Morris, contra, English country, Irish, etc. Each has its own "feel", and therefore its own requirements, but the techniques for getting expression from your instrument are the same.

Share Your Favorites
Each can bring a few favorites to share, no matter where they're from. We can listen to several, then choose a few to learn.

Irish tunes and style
More than one person has a particular interest in Irish music. It's worth sharing.

English (or other) tunes and style
The same goes for English, or French, or....

Playing for Morris dancing
Cotswold Morris, in particular, though also other kinds, if there's interest.

Let's Compose a Tune or Two
Introducing a few tricks that can be used to start composing your own tunes. We could then use them to do just that.

Click here to see a copy of a tune composed jointly by the participants in a similar workshop I ran some years ago. A different approach could have each participant pick a few "tricks of the trade" to compose a tune or two of their own.

Concertina Band
Both "classical" music and traditional dance music and airs are possible sources. Two, three, and more parts. We can go over each part, so you should be able to join in whether you read "the dots" or learn by ear.

Playing from the "Written" Traditions
There are many arrangements of medieval, renaissance, classical, and other musical styles that have been recorded for one or more instruments. If you can read music, these can be a source of both enjoyment and inspiration. Music in parts written for other instruments can be great fun to play on concertinas. (Admittedly, there could be some overlap with the idea of a concertina "band", but the emphasis here is somewhat different.) If you don't read notes but learn readily by listening, you could also join in by learning through listening to someone who does read.

Past workshops:

Some (but hardly all) of the topics dealt with in past workshops have been:
... Swedish tunes
... jazz chords and harmonies
... comparing Crane duet styles
... English tunes
... beginning song accompaniment
... variety in accompaniment styles
... chords for beginners
... Danish tunes
... comparing ways of holding and controlling your concertina
... basic instrument maintenance and repair
... Northumbrian tunes
... comparing anglo styles ("Irish", "English", etc.)
... playing Irish on the English
... basic Swedish dance (not just tunes, but steps)
... different types of tunes for different types of dance
... early history of the concertina
... tunes from Jämtland
... one-row tunes (obviously for those who play anglo or melodeon/durspel)
... and many more, over the years

Of course, it should be possible to do any of these again, if there's sufficient interest.