Halsway Melodeon Playing Levels

These guidelines are to help you understand whether a course is suitable for you. Pick the level that best describes you, don’t worry if you don’t meet all criteria.

Playing by Ear / Reading Music: Although reference is made to reading music, most of our courses are taught be ear. On courses where it is necessary to be a good sight reader, the course description will make this clear.

What System? For most courses a 2-row, 8 bass instrument will be more than adequate at all levels; where a course is likely to have a bias towards 2.5 row / 3 row / 12+ bass systems, this will be indicated in the course description.

Please get in touch if you are unsure; it can be really hard to assess your own ability level, and we’re happy to help you decide.

Level 0: Absolute Beginner!

  • You have no prior experience at all and don’t even know which way up it goes
  • You may be completely new to music
  • You may need to borrow an instrument to try (this is something we can arrange)

Level 1: Beginner

  • You might have just started playing, with a lesson or two under your belt
  • Or you may have been playing for longer without feeling you’re getting very far…
  • You are mainly playing right hand; getting the left hand to work as well is a bit of a task!
  • When learning new tunes, you need to take things very slowly
  • Playing in a group environment might be new to you
  • You have your own 2-row, 8 bass instrument

Level 2: Improver

  • You are able to play a few simple tunes (eg. Winster Gallop, Banbury Bill etc) using both hands together
  • You can use the left-hand bass and chord buttons in simple rhythms
  • Right and left hand co-ordination is still tricky!
  • Row crossing is a dark art…
  • Learning new tunes – from music or by ear – takes a bit of time
  • You probably play a two-row, 8 bass instrument

Level 3: Lower Intermediates

  • You can play simple tunes – using both hands – in different keys (eg. D, G, E minor)
  • You’ll have some knowledge of playing different repertoire and styles
  • You have a pretty good idea of where to find all the notes on the treble end
  • You know where to find your basses and chords on the left hand
  • You can confidently play a variety of left hand rhythms
  • You are crossing rows
  • You are able to pick up tunes by ear, and are also able to play from music, albeit at a steady pace
  • You probably play a two-row, 8 bass instrument

Level 4: Advanced Intermediates

  • You can play with a degree of fluency across a variety of repertoire and styles
  • You fully understand the layout of your instrument
  • You can quickly find notes as required
  • You are becoming confident playing across the rows
  • You can keep a good rhythm and pace
  • You are exploring aspects such as style, phrasing, dynamics, accents, and ornamentation
  • You can learn tunes by ear at a reasonable pace, and can read music too
  • You might now be playing a two-and-a-half or 3 row instrument, with 12/14/18 basses, and be exploring how to use it
  • Or you might be a motivated player of a two-row, 8 bass instrument, that’s fine too

Level 5: Advanced

  • You can play fluently across a variety of repertoire and styles
  • You can learn quickly by ear, and sight read
  • You play confidently across the rows
  • You can improvise
  • You’ve developed a personal style and musicality
  • You are experienced playing and arranging sympathetically with others
  • You probably play a three-row, 12/18 bass, or a two-and-a-half row instrument, with 12 basses, and can make use of the additional possibilities the system allows you
  • If you play a two-row, but are otherwise sure you meet the description of an advanced player, then please contact us to check suitability.
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