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1. Don't rely too much on one row



Learn both the middle row and the inside row together when you’re starting and you’ll be off to a great start.


It’s good to be able to be flexible across the rows when playing the concertina. For example, if you’re thinking ‘I play this tune on the inside row because it’s in the key of G’, then your phrasing and flow won’t be relaxed because you’ll have to push/pull so often.


If you’re able to move across the rows easily, you will be able to control your phrasing and flow, resulting in better rhythm. 






2. Give notes their full value


Try not to cut notes short in order to get to the next note in time. I see this happening a lot amongst beginners.


Give each note its full value. As one student described it, ‘lean in’.


It can sound choppy when notes are cut short.


It’s an easy change to make in your playing but makes a big difference.


More on this in the ‘Special Tips’ lessons in the Starter Course (coming soon).




Playing The Concertina




3. Use your thumb for the air button


Don’t make the mistake at the start of using your index finger (1st finger) on the air button.


Use the side length of your right thumb. 




4. Posture


Sit up straight, relax your shoulders and keep your wrists straight.



Learning Concertina



5. Don't hop


Don’t hop from one button to the next button with the same finger if you can.


There are alternative options on the concertina (ie: Two D's, Three A's, etc)


I go through these and more in the first few lessons in the Starter Course here on 



Range of Concertinas for Beginners




6. Learn the names of the notes at the start


This will stand to you. Spend time at the beginning learning the names of the notes, where they are and which direction they go in on the concertina.


Look at the map of the concertina and learn the notes coloured in red first (see Blog on Map of the Concertina).


These are all the notes you’ll need to know for your first 5-10 tunes/lessons.


After that, you can learn new buttons as you learn new tunes that use them.


The map of the concertina is available to download in every lesson here in the Starter Course.  




Learn more from Caitlín by signing up to unlimited lessons on






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