Weedon Wednesday No 1: 14th June 2017

Picture of Elsie

Welcome to the first edition of Weedon Wednesday, a weekly miscellany of musical thoughts which I hope prove interesting.


First, I promised to bring you news of my latest acquisition, a Yamaha Stagea ELC-02, or "Elsie" for short. I ordered it as soon as I had seen the one owned by Richard Monks. Whatever sound or facility I imagined, it did it or had it.

This dinky 'keyboard orchestra' is as light to carry as its name is cumbersome. I can carry it by myself, with the keyboards in a shoulder bag and the pedals in a hand bag, and set it up in about 5 minutes.

If you're a fan of 'the technicalities', you'll be interested to know it has a massive spec, almost as big as the ginormously heavy and much more expensive Stagea 2. The sounds it offers would seem to be from the very latest flagship Yamaha keyboard (Tyros 5) and piano (CVP709), and then plus some! But it also happily loads registrations from disks or memory sticks which I made on my ancient EL organs and early Yamaha keyboards.

The sounds are sweet and mind-blowingly gorgeous! And it all costs not a lot more than a single keyboard. However, before you dash into town to order one, you won't find it for sale in any music stores in the UK (or even Europe or the US). The only way to obtain it currently is to buy it over the Internet from Japan. This may sound very scary, but I (and countless others) have used the excellent Taro Trade who crate it all up and send it very promptly, with everything including delivery and import duty easily sorted for you. Once it arrives, you can even plug it straight into a UK socket with a clear mind.

Why Yamaha are not selling this game-changing little beauty outside Japan I don't know. I'm not officially meant to plug it, nor am I permitted to appear with it at any Yamaha events. I wonder if this air of mystery is actually part of some subtle marketing plan? Suffice it to say, it's my dream instrument and I shall be recording a new album on it very shortly. You can obtain more details of the ELC-02 from here.


You may notice that the facility to buy individual tracks or complete albums as downloads from my website has been withdrawn. We were excited to offer this service but you, our customers, have voted - by continuing to purchase the actual CDs by mail order from our distributor, Organ1st. Only a handful switched to downloads.

The free downloads and streaming of A Keyboard at Your Fingertips - our course for learners with a visual impairment - are not affected, and will continue to be available, having proved extremely popular.

As for my easy listening albums and talking tuition books, you will still be able to listen to snippets of each track, so you can sample before you buy. You can purchase CDs via the website by clicking on the links provided.


Well, I have lots of ideas I want to share with you, but I'm out of space for now. Please let me know what's on your mind musically and in future Weedon Wednesdays I will include as many of your comments as I can.

We're back!

An interesting parcel

And everything's new at Weedon Music, including a new home in Gloucestershire, and a fantastic new instrument. We have lots of new concert dates lined up too - watch our diary for details - and various new products and ideas on the drawing board. And the first new idea, starting next week, is Weedon Wednesdays - a weekly mini-post direct to your mailbox containing some nugget of musical interest. So if you haven't done so already, subscribe to our newsletter! And in the meantime, here's a picture of an exciting parcel leaving the Far East on it's way to us just a few short weeks ago. We'll unwrap it for you this coming Wednesday!

Early kick-off, anyone?

A lovely venue

Can concert start times make a difference to attendance? I ask, as I've just played for the excellent society in Sutton in Ashfield. They tell me that not long ago they were down to audiences of about 40, with the future uncertain. Then they made two changes - one to the venue, moving from a church hall to a modern church, and the other to the start time, pulling it forward to 7:00pm.  Some had their doubts, but once tried this early start has proved popular. Yesterday they continued their recent trend of growing audiences, with 130 squeezed in. I'm sure audience growth leads to more audience growth - the atmosphere was terrific, and in order to get a seat at all the regulars started arriving not long after 6:00pm. The early finish meant that buses were still running, too. I've seen concerts beginning earlier from the typical 8:00pm start of my youth, but this is my first brush with a 7:00pm kick-off.  What do you feel about it?


The joys of touring


After an enjoyable evening at Hastings & Bexhill's lovely new venue, we're now cooling our heels before the Crawley gig. Our campsite has some built in entertainment, as we're positioned bang, slap wallop next to the runway at Gatwick Airport.  Tony has his plane spotter's app running, and I keep dashing outside to view the departing aircraft. I've caught one on camera, and you will see the caravan roofs at the bottom of the picture.  Touring is certainly never dull!


Fear of the unknown

So what's happened to Penny's blog lately? Well, I've been suffering from Tenitis (as distinct from Tendonitis which is inflammation of the tendons). What exactly have I been inflamed by? Rumours of what Windows 10 would do to my PC, that's what. I run some pretty ancient and unusual software to master my CDs. I was told, on good authority (and when does authority ever claim to be bad?) that installing Windows 10 would render the programme, and probably a lot more, completely unusable. So here I've been sitting, completely paralysed by fear every time a big sign appeared on my PC saying "Windows 10 is ready to instal". Each time that popped up, I switched off the PC just to stop the invader gaining entry. For the past few weeks, that meant I could work for a maximum of 3 minutes at a time. Not exactly conducive to productivity. Finally, persuaded by friends that the end of the world wasn't going to come from Bill Gates, I clicked 'OK' to Windows 10 last night, and went to bed where I had awful nightmares. And this morning? My PC greeted me with the cheery "Welcome to Windows 10" and everything - yes, everything, including my editing software, is working fine, and probably twice as fast as usual.

I reckon fear of the unknown has a lot to answer for, not least in our endeavours as musicians. Speaking of which, watch this space for our latest on-line product which will appear very shortly now, and will address all those performance fears head on!



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