#2 Choosing Your Instrument: Piano Accordion

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Before we begin this process I would like to dispel the myth, that some instruments are easier or harder to learn. This is a bit like saying it’s more difficult to climb Mount Everest than it is to climb up the outside face of a sky scraper, reasoning that Mount Everest is higher. Both are a challenge no matter which way you look at it. Learning to play any musical instrument is going to take a lot of hard work, and it is a long term project.

The piano accordion has a reed for each note, that vibrates when you push the bellows in or out. The right hand piano key’s  are very light to the touch and as the name suggests, it looks like a piano, but that is where the similarity ends. You will find different size accordions available, and the reference, as to size, is indicated by how many bass notes there are on the left hand side eg 48, 80, 120 , which gives us a neat transition, to all the mysterious buttons.

It’s a good idea to watch your left hand in a mirror at least to start with. The first 2 rows going from your chin towards your knee are the bass notes, these are single notes providing a low end sound. The next rows are chords, it is a very clever mechanical mechanism that one button is pressing three notes; eg C major is c-e-g.

Pro’s & Con’s
Pro’s: This is a very versatile instrument compact and practical, used in different cultures around the world bring a unique style of music wherever it it’s played.
My favourite is Scottish, but there’s Irish, French, Russian, and a lot more to discover.

Con’s: It’s popularity in some ways, has made the instrument look very – un cool, I’m not sure why but I believe it is so. It can be difficult to play, because you can’t see what you’re left hand is playing. You must depended on listening rather than looking, but listening gives it a Pro. The traditional instrument  can be heavy to hold when you play and carry it, this is a con for a lot of people.

There are now some totally amazing digital accordions, no reeds, every thing is so good to play, and it weighs a fraction of the traditional accordion, which is a definite PRO but the con is, they are very expensive.

If you are going to buy your first accordion, it is best to actually visit a music shop–yes you know what I mean one of these places with a real window, why! Because you can get a feel for what the instrument is like for you, even if you can’t play it.

All the best and so Start Practicing.

I met Phil Cunningham at a gig in Aberdeen he is my favourite accordion player and he made it cool to play the accordion. The pic is a younger version of me, happy day’s fixing my hair.

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