Update: September 25, 2016 – I just luv this piece! Click this link –> Biscaya by James Last <– for some pure auditory magic! Takes the “nerd” right out of accordion! (Here’s another awesome version of Biscaya again by James Last.)
This is the short story of the accordion. Yup … you heard it right … the accordion. It looked almost identical to the one pictured here and I played it for about 3 years! Oh sure, go ahead … laugh and laugh! (I am! lol …)
Let’s go back … way back. It was early spring 1966 … I had turned 9 that past January and was in grade 3. I recall sitting in the living room one evening in the house on 64th Avenue … Dad, Mom, Russ and myself were there with a man whom I later came to know as Mr. Leno. He was apparently there to “test” Russ and I for any bent to music either of us might have. It was so exciting! If we could follow his very basic instructions, we would get to take music lessons!
Russ wanted guitar lessons … just like big brother Randy who by that time had been playing the electric guitar for a couple of years (and was actually pretty good at it). Dad, who was self taught on the guitar (also pretty good at it), had shown Russ 2 or 3 basic chords so it was a given that he would be deemed suitable for lessons (and he was).
Mr. Leno brought a small “beginner” accordion for me to try out. I don’t recall actually attempting to play it but I must have done ok as the next thing I remember, it was a week or so later and Dad was driving Russ and I to our 1st Saturday morning music lesson at ABC Music (seriously, that’s what it was called!).
I was moving right along with the weekly music lessons and was fast outgrowing the small accordion that was on loan from ABC Music. Mom and Dad seemed to quite enjoy it when, during my practice time, I would come flying out of my bedroom and into the kitchen where they sat after supper drinking coffee and talking, me proud as a peacock and eager to display my progress. My willingness to practice daily for at least half an hour was proving my “stick-to-itness” … they liked that too. Best of all though, I was really enjoying the process of learning to play a musical instrument! There’s just something about being able to make sound come together in a way that sounds pleasant! (Even if at that point those pleasant sounds only constituted the first 4 or 5 bars of Twinkle Twinkle, hahaha!)
Now, you may recall me mentioning in an earlier post (Sheba, the Family Dog) that Dad had a way of surprising us (or me at least) and the accordion was one of those surprises! About 6 or 7 weeks into the music lessons, he came home one day carrying what looked like a boxy suitcase. He sat the case on the kitchen table and told me to go ahead and open it up. Well, imagine my delight when I saw that beautiful, brand new accordion! And it was mine!
I continued with the accordion lessons through grades 4, 5 and 6 and darned if I didn’t get to playing it fairly well! Whenever company came over, Dad would summon me to go get the accordion and play a couple of tunes. And I always happily complied! I even entered the Argyll Talent Contest in Grade 6 … performed Green Sleeves to near perfection … but, sadly, lost to another local accordionist, a boy by the name of Michael.
It all came to an end though when I started Grade 7 in fall of 1969. I was coming 13 in January (enough said, lol). As I look back, I really think I would have continued playing the accordion had it not been that my lessons changed from Saturday morning to Friday evening at 7:00 pm. Whaaaat? I lasted about 1 month and then complained so loudly about all the “fun” I was missing with my friends that Dad finally got fed up and said, “Fine then. Quit.”
I’ve long forgotten how to play the accordion and I’d have to start from scratch in learning to read music again. I’m grateful though for having been taught to play that odd, nerdy instrument. It felt really cool knowing how to do it! I still don’t get it though, why is it so funny to play the accordion? Kidding! hahaha! (But seriously … why? 😂)