Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I like being a bad influence on the youth. The accordion will NEVER DIE!

My Super-Thankful Thanksgiving Accordion Story!
A little boy came into the music shop where I work with his piano teacher. He might have been 7 or 8 I guess. He whistled tunelessly as he walked around the store taking in everything (and he was wearing an awesome stripey hat).

A man started to try out an accordion nearby and the boy was instantly captivated by it. His mouth formed an "o" and he tried to stare down the accordion and take in what was happening. I know that look. I used to have it as a kid when I would see musicians play.  It was like watching magic happen. He stood right in front of the man and started pressing the bass buttons to see what happened while he played. I was too charmed to stop him, because his eyes had also obtained what I recognized as the glazing over of the eyes when one first falls in love with an instrument. Or a freshly baked chocolate cake. It depends on your tastes.

When the man stopped playing, the boy was amazed that no sound came out when he pressed the buttons again. He said "Why doesn't any sound come out?" And I told him unlike a keyboard it had to breathe and to do that the bellows had to move. He said "WHAT?!?!?" So I got a plastic toy accordion that is see-thru and explained to him about how the keys lifted the valve that lets the air and the sound out.  I gave him the toy accordion and he happily ran around playing it, until I sensed my co-workers were starting to squirm.

So he'd played that enough, and he wanted to try the big accordion. I told him it was too big and he protested, so I said "Well, let's play it together then!" So I put it on and played the C-Cmj chord standard patter on the bass and he jammed with me on the treble most excellently! He was just totally making stuff up and it was in key and everything. I said "Kid, you can really jam!" Eat your hearts out Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer! ;)

The little boy was so totally in the moment all the time. He didn't even seem to think about what it was he needed to do, he just did it and assumed it would work. It's what the best musicians I know do. Just go for it.

I said, Ok, I'm gonna switch keys, do you know G?" And he nodded and when I said "G" he pretty much went for it. And then we went back down to C again and he even did pretty much what he did before, then G and on to C etc for a few rounds.  It was adorable. He said " I want to learn to play accordion!" as he left with his teacher. Super Awesomeness! I am thankful to help open up that magical world a little to an adventurous young accordion-mind!

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