Accordion/Why Play the Accordion?

< Accordion

There are many reasons to play the accordion.

Firstly, it's different. You see a lot of violinists, pianists, cellists, etc., performing all the time. But when is the last time you saw a serious, professional accordionist playing? Although the stereotype accordionist plays only simple folk polkas in beer halls, in reality you can do a lot more - provided you have a full-sized instrument, both jazz and classical music are not only possible, but are surprisingly well-suited to the instrument. A well-maintained, quality accordion has a pleasing sound and large dynamic range comparable to a piano or woodwind.

You can play a melody while accompanying yourself (something that string and woodwind players cannot do). An accordion player performing a melody can add her own bassline and chords. You can also sing along while playing.

By playing the accordion, you will also develop a large degree of manual dexterity and increase your hand and finger strength. Playing complicated music requires a lot of finger work in both right and left hands, and operating the bellows is an excellent exercise for the left arm.

The "ear" is also developed by playing melodies, basslines and chords, and, if you are playing jazz or popular music, improvising solos and reharmonizing songs. If you are trying to learn music, accordion is one of the few instruments that allow you to play melodies, basslines and chords at the same time (the others are piano and organ). On bass instruments, you spend most if your time at rehearsals playing basslines, which means you do not learn much about playing melodies or chords (even though you are exposed to the chord progression in a linear sense by playing basslines). On brass and woodwind instruments, you will get a lot of experience playing melodies, but not, for upper-register instruments, playing basslines (and never playing chords). On guitar, you will learn chording and melody-playing (and, to a small degree, about bass, as blues and jazz guitarists can often do a walking bassline). But only the keyboard family instruments like accordion will allow you to play melodies, bass and chords at the same time and get routine opportunities in performance settings to play all these roles.

Moreover, there is always demand for accordionists. If you play well, you can be hired as a performer at a restaurant, cafe or pub, either as a solo performer, in a duo or trio, or in a band.