If you didn’t already know, I play the accordion. The term I prefer to use though is “learning the accordion” as I’ve only been playing it 6 months or so, and I’m by no means a pro. But I love playing it and am having fun teaching myself, so eventually I’ll get to the stage where I simply say I play the accordion.
Anyway, I’ve joined a band and last Thursday was our first practice. It was amazing. Perhaps not in performance quality, but if the amount of fun I had was measured in £s, then I’d say I hit the jackpot.
The great thing about it was that none of us had been in a band before and that we were all meeting for the first time. And some of us hadn’t actually been playing for too long on our chosen instruments, which is great because it doesn’t put too much pressure on anyone and gives us all room to grow.
We had 5 songs which we all briefly looked at/listened to before. I made myself a chord sheet for each to prompt myself, which I shared with everyone, and spent about an hour going through them by myself before we met up. I first started off with the left hand, making sure I was playing the right chords and then built a rhythm into it. Then I tried making something up with the right hand, before attempting to bring them both together. I then built on all this when we practiced together.
I found that after the first practice I’d already felt an improvement in my playing. Each time I play a new piece then the hardest thing I find is playing two different rhythms with two different hands. However, once I’ve got the hang of one set of rhythms I can pretty much play any series of notes using that set of rhythms. But change the rhythm to just one hand and if it’s a rhythm set I’ve not played before then I’m back to square one, playing both hands really slowly together and then speeding it up. Because of the songs we were playing, it meant I had to play a lot of different sets of rhythms which I had not played before. But thankfully I picked them up pretty quickly. I still needed a bit more practice on my own of some of these but the ground work was there, so I’ve been practicing all week and I can play them a lot smoother now.
I can also move a lot easier around the chords on the left side of my accordion, as I sometimes had to move up or down several rows. This is particularly difficult because I can’t actually see my left hand and only one of the 48 buttons feels different. The rest of the buttons feel identical, so it can be pretty easy to get lost.
I got back home about 23:15 and couldn’t get to sleep for hours because I was buzzing too much after the practice. So I’m sure it’ll be another restless night tonight, as we’ve got our second practice later this evening.