Why Accordion?


During our recent travels, I was listening to a track off the new Bob Dylan Christmas cd on a podcast, which is so incredibly bad I’m not going to link to it (sorry to all those Dylan fans out there). It was like polka-punk, only not as well executed as Polkacide or Gogol Bordello. So I turned to my husband to and said, “Did you know I took accordion lessons for a brief time?” Now, we’ve been married for 24 years, and have been together for two more than that, so I don’t get to spring something like that on him often. His response struck a cord with me, “Why accordion?” It was delivered with a clear tone of what the heck were you, or the adults in charge, thinking, and I think it fits a number of instances where a tool (like the accordion), is used for a task it was clearly not well suited for (a scary Bob Dylan Christmas song?). The tool may be appropriate in it’s place (accordion for Tango music, or Jazz in the hand of someone who knows what they are doing, etc.) but is not an all-purpose tool for all purposes. In my case, my mother, who already played piano at a proficient amateur-level, thought that it would be easier to do keying on the accordion for my 8 year old hands, ignoring that the weight of the accordion and the complexity of operating the instrument easily outstripped that advantage. Oh, and my hands have always been oversized. By the time I finally was allowed on the piano at about 9, I almost had an octave reach. I bring this up not to gripe about my mother’s parenting decisions in public (sorry Mom), but as a further illustration of this metaphor. You see, students are sometimes offered a particular flavor of technology just because, and it’s either not suited to their needs or not suited to the task, and you have to ask about the tools being pushed so adamantly, “Why accordion?” and why not what they need instead?

2 Comments to

“Why Accordion?”

  1. December 29th, 2009 at 11:59 am      Reply Angie Says:

    I started accordion lessons at the ripe age of 7. I was never told the reasons but I realized much, much later that it was because of Lawrence Welk. My dad really liked the show.

    My little concertina accordion gets pulled out periodically. Last time, it was to demonstrate how it works to my fourth graders. We were exploring Cajun music.

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