Teaching children the accordion

Teaching children the accordion

My youngest daughter is six, and has expressed an interest in learning the accordion. I’ve started her on a 48 bass piano accordion, and she is making good progress. It’s a bit like history repeating myself, as my Dad taught me piano accordion when I was a boy. As an adult, I have taken up the button accordion, preferring it’s lightness and jerky sound. It wasn’t a natural transition - I had to unlearn a number of things in order to grasp the basics of the button accordion (e.g. bellows movement). My question now is: should I teach my daugher the button accordion? My gut feeling is it might be too difficult for her (and for me to teach her, although there are lots of good button box players in the city who could teach her). Methinks it ‘s better for her to stick with the piano accordion, at least for now. I’m curious though: has anyone out there taught a child to play button accordion? If so, what is your experience? Do you know of any good resources? Any advice is warmly appreciated.

Posted by .

Re: Teaching children the accordion

No experience with teaching kids, but a button accordion may be easier to handle, as there are many small models. Even a single voice model would be ideal as they are so small and light. The push-pull mindset is important to develop early, as she could switch to anglo accordion without much trouble. It seems that PA players have trouble getting the idea of push-pull while for those who learn it initially it becomes second nature.

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Martin - perhaps you think of the button box as too difficult for her because you have found the transition difficult. These are both great instruments, but at six it might be hard for your daughter to really have a meaningful preference of her own. If she does, maybe that’s what should be heeded.

You say there are people around who could teach her. Are any of them proven to be successful at teaching kids? If so, that is a huge plus, and quite possibly better than you teaching her. Let the teacher teach and you just do the nurturing.

What would be a shame would be for you to teach her the piano box but always feel she’s playing the wrong instrument or a somehow inferior one. Kids pick up on this kind of thing.

I teach the piano accordion, but also love the button accordion. Certainly lots of kids in Ireland learn button box. I can think of no reason why it would be too hard for a child but I would advise an experienced and sympathetic teacher - whichever system she learns.

Posted by .

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Leave your box available in the house. If she sees you practising, she may want to pick it up and have a go anyway.
I had an attic full of instruments and the kids fished them out one by one and took them all up - some kids are like that.

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Martin - girls of six can learn a new language and mathematics, and joined-up-writing, and hula-hooping, and riding a bicycle, and hopscotch, and a computer game, and how to braid hair, and how to change a sibling’s nappy and still have time to watch television as well. Don’t go presuming that they will find it difficult to learn the button accordion. Give the lass a chance to try it.

Go on.

Dave

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Thanks for the sound adv ice. I love the one about the children in the attic pulling out alsorts of instruments to play. Unfortunately, I don’t have an attic. But I do get the message, alright. Allow them to explore, and they’ll find their own way. Beautiful!

Happy New Year you all

Martin

Posted by .

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Technically and intellectually, kids actually learn best when they are young. Our piano teacher always said it was best to get them when they are just out of diapers.

It seems they learn most quickly when the synapses are freshest as it were.

The more troublesome issue will be the negative peer pressure kids will face playing an instrument-particularly something like accordion. Take it from someone whose parent s tried to teach him accordion when he was in early grammar school. Accordion is not a popularly accepted instrument until one gets involved with more traditional musicians and the color and flourishes of the instrument are better appreciated.

From a practical standpoint, it has limited utility for most children. Piano, flute, trumpet are more mainline in school music programs and have much more popular support-even though the peer pressure not to play becomes very intense when kids approach their teens usually about eleven or twelve years old. We had five kids and it was like clockwork.

My route was accordion, then adapting to organ and piano (played rock and roll because it was more acceptable) and then began to move back into acoustic music in my twenties. My piano accordion was still of limited utility since the guitar players tend to look down their noses at it.

I am now learning button box (in my fifties) but find little support for it among my stringed freinds and our kids…though have some tolerance from my wife.

Anyway. wahtever instrument you get your kids involved with, you will need to actively support and affirm them because the peer pressure for them not to play will be intense.

Good luck

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Thaks for the warning, zippydw
We have two girls (11 and 6 yrs respectively), and a boy (9yrs). The older girl is flying on the flute, loves it! I think the secret has been she has a good teacher, young woman studying music at university who really knows how to teach kids. I tried teaching the young lad the piano accordion, but he quickly went of it after only 3 or 4 months. Apparently, Yughio cards are much more cool! Our youngest asked to learn accordion when she saw me practicing. I will try to find her a good teacher - that is the key, I think. They won’t practice for me.

Good luck on the button box - I’ve just taken it up myself. At times, I wish I had two or three more finfers on the right hand. But it is amazing how quickly the fingers learn where the notes are. The human brain us a wonderful thing!

Cheers

Posted by .

Re: Teaching children the accordion

Out of five kids, all got good at an instrument. Our flute still has hopes at 25.

I am thinking of getting her an Irish flute to work on. But she seems to have gotten interested in dancing so I have helper her fund that instead. But it sounds like you are having a great time with the kids. They grow fast.

On the box, at times I feel that I need a brain transplant. I have the right hand and playing it blind. But now am working through getting that together with the bass. Completely different from piano accordion.

Yes the human brain is amazing.

Slan go Foil