WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Apparently there really aren’t any sized for kids and there are no formal teachers around here. (We do have a toy version, and it’s decently playable for a toy, but…). She has not previously taken lessons in any instrument. (She has siblings who play other instruments and I can tell she is looking for her own thing, different from them…) I find it really interesting that she is drawn to the sound of the accordion. How would you respond if you had a kid that age who had this particular desire?

I’m thinking I should encourage her to start on another instrument when she is ready, and then if she is still interested in button box a few years down the road, we can revisit and she can transfer what she has learned. She refuses to learn fiddle (probably because it is her sister’s instrument.) I wonder if there is an obvious alternative that I haven’t thought of.

Yes, she is only 5…plenty of time…but I would like to capitalize on her interest while she is excited about it now.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Perhaps a concertina? There’s relatively inexpensive ones around, such as the Chinese Hohners, and they’re smaller and lighter than a full-sized button box. It’s still $150 or $200, but cheaper than a black dot.

Definitely go for it, with something, especially since she’s hearing the music from you and the siblings. Enthusiasm of this sort should be encouraged, or the kid might grow up to make something of herself…

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

There’s a kiddy melodeon in the John Lewis catalogue for £14.

It’s not good, but it works. (the one I saw did)

It might be a very first step, just to cover a few weeks/months until moving on to what John suggests.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Ask her what she wants to play. Sit her on your knee and go through some youtube clips. See what she likes. If you lose a few quid you’ll gain an instrument.

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Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Try Hobgoblin in the USA. Their Scarlatti (made in China) range includes 1-row 7-button melodeons for children, priced at $32. Should be ok for a 5-yo, especially to cover the first steps.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

amyamanda - I applaud your desire to encourage and foster the little girl’s interest, and wish you well in it.

Let’s all take a solemn moment to reflect and weep for all the little children down the years who have been told “No you wouldn’t be able to do that” or “That sounds dreadful”.

My father used to make remarks in jest which were in fact very unkind and discouraging - so I never learned to play the fiddle - or anything else - until in my late twenties.

Learning from that, I have always encouraged my children and all my nieces and nephews, and various friends’ children in any musical endeavours (not just diddly music because I like it). All of them, over the years, have been given a D whistle and a little book of tunes, and plenty of encouragement.

I now have 2 children and about 8 nieces and nephews and a dozen or so sundry friends children all of whom can play the whistle to some extent, and some of whome are very proficient musicians in one way or another.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Harmonica was the gateway to the box for me -
I started playing harmonica when I was 7 or 8 - it taught me how to play by ear - the layout is the same as a melodeon push/pull -

as importantly than getting on an instrument though, make sure that music is playing in your home all the time - fill the kid up with music so when they want to start to play, music comes out of them.

Ted

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Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I’ll second what Tedrick says about surrounding the little ones with music.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Someone posted on Chiff-n-Fipple a year or two ago about taking one of the better toy accordions and getting someone (O’Brien’s Music in St. John’s, maybe?) to put a set of real accordion reeds in it. I think it was something like $200 all told to end up with a small plastic one-row in D….

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Well to begin with, I would not suggest one of the cheaper concertinas. They are not really friendly to smaller hands; I even tried one where I could barely reach the accidental row as a man in my 30s!. If you are going to go with a concertina, then maybe get Bob Tedrow to make one of his ten button mini concertinas.

That being said, a concertina is not an accordion and its potentially a lot of money for an instrument that your daughter may not appreciate.

I am actually going to suggest getting one of the smaller button accordions. I was 7 or 8 when I first played with my Dad’s Hohner Black Dot. These smaller instruments will be a bit of a stretch, but not, I think impossible provided your daughter has realistic expectations of what she should be able to play on it.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I bought my eldest son one of those cheap toy ones when he was five, as he expressed a real desire in learning accordion. I told him that if he mastered the basics on the toy, thus demonstrating a sustainable interest, that we would upgrade later on.

He did learn some tunes, but decided he liked the piano accordion. We saved considerable grief and money by testing the waters first. Those toy accordions are playable, especially if you’re willing to open it up and tweak it a bit.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I agree with others - start him on the toy one - it does work, plus not too heavy for very little people. Also, yes, the harmonica has the same push-pull system, except it’s blow-suck.
Eliza Carthy tells how, as a child being dragged round folk festivals with her mother, whenever they ended up in the instrument shop tent and she wanted something, her mum would say “ If you can get a tune out of it in 5 minutes, you can have it.” Look how she’s turned out.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I was taught the piano accordion at age 6 when growing up in New England. It was a 12 bass and about the same size as most button boxes. However, students were able to rent an instrument in the case of not continuing. Don’t know if that is even a option in your area. Toys are not for a serious student. Get a playable instrument and a teacher.You know your kid better than any of us here.

best of luck.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

A Hohner Lilliput?

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I’ve been told that Hobgoblin can do a part-exchange upgrade on an instrument bought from them. I don’t know how accurate this information is - it may depend on the individual store, and certainly on how well the instrument has been treated.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

The toy that I saw with new reeds was done by Irish Dancemaster but it was, as said above, $200, which strikes me as a lot given the bellows and action. Better to start her on the plain old toy--I am doing that with my three year old--and if she is inspired move her on to a real box. Some of the cheap one rows are playable with small hands and some play quite easily.

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

Have you considered an ‘honor killing?’ :D

Re: WWYD? 5yo wants to play the button box.

I played the little toy for about six months to prove I was serious before my parents got me a Dancemaster. From then I’ve moved on to a Paolo… seems a logical progression. The toy is playable… it’s in the key of C and has decent sound. Her siblings can tune down and she can play it like a melodeon. If she gets into it, you can upgrade. If not, that’s cool.