Welcome to old and new friends who are interested in discussing Cajun and other diatonic accordions, along with some occasional lagniappe....



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Re: Learning

Common question here, and you'll get the same range of responses.

A REALLY cheap way to begin is to buy a First Act toy accordion from Amazon.com, Toys 'R Us, Walmart (do you have those), or K-Mart.

Only $20, but servicable, portable, and with the proper keyboard layout. Just not enough air to get really serious.

I use these all the time to noodle something out when I don't want to pull out my big box.


Re: Re: Learning

you could buy a good used one.
If you buy it from a trustworthy person at its fair market value, you won't take the huge loss that comes from buying new and selling used and you still get to learn on a good accordion. If you are very familiar with the keyboard you might want to go with a Piano Accordion, or a 3 row diatonic. If you want to play strictly cajun go withthe one row but if you want to play many styles of music consider your options.
whatever you do don't go too cheap because that could easily turn you off.f

Re: Learning

Naturally if there is someone in your area that plays accordion it is good to hook up and have them coach you... if not, well... increase your CD collection of traditional and/or Zydeco for a musical emmersion. This will sharpen your awareness of the genre and start you on some important memory work.

Videos are fine for many, though I never could get much out of them myself. You can make bad habits if you do not know the differance... I call it mock music... taking what you think you hear and tossing in what you think it sould be and it winds up being some kinda stew that few would swallow. Ha.

I think the key (just my opinion) is to create a good ear and keep it simple (melody). Much later on you will naturally cut loose with riffs and embellishments that come with time and familiarity. I have watched and listened to excellent entertaining musicians that play simplistic french music and because they are soulfully into the music and melody, it is a listening delight for those in the audience.
I appreciate the tallents of the HOT SHOTS (those musical wizzards that make it look simple), they can inspire a person to keep practicing.

Sid, anyone can play (short of being physically painfull) with time. It will take time, a long time (for most) to grasp this instrument... so brace yourself for a long haul in learning and keep in mind that many give up and migrate to other things when they dont think they are getting anywhere (very suttle changes/improvements). Do not try to advance your thinking that you will play like those you hear on the CD's in a short span of time, especially those artists that are musical wizzards... they did not get that way overnight, they paid a lot of dues (so to speak). Also remember that most of the great players grew up with the music rooted into their memory, many were completely circled with musicians handing down the lessons and mentoring.

Last but not least: Get a good accordion and you will appreciate the differance learing can make.

Happy New Year...Nonc D

Re: Learning

You can buy a Louisiana crafted cajun accordion and even if you can't learn to play it you will still have a work of art to display. The master builders are starting to retire and/or leave this earth.

Start small if you're not sure

Here's my advise (what I did, and didn't regret):

If you're not sure and on a small budget:

1) Buy an Hohner Ariette on E-Bay
2) Get Dirk Powell's video or DVD (volume I).

All of this will cost you about $300.

Try it out, and if you develop further, you'll eventually upgrade to a good quality box, get volume II of the Powell video, get Cajun music and keep learning from there.
If you don't like it, you won't be too much out of pocket, and can always re-sell your box for about the same price.

Live your passion, DO IT NOW!!!

Re: Start small if you're not sure

I would like to add to this get Larry Miller's "You can play Cajun accordion" Great instructions for the basics. I played through a few of his exercises, started playing Colinda, and once you get the hand of playing the octives on push pull you can start picking up stuff from listening. Larry's instructional CD also has lots of great old tunes by Nonc Allie Young.


Re: Learning

I got a Ariette from Marc Savoy shipped to my door for a little under $350.00. At first I thought it was gonna be easy but it was harder than i thought.It will take time and a lotta playing and listening.If you can get a program like Transcribe! you can slow the music down without the tone changing. It will help a great deal...it has helped me a ton! Good Luck!

Mike In Winnie,Texas

Re: Learning

The First Act Accordion...Sounds Good...I may try that..One question...Is is possible to learn to play use the learning tapes that are available. I have found several, And if when and if I step up to a real accordion. Would I be able to play it? Or would I have to start all over with the learning process..
Just wondering..

Forget about the First Act Accordion, it's a TOY!

First Act Accordion is a $24 TOY for god sake!
Forget about this if you are serious about learning.
If you do learn on a decent entry level box (i.e. Ariette or the likes) and with the proper tapes (i.e. Dirk Powell), when you get on a good quality LA made box, it will be like... upgrading from a Lada (Russian-made car sold in the 80s in Canada that were clunky and always broke down) car to a brand new Cadillac, or to use another analogy, it's like moving from a $100 guitar to a $800 guitar!
Check out this link also to get a few Cajun box lessons on the web. www.bignick.net/BoxLessons/boxlesson_Index.htm

Re: Learning

Sure the First Act is a Toy, but it is a lot cheaper than spending $300 on up and finding that you just can not get a grasp on the Push, Pull. If I wanted to spend big money for something that might possible turn into a shelf display, I'll stay with my big 1/4 and 1/5 scale RC cars. At least they are things most everyone, young and old can associate with. On the First Act, buttons 1, 2 and 10 are missing, leaving you with buttons 3 thru 9. If you look at the sheet music from Big Nick and others, you will find that most tunes are played with buttons between 3 and 9.
Just my 2 cents

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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