I just found this group. Wow! Thank you all for sharing your wisdom and love for the instrument/music. I have learned a ton. Most of my questions have been answered just by reading past threads. I grew up singing in chiors and have been a patron of all forms of music from classical to big band to blue grass. Growing up in the thumb of Mich. (yeah, we call it "the thumb"). I never heard cajun/zydeco untill recently...... I was STUNNED, ENCHANTED, BEWITCHED. I'm a vocalist, never been a musician but I HAD to learn the accordian. I got a cheap (sorry...China??) "C" box and found Big Nick's site (very(tres?) cool, thank you Nick). For the past 367 days I have been working on nothing but octave scales. Nick did say to practice them.... but even my dog was starting to hate me. Thanks to your advise I just ordered the Dirk Powell DVD's. Soon, I hope to play a song. I do have a question. How far can I go on a 10 button "C". I am no spring chicken... and I do intend to get my self to a level where I can perform (or at least make my dog love me again). I love tne sycopated styles. New zydeco, I also really like Steve Riley and recently discovered the Blue Runners "honey slides" (the whole album is stuck in my head). The thought of buying and learning one 10 button seems daunting enough. Tell it to me straight guys....just how old and broke am I gonna be before I can sing and play this music that I love !?!?
Actually it is not as bad as one might think. New handmade Louisiana accordions can usually be had for approx. $1200 to $1500 and up. Lately because of increased prices for the supplies from Italy etc. look towards the up in prices. Now that does not mean that there are no bargins out there but you just have to shop around. Good Luck!
I'm in the "Middle of the Mitten" myself - NW of Mt. Pleasant. Check out the Wheatland Music Organization www.wheatlandmusic.org . We present and support Cajun/Zydeco as a form of American traditional music. We even play some Cajun tunes at the WMO Jam first Saturday of each month. There are a few other MI players who post here - I mostly just read.
With the devices that change pitch and tempo, I think one can learn to play very handily, including learning lots of tunes off recordings, with only a C box. If you sing in other than C, G, F, or D, that's a whole different thing.
Dirk's tapes helped me, and I'd recommend them without hesitation.
My wife is from between the pinky and the ring finger.
(Traverse City) I would like to add a wholehearted "second" to everything you said about this group. I would like to highly recommend Larry Millers "You can play Cajun Accordion". It has a CD and lesson book with tablatures. The graphics are very rough and primitive (it's from the '80s) but very, very informative and a great first start. The CD has all the examples of the basics, and a wonderful collection of old time tunes by Nonc Allie Young. One strong recommendation from Larry was to not try to play too many tunes at once. Pick one, and play it thousands of times before you move on. My first inspiration and my first song was Colinda played by Nonc Allie. I then heard "J'Ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard Et La Belette" by Balfa Toujours and I discovered the Balfa Brothers. My second inspiration and playable song was "My True Love" on which Hadley Fontenot plays a most amazing and intriquing accordion lead that I just had to try to duplicate. I am now working on High Point Two Step (Steve Riley !!!!). I learned to play two finger octaves right from the start, and found that is actually so much easier than trying to play single finger, and I can't even play single finger any more. Once you get down that the push octave is two buttons apart, and the pull octave is three, it really becomes very natural to work up and down the scales. I've been playing less than a year. My biggest limitation now is that I have never learned to play instruments by ear and have trouble picking out phrases from songs I listen to. So far everything I can play is stuff I've found the written music for. Once I get the initial phrasing down, I can pretty much fake it from there, and figure out the "turn" by trial and error.
And I know what you mean about your dog hating you. Every time I pull out my box, the dogs get up and leave the room. **** dogs lick their butts, so what do they know, right?