It might sound a little silly, but I have always been in awe of accordions and those who play them. Even if my common sense tells me that they are no more difficult to master than many other musical instruments, they just seem so much more complicated and overwhelming. I think it all started during my childhood. One of my best friends played the accordion, a fact I discovered by accident one day when I stopped by his house and found him practicing.
I had certainly been aware of accordions before that. After all, Lawrence Welk was on our TV every week so I had plenty of opportunities to see him or his talented star Myron Floren dazzle their fans. (See video below of Floren tackling Mozart.)
So I knew a little about accordions, but to see one of my doofus buddies skillfully manning this spectacularly huge and pearl-inlaid gizmo was just beyond belief. I knew he was no more coordinated than I was, and I couldn’t walk across a room without tripping twice and poking myself in the eye at least once. But here he was, with his right hand patrolling a piano-like keyboard while his left danced over a dizzying assortment of apparently identical buttons. While all that was taking place his arms were steadily moving back and forth to propel air through the thing, producing what sounded like pretty good music.
I was never able to figure out how he did it, but maybe he was smarter than I thought — he ended up a highly-educated and successful professional. And I’m not sure if he continued playing the accordion, but I do know that the instrument has been popular all around the world for a long time. Various designs have been around for centuries, and have been a vital part of music of all kinds, including one of my favorites — Cajun!