Archive for February, 2022

I’ve played the accordion for 45 years, since age 4. But I haven’t been able to play it so much for the last 27 years, since my progressive neurological disease struck at age 22. But I do still play as I can, and it still gives me much pleasure. I’ve blogged here before about how I recently started arranging music for the accordion, using computer sheet music notation software.

One of the drawbacks of only playing intermittently is that it can be difficult to practice pieces enough, or to improve technique. But this year I want to make a conscious effort to work on my technique, using some of the Palmer-Hughes series of accordion tuition books. This is a series of books that gradually teaches accordion technique, increasing in difficulty as the series progresses. At the moment I am at roughly book 5 playing level in the Palmer-Hughes series. However there are skills developed in book 4 that I need to improve, and I hope to move ultimately on to book 6. So my plan is to carefully and systematically work through books 4, 5 and 6, allowing sufficient time for each tune/exercise, and repeating often enough to improve and consolidate my playing technique. When I got copies of the Palmer-Hughes books 4, 5 and 6 I was pleased to see that the tunes used for exercises are nicely arranged and fun to play, so this should be an enjoyable experience, as well as a useful exercise.

Photo of Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course books 4, 5 and 6

I’ve also bought a metronome, a wind-up mechanical one, very traditional in design, but unusually compact. I have a tendency in my playing to play erratically, playing easier parts faster and harder parts slower! The metronome should help me find a more regular tempo, not just in my music exercises, but also in my own arrangements.

The other recent purchase that will help a lot is a more compact second accordion that I bought over the Christmas period. This 48-bass German model is extremely lightweight, and will be easier for me to play sometimes when I’m weaker. It doesn’t have as wide a range of notes as my Italian 72-bass accordion that I’ve had since 1981. In particular it can’t play B chords or treble notes lower than bottom B. So it is a compromise. But it can play most of my tunes, including most of the exercises in the Palmer-Hughes books 4, 5 and 6 I am focusing on next.

So yes, fun times ahead, and hopefully some improvements in technique, which should also feed into my wider playing.

Photo of blue 45-bass Weltmeister piano accordion

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