The Grand Return

April 4, 2016

This is the story of how just joining an accordion forum changed my life in a very unexpected direction. This is how I returned back to playing the accordion after well over 38 years of not playing even one note.

yooooo-hooooo… Jerrrrrry…
Remember the accordion?
Remember how good you used to be?
Remember how much fun it was?
Remember how mom and dad felt when you played for them?
Wouldn’t you want to enjoy music on the accordion again?

It was some time around February 2016 that the little voices in my head starting whispering…  yeah, that little voice in my head started coming in just like that out of the blue. But the start of all this wasn’t that the accordions were taken out of their cases and magically won me over… it was, of all things, an online internet forum that came first, and further stirred my emotions to move within me,  to return to something that used to be the entire center of my universe so many years ago, but that I had thought totally dead within me.

After signing up on this forum, I read about the fun others were having with their accordions, I read about how others were happily moving along with their own personal studies and practices, and recalled how those feelings used to be for me, and I had to not only pull out one accordion, but all of them! I went through the entire house, pulling out each accordion and bringing it down to the basement to test.  To my surprise, of the five, all were in almost perfect condition… except my Hohner Morino VI N, which needed some attention.  It had a few stuck reeds and the registers were seized.
Well, a little prodding and the registers came free, problem #1 solved!

A little time in the upright position outside of the case and some notes came back, but others remained stubborn.  I saw that this one is going to need some attention and even possibly some professional attention. It was then that  I tried playing, and instead of feeling pleasure, I was mortified at how horrible the experience was.  This was not how I recalled the experience being, it was so awkward!  I was not able to hit the notes my mind commanded and what came out sounded more like a cat with it’s tail being vigorously yanked rather than music.  I sucked so badly that at that moment, I almost wanted to cry out in frustration! That first session was short… 10 minutes at most, and I was already quite discouraged, but though it won this time and I put down the accordion and did not want to listen to myself anymore, I knew that I would try again later.

The decision to try a little harder came easily after a bit of time, and so this time, I tried out the Elkavox.  It wasn’t any better and to add insult to injury, I was not even able to test out the Solton programmer, because I had totally forgotten how to set it up to work with the Elka.  That one thing alone took me about an hour to figure out!  How could something that I recall being no more difficult than taking in a breath of air be kicking my ass so badly? There is a term coined on the accordion forum by someone… “grim determination”.  I was grimly determined at that moment to make the Solton work again with the Elka.  After an hour of banging my head into the wall, I finally hit the right combination and things worked.  I remembered now what to do, but I really should have written it down somewhere safe.  Better yet, I will use my phone and record this process on video and put it in it’s very own post, and I will do that very soon.

Since that time, I’ve picked it up a couple more times, and things suck just a tiny bit less.  That means  that in time, I should be able to regain some small semblance of ability and be able to play.  I know I will never play as well as I used to, but I should be able to do better than where I am currently.  When one is at the bottom, there is no way to go… but up. But what a dismal start!  My playing is so bad that I won’t even post anything here, it’s just too embarrassing and unworthy of being heard by anyone.  I need time to try and find a little of that talent that I had so much of so long ago. Right now, I’ve set the next step as trying to bring back the Hohner to it’s full functional glory by getting it looked at by a professional and giving it a full check-up.  I tried opening it up, seeing the insides, and deciding that this instrument would benefit from the fact that I would not poke around in there with my amateur bumbling attempts and possibly break more than I would fix.

April 10, 2016 

I have made an appointment with a local reputable accordion repair technician.  I have an appointment to go see her (yes, its a lady!) this Wednesday (April 13, 2016).

April 16, 2016

Those few times that I tried playing were just a waste of time and a source of frustration.  I realize that I need to break through this wall and at least commit to some small amount of dedicated time and effort.  Life has tossed on several challenges already… I had to spend a week 1900 miles away from home for work purposes (this was a GOOD thing!), but my health has been a bit poor lately (influenza attack that came back 3 times and an immense  gout attack pretty much crippled my ability to walk for several weeks before doctor visits at least semi-sorted it out.  I am still suffering with pain and swelling but at least now I can walk).  As I fight through these challenges and win, I will punch through them all and I am making a firm decision to at least try to dedicate  a mere 1 hour per day, 3 times a week to the accordion starting Monday, April 18.  In the meantime, I have prepared some exercise books and music and will somehow set up the first recordings that document this beginning process.  The call for the challenge has been made, now let’s see how I respond.

October 25, 2016

A look into the face of truth a little never hurts.  In the back of my mind, I knew why it all came back, why I needed to play.  It was not entirely for me, but again, it was for my parents, specifically for my father, but this time, it was not just for them, I needed it too.  For my father, I was a little too late.  He may have heard me a bit, but I am not sure if he understood… thus was the nature of his disease.  He passed away less than 2 months after I brought the accordions out from hiding.  My mother… she enjoys it and I will find the songs that she enjoys, but the surprising part is that after these last 4 months, I am not playing all that much, it is quite a struggle, and life is tossing in all kinds of challenges for me, but every moment I do wear the accordion, I am enjoying it.

Thank-you God for letting me see this, feel this and bringing back the music in to my life.