Momma’s got a squeeze box

this is exactly how i look, you guys.

Breaking news: I’m learning the accordion. Facebook friends already know this (some of you know I’ve been talking about this since June… / since childhood). Well, it’s happening. Upside: my new musical hobby gives me something new to do on sleepless nights (the mind can take only so much Pinterest and Comedy Central…). Downside: it’s hard.

< pause for laughter re: my obvious discovery >

Last week was my first lesson, and I have these adorably old school photocopied homework sheets to help me with basic bellows-maneuvering. (My accordion’s bellows are red, ps, which I love.)

I started taking piano lessons in kindergarten, so I don’t remember exactly how it felt to learn it all from scratch. Besides, I was learning everything from scratch back then, so I was used to the feeling. Now, as a big girl, there are fewer things in my life that are brand new. And, when there are, if they are difficult, I might run away. See: Accounting. Holy eff. Contrariwise, see: running. Holy eff!

The accordion is 100% brand new to me, and as such, I kind of suck at it. (My particular accordion is in fact quite retro…and came from Italy and smells like a flea market in the best possible way.)

I am in kindergarten again.

And I kind of hate it.

But I love it too much to even think about stopping. (I love that feeling.)
When I practice, my perfectionism is at war with my persistence. I felt compelled to blog about this tonight, mostly because I don’t often get the chance to observe myself at the start of something. And, since I plan to become The Greatest Living Accordion Player of Our Time, I’m a little bit fascinated at the fits and starts of the start. How awkward it is to be a beginner. It’s hilarious, really, when I’m not groaning at myself in frustration. Tonight I leaned back on my couch—my accordion still strapped to me like a big, black backwards-backpack, resting on my chest like a boxy toddler—and just laughed at myself. (The sad, near-whimpery laughter known to the very tired but very determined.)

If you’ve never held an accordion (and, well, you probably haven’t, right?), you may not know that these mo-fos are heavy. (20+ pounds) And they breathe. If you don’t get the balance of keys + buttons + bellows just right, it just sort of sighs at you instead of making pretty accordion sounds.

And I sigh right back.

And I try again.

Because I learned to ride a bike and swim and drive and kiss and improvise and run… and a whole longer list of everything good that was scary at the start. Those things all taught me that if you want to make beautiful music, you have to make it through the sighs.

< pause for groans re: my Hallmark ending >

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3 thoughts on “Momma’s got a squeeze box

  1. Keep it up. I now have four musical instruments I don’t know how to play: a guitar, a harmonica, and a mouth/jews harp (which really pisses me off that I can’t figure out how to make a sound out of that one). I also own a djimbe drum, which I can beat on, but I’m not sure that qualifies as “playing.” Sigh.

  2. Was there for the learning to ride a bike, swimming and driving lessons. You CAN learn to play the accordian ’cause “can’t never did a thing.” And you’ve been wanting to do this for a very lonnngggggg time! Have fun while you’re at it and with Lou, I know you will.

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