Last month, the Washington Post Magazine had a glowing feature on Virginia accordion teacher Dale Wise. Three years ago, Wise started Accordions for Kids, a program designed to introduce a younger generation to the accordion.
Accordions for Kids is essentially a no-risk trial program for eight to twelve-year-old accordion students. Each student is loaned a 12-bass accordion and study materials (music stand, sheet music, etc.) and receives 10 weeks of lessons with a teacher free of charge. At the end of the program, the student performs in a recital and then decides (along with with his/her parents, of course) whether to continue. Children usually love it — and are oblivious to any stigma associated with accordion playing — but parents often need convincing:
“There’s some selling that has to be done… But this accordion thing is going to happen, one way or the other. How big it becomes is just a matter of how much energy we got.”
Accordions for Kids has been so successful that Wise has recruited teachers nationwide to participate. I absolutely love the idea and hope it continues to spread. Maybe one day we’ll have a nation of “accordion moms,” loading minivans full of accordions and shuttling them to lessons and recitals…