How to Embarrass Yourself Before a Live Audience in Church

I once dreamed of playing the accordion for fun and profit. I was attracted to the instrument by its weirdness. It groans and sighs and hisses in anger to produce music the way that wealthy Republicans make laws in the House. And if you squeeze them the wrong way they make a very, very foul noise — just ask any prostitute after the Republican Party’s convention.

What dumbfounds me about accordions is how difficult they are to play well. Your left hand and right hand play different parts of the music, and do so in a different way (keys on the right, buttons on the left). The music is also written so that, in the bass clef, notes below C are the chords you play, and notes above are the individual notes. This is in addition to playing the melody written on the treble clef with your right hand. You also have to squeeze the bellows, and ensure that your phrasing is such that you don’t get caught fully extended and needed to reverse direction at the wrong time.

I came to it late, and gave it up after a couple of years. I hit a plateau, and decided I was not going to invest the time necessary to go beyond that level of skill.

Which brings me to my recital in 2007. About half-way through, if you can bear to listen that long, you’ll see how to embarrass yourself before a live audience in a place of worship, with no place to hide.

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