If you want to become proficient in any skill, you have to practise. Want to learn how to speak another language? Practise it. Want to run a marathon? Practice it. Want to learn how to play accordion? Practise it. Yes – I know that this can sometimes be boring, but if you want to succeed, it’s important to do it! I don’t know of anyone who can just pick up an instrument for the first time and play it beautifully without having first spent time and effort practising.
Try thinking forward to what you want to achieve. Imagine yourself being able to play brilliantly and how you will feel then. If you really want to feel good about yourself and bask in that lovely warm feeling of accomplishment, then you will need to practise on a regular basis.
A good plan is to play your accordion for a short amount of time every day. Even when you don’t feel like it. Why? Because it is by regularly doing small amounts that you build up your muscles – physical, musical and mental. It soon becomes a habit, and when you develop that habit, you also develop all the other skills that make up a proficient performer.
A Useful Practice Routine
Begin with some basic warm up exercises, for instance a few scales and chord patterns.
Then play a few tunes that you know. Perfect them. Play them over and over and get the fingers right, get the bellows movements right, get the chords right. This is important if you want to learn how to play accordion well.
Move on to a tune or exercise that you have tried before but you don’t know well. Do the same thing – play it over and over again, striving to get better each time.
Next, move on to something new and spend enough time on it to learn the basic melody and the chords. Practise it a few times and begin to see it develop.
Finally end up with one or two tunes that you feel are your best. Really enjoy the whole experience, then put your accordion away and tell yourself how wonderful you are!
I always think it’s good to end a session with a really good feeling about yourself and your playing. This will help to encourage the mindset that you do know how to play accordion and that you are improving. So when you end your practice session with a few tunes you are good at, you are likely to feel good and want to come back for more.
That’s one of the secrets – set things up so that you always want to come back for more. Then practising becomes something that you look forward to, rather than a chore.