Accordion Study Produces Community Benefits


Written by: Faithe Deffner
Publication: Accord Magazine, USA. Reprinted courtesy of owner/editor Faithe Deffner. Back copies available.
Date written: 1979

Polling its eight million readers, Better Homes magazine recently invited (article published in 1979) them to share their feeling about the quality of life today through a questionnaire titled "Do you feel family life in America is in trouble?" A resounding "Yes" was the answer from a whopping 76% of the respondents.

Quite apparent is the deep concern expressed about behavioral trends and their adverse effect on people's relationships. Attempting to identify causes for the decline in community well-being, the readers mention many sides of the problem:

1. Nearly 40% said inattentive parents are the greatest threat to family life. ("Parents don't want to be bothered anymore.")

2. 21% blamed materialism. ("Necessities are confused with luxuries.")

3. The "Me first" attitude. ("'Doing your own thing' was condemned as irresponsible and selfish.")

4. A wide-spread malaise and purposelessness. ("We lack worthwhile goals to motivate and inspire.")

The report states that "too much permissiveness leaves a child so confused and undisciplined in an orderly society. Too much strictness can inhibit him so that creativity is stifled and he is afraid to show initiative, thereby limiting his potentiality as a contributing member of the community."

Faced with all this confusion, "parents' values appear to be in turmoil, so they're having a hard time advising their kids." People are groping for help in setting limits, inspiring goals and constructively employing the energies and resources of their children.

This common search for the good environment, higher standards, creative opportunities, realistic restrictions and inspirational goals is undoubtedly the most potent force which leads concerned parents to the door of the music studio in their community. Here their child encounters the perfect medium to mold character and personality while developing habits and attitudes of lifelong value. Hidden within the enjoyable experience of music are unlimited opportunities to improve a child's capacity for thinking, his ability to concentrate and his attention span, while encouraging greater independence and resourcefulness.

Almost every child has native ability for music and music can help greatly during those emotional stresses experienced by most children, especially in the formative adolescent years. What other activity can match music in relieving nervous tension by substituting a sense of accomplishment for feeling of frustration and anger?

picture2.jpgThe piano accordion, one of the three basic keyboard instruments, is the most effective tool to enable a child to derive the greatest benefits in personality, character and educational development. Psychologists and educators cite music for its unique influence on people because it both thrills and calms, stimulates and refreshes. Group participation, for which the accordion is particularly suited, teaches further valuable lessons in teamwork, acceptance of leadership and responsibility to others.

Perhaps the greatest advantage the piano accordion offers is that it is designed to entertain as well as instruct the young child. He learns to play simple tunes in the first lesson and he obtains definite satisfaction from his continuing step-by-step progress. Effort is immediately followed by rewarding accomplishment, the instantaneous gratification which a child requires to encourage a pattern of ever-increasing amounts of effort and mental discipline.

At the very first lesson, the beginner learns that by pressing one button he can play a whole chord. Not only are the chords produced mechanically, but so is the pitch, making it easy for youngsters to get pleasing results. Moreover, he is immediately ready for the satisfying involvement of group activity through band participation with other youngsters at his own level.

The piano accordion can be played as a solo instrument, as part of a musical group, or to accompany singing. It is one of the few instruments that teaches melody, harmony, and rhythm all at the same time, providing effective groundwork in music structure and harmony.

Perhaps the most versatile of musical instruments, the accordion is lightweight and portable, and readily fits into musical enjoyment at outdoor parties or wherever people get together to have good, wholesome fun.

At a time when wholesome occupation for young people is a prime concern to parents who care about their children's character development, the accordion has distinguished itself as an unique tool, used in music programs to develop personality, self-confidence, coordination, mental discipline and a sense of responsibility in an environment which is creative, stimulating and satisfying.

picture3.jpgIn recognizing the accordion's strong, natural appeal to children, there are five prime reasons for its ever growing popularity as an effective vehicle for educational and personal enrichment.

First, children value a sense of achievement - the feeling that they are "getting somewhere", and accomplishing something worthwhile. The accordion meets this condition well because the beginner soon finds himself able to make real music and, as he progresses, is rewarded by a conciousness of growing mastery.

Second, children thrive on challenges that are somewhat difficult. The accordion offers just the right degree of difficulty. Some measures of success can come soon, inspiring greater effort. Serious work is required, but this work is rewarded by a particularly intimate satisfaction, providing an excellent opportunity for parental approval and praise.

Third, children and young people have powerful social tendencies. They enjoy being noticed and admired taking the lead, and getting on well with companions. The accordion enables them to satisfy these normal and natural desires for attention in a constructive way.

Fourth, children, as well as adults, like to feel that what they are doing and learning has genuine significance. The accordion leads them, by easy steps, into the exciting world of musical art. Though easy to play, it is a serious instrument that will present new musical horizons and challenge personal creativity.

Fifth, children need group activity to hold interest. It is boring to limit music to sitting by oneself and practicing. Because the accordion is oriented to group activities (there are thousands of accordion ensembles, bands and orchestras), it will sustain long-term interest, providing opportunities to develop a sense of responsibility and coordinated effort.

Boys and girls everywhere enjoy making music with this versatile instrument. Accordion playing youngsters come from every walk of life, but they have in common, as a rule, parents with a keen interest in their environmental exposures and a strong desire to maximize the benefits to be found within the natural abilities of their children.

It is today widely recognized that schools alone cannot take responsibility for a child's total development. In order for education to be effective, a teacher must teach well and a child must learn well. The family is responsible for the child's ability to learn and it is the family which must provide the environmental stimulus to develop the natural abilities with which children are endowed, so that they may grow to be valuable adult members of the community.

The music studio, particularly the accordion studio, plays and important role in helping picture4.jpgparents meet these responsibilities. The dedicated teacher has formulated his music program to answer the needs of young people, using the accordion as an effective vehicle to cultivate habits and attitudes of lifetime benefit. In helping young people to establish patterns for success, the teacher touches the future and makes a significant contribution to the quality of life tomorrow.
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