How to Play a Child's Accordion

Written by scott wolfenden
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How to Play a Child's Accordion
The best time to learn a musical instrument is as a child. (accordion two image by Paul Moore from

The best time to learn a language is as children. "They come into the world as eager learning machines," according to Dr. Dennis O'Neil, professor of Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, Calif. The same is true of learning a musical instrument. When children learn when they are young, playing an instrument becomes second nature to them.

The accordion is a musical instrument which has been used in folk music since the early 1800s. It has become a part of European, Scandinavian, North and South American cultures.While an adult accordion can have 37 piano keys and as many as 120 buttons, a child's accordion can be considerably smaller, with 25 piano keys and 12 buttons.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Children's sheet music
  • Chair

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  1. 1

    Sit down with the accordion in hand. The child should place the accordion on the left knee while sitting, with the right hand on the piano keyboard and the left hand placed so that the fingers touch the buttons of the accordion. The strap of the accordion should go over the child's left shoulder.

  2. 2

    Learn where the middle C is located on the accordion keyboard. On a child's accordion, the keyboard usually starts at middle C. On an full-size accordion, the middle C is located in the middle of the keyboard, similar to a piano.

  3. 3

    Pull the bellows in and out, while holding down one note on the keyboard. This will produce sound, although not yet music, but it will give the child the idea of how to produce sound from the accordion.

  4. 4

    Place the right thumb on the middle C. The child can then begin playing a little music and experimenting. With the right thumb located on the middle C position, have the child play a simple scale, C, D, E, F, G. The thumb will strike the middle C, the index finger will hit the D, the middle finger will strike the E, the fourth finger, the F and the pinky, or little finger, will strike the G.

    The child will do this at the same time he pulls the accordion apart, which activates the bellows, blowing air through the reeds and creating sound.

  5. 5

    Learn the musical notes that correspond to the C, D, E, F and G on the keyboard. The child should learn the symbols that represent these notes of the keyboard. This is the start of learning to read music. Since there are a total of 25 keys on the child's accordion keyboard, she will have to learn 25 notes, including sharps and flats.

  6. 6

    Coordinate playing the keyboard with pressing the bellows in and out.

    Once the child can coordinate pulling the bellows with striking the keys on the keyboard, he will have to learn to coordinate pulling and pushing the bellows in and out to produce a continuous sound. While this might be difficult at first, in time it will become second nature.

  7. 7

    Learn a simple song. Once the child can link the first five written notes to their proper location on the keyboard, she can begin to learn to play a simple song such, as "Merrily We Sail Along" or other simplified children's songs. The child will, no doubt, be delighted to have learnt her first song.

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