I am an accordion player (part 3)

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So here we are, now a two accordion family. On top of that, I’m teaching. So I’m signed up for an advanced class with their best instructor and within a few weeks they determine I can probably teach any of their new students. The operation ran along the lines of a class of 8 to 12 kids for one hour each, every week. It happened to work out well with the studio, because they were just opening the studio in my home town. The original studio was in a town about 20 minutes down the road. My Saturday’s were gone, as well as one or two evenings a week. But I have to be honest. Teaching was a very addictive thing. I truly enjoyed it. I loved watching the kids that really got it early on and within a few months, I could always tell by the parents’ reactions when they dropped off little Jimmy or Susie whether the kid would survive the big meeting and after 8 weeks show up with a 120 bass accordion and who would stop showing up.

After several months of teaching, the owner’s wife (who was one of the instructors) started letting me use her accordion and planted the seed in my head that most of my students had better accordions than I did. Her accordion was not a petite, but a full size accordion, done in all black, with brightwork everywhere. After probably six months with the studio I also started teaching classes at their other studio, some 20 miles away. Every day I taught there, after school I would catch the Colorado Trailways bus to get to the studio. I did lessons from 5 to 8 in the evening and my parents would drive down and pick me up. After all, I wasn’t yet old enough to drive. One evening I was doing “make up” lessons for kids who had missed their group class, so it was a one-on-one thing. Some nights I would get down there and there was no one for me to teach. The owner was really cool and paid me whether I had students or not. He also encouraged me to sit in on the guitar classes that his nephew was teaching to see if I might be interested in that.

One thing led to another and before long, I wanted an instructor quality accordion. So I badgered my parents into going down to see Mr. Schultz again to see what he could offer us. He made me quite a generous offer of the accordion his wife had been using and set the financing up so that I could actually make the payments out of what I earned at the studio and still have a bit of pocket money left over each month. In fact, he sweetened the deal and offered me a Magnatone amplifier (M10 or M12, I think) with the deal. The accordion was wired for amplification so that lit me up even more. Before we did the deal, he mentioned to my folks that I had been sitting in on the guitar classes for a while and he thought that since his nephew was geting ready to leave for college, he would have an opening for a guitar instructor as well. He offered me his personal used guitar, a mid-50’s Fender Esquire.

Well, my father got no peace until he agreed to sign for me to get the package deal and we left with accordion, amplifier and guitar. So for another two or three years, I took an accordion lesson each week, a guitar lesson nearly every week and taught around 12 hours a week at some combination of accordion and guitar. Sandwiched into some of those years were my own little garage bands with many hours of practice. It’s a wonder I managed to graduate from high school.

I worked with the studios as classes came and went. All told, I worked at 4 different studios in four different towns for them off and on until 1973, when I finally moved out of the area.

You would think that with all those years of musical training, picking up the guitar again after putting it down for almost 40 years would be simple. Let me tell ya, it just ain’t so!

Part one

Part two

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