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Subverting the Dominant Paradigm MAG
Once I found an accordion in my closet.
“I thinkI’ll learn to play this thing,” I told my mom.
“That’s nice, dear.Dress warmly.”
I started experimenting that night. My improvisational learningtechnique failed to impress my family.
“Why don’t you practice in anotherroom?” urged my mom.
“Why don’t you go practice in another country,”added my little brother.
If my own family couldn’t stand it, no one could. I decidedto change my strategy and bought an instruction booklet.
At Christmas, my grandmother cameto visit. I decided to give a concert and played a Christmas tune.
“Was that‘Deck the Halls’?” guessed Grandma. It was a proud moment for me.
Fromthere things moved quickly. I brought the accordion to school, and though junior high is not themost accepting of places, the accordion elicited smiles from all who beheld it.
“Wow,Steve! Can you play that thing?”
“Yes!” I exaggerated.
The end ofthe day found me performing for a group of teachers. A wall of respected adults surrounded me, mewith my disproportionately large accordion and small repertoire. I played the heck out of thatinstrument. “Pop Goes the Weasel” had never seen such a performance, and probably neverwill again.
The principal joined the group. “I’ve been looking for where thismusic was coming from,” he said gruffly. I shuddered. “It sounds great!”he said.
It was around this time that I became a rock accordionist. I needed something mypeers would appreciate, something I could have more fun playing. I taught myself “Louie,Louie.”
Soon I was in a band. We were invited to play at a skate park. The bandbefore us had spurred the audience into a mosh pit. They wore t-shirts with phrases like “Ihear voices, and they don’t like you.”
After we played “I WillSurvive,” a guy came up to me and said, “You’re the first accordion that’sever played here, and you rock, dude!” The accordion brought out a different side in thekids. Rebellion melted, revealing normal kids in funny black clothing. I even had them doing theChicken Dance by the end.
When we were on vacation in California, I visited anaccordion store where instruments lined the walls. I played my new rock song to test someaccordions and the accordion expert helping me laughed. “I’ve never heard anyone play‘Louie, Louie’ on the accordion before,” she said.
The next day webrought my new instrument to the University of California at Berkeley. I played some tunes on thesidewalk by my suitcase and made $2.48 and a new friend named Eugene.
“Well,”noted my dad, “a hundred more days of that and the accordion will have paid foritself.”
The accordion came with a complimentary bumper sticker. When we got home, itwent right on our family car. It reads: “Subvert the dominant paradigm: Play Accordion”