Shelia Lee stole this somewhere off the Internet and made it apply to the accordionist.
Don’t ever learn anything in all keys – One key is good enough. Really, who plays any song in anything key other than C?
Don’t waste your time on easy tunes – Never waste your time with easy tunes. Easy tunes are for wimps. These include blues, polkas, and most standards. The only tunes worth spending any time are the Magnante and Nunzio and Petro Diero arrangements…..
Ear training. Who needs it? You need to focus on your fingers. Not your ears. Enough said.
Need a Better Accordion. If you’re not getting the results you want, buy a more expensive accordion. You know all your scales and arpeggios. You can even whip out Jolly Caballero. You’ve played chorus after chorus with play-along tracks, so the problems couldn’t possibly lie with you. Use this reasoning to always blame your accordion. Spend at least an hour a day, preferably more, searching for new sheet music or other equipment on Ebay, or trying to figure out what equipment your hero plays on. Know that if you just get the right accordion, you’ll be the next Michael Bridge.
Work on scales and arpeggios until you’re blue in the face. You know that the jazz-theory-model of playing has proved that mastering all your scales and arpeggios results in perfect improvisation. So keep on truckin’. Eventually, they will magically turn into the half-assed melodies you’ve always dreamed of.
Only do the minimum amount of work. Just do the bare minimum. Your goal is to not play wrong notes. That’s it. If you get through a whole chorus with no wrong notes, you’re killin’ it!! All your work should go into this one goal because that’s what matters: no wrong notes.
Don’t worry about chord progressions. Chord progressions are just suggestions. They’re just written symbols after-all. It’s not like they are sounds. Instead of trying to understand the progression, just look for general tonality, then find the major scale that fits over it and go to town!!!
Never ever play with a metronome. You’re not going to perform with a metronome, so why practice with one? If your teacher makes you play with one, avoid playing with it on 2 and 4, as that might improve your time-feel above mediocre.
Always use play-alongs. Why use recordings of your heroes when the soloist is in the way all the time?! Purchase every play-along you can and make them the only thing you practice. Open the book, put the back-up track on and see what comes out. You are your own hero. Don’t let anyone on the recording get in your way. Play chorus after chorus, close your eyes, and move your fingers. Eventually something great has to come out, right?
Learn as many tunes as you can.You know that the more tunes you learn the better because then when you go to a jam session, you won’t feel dumb when you don’t know a tune. Who cares how you sound on it, as long as you know it and someone else doesn’t. Make sure to make fun of the person who doesn’t know the tune by saying, “Really, you don’t know this tune?”
And your definition of learning is memorizing the melody and the chord sequence on the lead sheet. That should be enough to get you to your goal of not playing wrong notes, and if by chance you hit a few wrong ones, just blame it on the fact that you love playing “outside.”
You can be mediocre!
Good news! With little effort, you can become mediocre! If this list reads like your modus operandi, then you can be sure, you’ll reach your goal of playing mediocre in no time. Don’t change a thing. Avoid anyone who suggests you do anything different than what you’re currently doing and seek others who feel the same way you do about everything. You’re on the path of mediocrity and loving it, so keep going!
Now, for the rest of you, I would hope the majority of people reading this, get a good laugh from reading this article, become aware of any habits that you’re currently doing that will produce mediocre results, and change them today. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for mediocrity, unless of course that’s not what you want.
Want great results? Stop trying to be mediocre.