@ahacksaw I love a good accordion player, and I’d love to learn to play it myself.
I have good reason to hate the bagpipes, though;
For several years I worked the sound-reinforcement crew (setting up, operating P.A. systems) at a few different Scottish/Celtic festivals in my area (most notably, the Highland Games at Loon Mountain, but a couple of smaller ones too).
The one thing they all have in common is bagpipes playing literally from dawn until well into the night.
Every year, I would hear bagpipes in my head for days afterward - again, I mean that literally.
It was enough to make me hate the sound. I also can’t really stand Celtic music in general, anymore.
To each his own though, of course.
edit: The Highland Games is where I heard that bagpipes/onions joke, and it was a piper who told it.
@ahacksaw I recently heard a recording of a solo piper followed by massed pipes and a choir performing Amazing Grace.
It was amazing and impressive. Same with some of the Military Tattoos done in Great Britain.
There’s the stories about the Scots going into battle being led by the piper. Even up to WW2 when the British forbade it except in rear areas, the commandos led by Lord Lovat on Sword Beach and the taking of Pegasus Bridge were led by his Piper.
Some Germans who were captured said they didn’t shoot the Piper because they thought he was mad.
The pipes carry history with them. Both pipes and history seem to be acquired tastes these days.
My dad used to play it for a band before I was born. We loved it when he played when we were kids. My neice inherited his old accordion after he passed away, got lessons from someone pretty renowned and became pretty good herself. All the accordion players I’ve met were very interesting people… It’s dorky in a cool sort of way.
Finally, I used to play a few brass instruments pretty proficiently, and accordion is such a departure from brass that it intrigues me. Theremin as a second choice, piano as third and flute as fourth for roughly the same reasons.
@hchavers never says he has to let you play it, just give the ability. But if we go your route, I’m going holophonor from Futurama. Renowned for my skill, and rich off reverse-engineering the holo tech. No spinning wheel gold, but I think I’d still enjoy the music more than adding to my immense fortunes.
@Gypsigirl213 I get my wife a musical instrument of some sort every Christmas. The ukulele from several years back has been by far the biggest hit. Guitar is a little much for her but she can kill it on the uke, although I have to slip in to catch her. She mostly plays it when I’m not around.
@Gypsigirl213 I’m currently obsessed w/ ukulele.
I’ve played a few instruments, including guitar and bass. I bought a ukulele a few years ago and taught myself a few tunes and picked it up to play maybe a couple/few times a year.
Last year I joined a group ukulele class and really caught the bug.
I now play several times a week, at least, have a growing repertoire of songs and feel like I’ve finally found ‘my’ instrument.
Anyway - as far as being easy to learn - 4 strings are definitely way easier than 6, but if you’ve never played a stringed instrument, the hardest thing is acquiring the muscle-memory to get your left hand (i.e., your fretting hand) to make those awkward chord shapes.
As someone who’s been playing guitar for 30 years, my left hand already knew how to do that, so it was very easy for me pick up the uke.
The folks in my class who’d never played a stringed instrument before really struggled with the chords - I felt for them, as I could remember how impossible it seemed to contort my fingers into those shapes when I started playing at 15.
Eventually it becomes second nature, but it does take a lot of time and practice to get to that point.
Luckily, the few basic chords that you can use to play many, many songs are relatively easy on uke.
One of the best things about ukulele, though, is that you can get a perfectly playable one for 50 bucks. $150 will get you a nice instrument that will serve you well for life, or at least until you decide you need that pretty one with the fancy wood finish.
If you already know how to play guitar or violin, e.g., it’s pretty easy to teach yourself uke by watching videos on Youtube, but for absolute beginners, there’s no substitute for actual, face to face lessons, and group lessons can be a lot of fun.
TL;DR - YES! Get yourself a ukulele!
If you’re worried you might not commit to it, then buy a little $50 one - if it ends up as just a bit of kitschy home decor, no big loss; if you catch the bug, you can buy a more substantial one for not much more money.
(Although, $100 rather than $50 would buy you something more enjoyable, tuning and sound-wise, to learn on.)
@DennisG2014 Thanks for the great info! I learned to play the violin in 4th grade and played it for two more years (stopped when I went into Jr high as it wouldn’t have been “cool”—regrets) and my bio-father has taught me a little on the guitar on and off throughout my life (never got to playing ability), so I guess I’d be starting from scratch. You’ve definitely lit the fire to learn!
Given that the Genie is only offering proficiency, I’d go with something hard like violin on cello.
Compared to those, reaching proficiency on guitar is pretty easy.
This is not to say anything about mastery.
@Limewater I had the same thoughts. I already have some level of ‘proficiency’ with guitar, bass and piano (can even play some basic beats on the drums).
If I were to be granted mastery, I’d choose differently, but since the genie is only offering proficiency, I picked the one that’d take me a wish from a genie just to get to ‘proficient’ - trumpet.
I’d love to be able to play a versatile musical instrument splendidly. But I prob have the wrong sort of hands (too small ), and I doubt I’ll ever even think of committing to the time it takes to become even slightly mediocre.
Here is a lovely, rather more casual than usual, example of a talent fully developed:
Van Cliburn and the FW Symphony play the National Anthem at the Texas Rangers season opener.
April 11, 1994, at a The Ballpark in Arlington.
And here is Van Cliburn performing at the first ever Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, 1958.
He completely wowed the very tough audience and won the competition. Tho the Politburo and Krushchev had to approve allowing an American to win, as this was during the hottest portion of the Cold War.
When it was time to announce the winner, the judges were obliged to ask permission of the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to give first prize to an American. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked. “Then give him the prize!”
I’m going with HARMONICA from the Other category. I choose the HARMONICA not because I want to participate in Civil War Battle Re-enactments, but because I want an easy to carry instrument that when I play it, no matter how well I play it, I will cause people ahead of me in line (any line) to abandon all hope and flee the scene with haste, clearing my path to the front of the line.