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2024 Market Goals

Tom

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So, the 2023 farmer’s markets wrapped up yesterday, did 3 hours in 50 degrees (10 C) with fingerless gloves, took one break to warm up hands. Went well, I really like this market, very laid back and appreciative of accordion music. A lady from Chile started talking to me in Italian, that was a first. Seems I met her husband already, the guy who wants me to fix his growling bass reeds. I told him some people consider it a feature, but he could borrow a B griff or piano if he wants more keys (accidentals). Maybe next summer.

Anyway, I volunteered to play next year, which is 15 - 20 days of 3 - 4 hours of each. With luck, I’ll make $10 - $15 / hour so I won’t be buying an old Gola, but the experience, as they say, “priceless”.

The bigger challenge is expanding my known repertoire to 4 hours with “quality” music, that is to say music I like that I am “good” at, ditching any “easy fillers.” I repeated this year and want to avoid that in the future.

So, I figure it will take most of the winter (we only have 2 seasons here). Plus I want to parlay this into other gigs so I need to play songs that will go there, less old time and accordion industrial complex. Plus the other accoutrements of professionalism I never got to this year - name, card, video examples, poster, etc.

Wish me luck!!!!!
 
Let us know how your set list develops.

I have sheet music for ten jillion tunes, but all is dated stuff and age and wear deteriorated. I would like a few more contemporary current tunes to try, tunes that the accordion complements. To my ear modern tunes are few and far between that "work" on the accordion and that is a reflection of the uneven quality of the modern compositions rather than the limitations of the instrument.

Another problem for me is to sound polished on a number of tunes at the same time. I can work up a few, but can't keep up with many. I do a poor job without the sheet music in front of me, memory being what it is, and fingers can't seem to keep pace with sight reading at this point in life. We won't even mention doing justice to the unique expression each tune deserves.

How to maintain a viable extensive repertoire? Yeah, I know; more devotion to the instrument, proper practice and much playing. I'm "only" 66 for cryin' out loud! They didn't tell me it would be like this.
 
Let us know how your set list develops.

I have sheet music for ten jillion tunes, but all is dated stuff and age and wear deteriorated. I would like a few more contemporary current tunes to try, tunes that the accordion complements. To my ear modern tunes are few and far between that "work" on the accordion and that is a reflection of the uneven quality of the modern compositions rather than the limitations of the instrument.

Another problem for me is to sound polished on a number of tunes at the same time. I can work up a few, but can't keep up with many. I do a poor job without the sheet music in front of me, memory being what it is, and fingers can't seem to keep pace with sight reading at this point in life. We won't even mention doing justice to the unique expression each tune deserves.

How to maintain a viable extensive repertoire? Yeah, I know; more devotion to the instrument, proper practice and much playing. I'm "only" 66 for cryin' out loud! They didn't tell me it would be like this.
Yeah, I went through the exact same thing. “How to maintain a viable repertoire” seems a very common question. Everyone seems to come up with their own unique solution. I don’t know what will work for you.

For me, it came down to actually determining my “known” repertoire. This was very painful as my known songs became very few. I need to have the song in “muscle memory” (whatever that is) and use the sheet music as a guide while playing. Even though I can play many without the music, it’s nice to have the guide, but also nice to have eye contact and even talk while playing (for me, at the farmers market).

I put together a binder of only songs that I know, and can play ok. Again, painful in honesty. Then only adding new songs one or two at a time, never letting the “known repertoire” include songs I can’t perform. It’s a little dicey as you have to constantly add songs, and play them, but not get too far out on a limb, and look bad. Then you have to be honest and ditch songs that don’t work for one reason or another. Then you ( I ) have to “play through” the repertoire on a regular basis. At least a couple times a week minimum, identifying songs that need work.

I understand what you say about adding modern songs. I find the big problem is not so much that they are poor compositionally, but they are so reliant upon vocals that it is difficult to adapt them to instrumental. Or learn to sing competently. Another challenge.

So yeah, my advice,

1. Limit repertoire to what you know.
2. Add one or two at a time, without getting ahead of yourself.
3. Practice or perform your repertoire constantly.

I hope you find this helpful, different things will work for different people. A youngster like yourself should have no problem!😏😏😏🪗🔜🪗
 
A fun and insightful post Tom.

I'm running off in the weeds with your thread's topic here. Recently, I was tickled to find a Pietro Diero Jr. arrangement of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" in good condition on Ebay so I gathered it in as a cute tune that I like and that could be added to my personal repertoire. Contemporary 60+ years on now I realize.

Thing is, I just don't like it on the accordion and I thought it would really shine on the instrument. If I can't rework it into something that sounds suitably complementary on the instrument to me then baby elephants won't be walking around here.

As a young teen with some years of accordion lessons and playing under my belt I so wanted to play the rock/pop tunes of the '60s/early '70s. The accordion arrangements of those tunes were uniformly terrible and I couldn't contrive to improve them.

So, I gave up on the genre years ago and stick with "Mrs. McLeod's Reel", "Blue Skirt Waltz", " Clarinet Polka", 12th Street Rag" and similar such.

Oh yes. And, "Lady of Spain". We mustn't forget " Lady of Spain"!
 
A fun and insightful post Tom.

I'm running off in the weeds with your thread's topic here. Recently, I was tickled to find a Pietro Diero Jr. arrangement of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" in good condition on Ebay so I gathered it in as a cute tune that I like and that could be added to my personal repertoire. Contemporary 60+ years on now I realize.

Thing is, I just don't like it on the accordion and I thought it would really shine on the instrument. If I can't rework it into something that sounds suitably complementary on the instrument to me then baby elephants won't be walking around here.

As a young teen with some years of accordion lessons and playing under my belt I so wanted to play the rock/pop tunes of the '60s/early '70s. The accordion arrangements of those tunes were uniformly terrible and I couldn't contrive to improve them.

So, I gave up on the genre years ago and stick with "Mrs. McLeod's Reel", "Blue Skirt Waltz", " Clarinet Polka", 12th Street Rag" and similar such.

Oh yes. And, "Lady of Spain". We mustn't forget " Lady of Spain"!
Thanks! Yeah, my experience exactly, except I started at 55, with that same accordion industrial complex music, wondering how to play the “classic rock” of my formative years. It’s still a challenge, only Ventura and Keyman know for sure. I’m still not sure what the answer is, but I am quite convinced it includes learning to sing competently. Or you end up with the dreaded “elevator music.” Playing “Twenty Five or Six to Four” or “Roundabout” or a million others on accordion just doesn’t seem feasible. Not sure what the answer is. Maybe “Take Five” or “Despacito” I don’t know. Write our own songs I suppose. Or playing tunes from cultures that still have accordion like forró, zydeco, etc. Or classical.
 
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i think it helps to grab the songs with signature bass lines that
transfer to accordion well, like
"My Girl"
or
"Spanish Harlem"
a bit more tricky, but
"Get Ready" is do-able too

i am referring to your desire for "known repertoire" of course

Rock and Roll gives us a lot of these.. even if they havn't heard it
for 30 years, you hit the bassline for "Black is Black" and their ears perk up
then you hit the first 3 notes of the Melody, then the power chord,
and they go back in time immediately

but yes, the lead riff and the bass line are a piece of cake,
but you will have to sing to do
"Smoke on the Water"
 
How about you, Ventura, do you sing?
 
So yeah, I‘ve got 7 months to add 2 hours of music, might be easy or already happening for some of you, but a challenge nonetheless. More if I ditch a few I’m sick of playing.

Here’s a few candidates right off the bat, any comments?

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
Country Roads
Take Five
El Condor Pasa
Swing Low Chariot
Rambling Man
Friend of the Devil
Wonderful World
Over the Rainbow
Norwegian Wood
Something from CCR
Some other jazz standard
Big Yellow Taxi
Volare
La Vie en Rose
Under Paris Skies

An hour right there. Probably not gonna do Dirty Deeds Dirt Cheap.
 
Well, you are really flying now! Well done on the goals and the fact that you are at least making some cash on the side which is never a bad thing!
The one thing that you may want to look in to is to remember some songs that were requested that you didn't know... giving the audience what it wants is a sure fire way of getting that extra buck tossed in to the cookie jar. :)
 
So yeah, I‘ve got 7 months to add 2 hours of music, might be easy or already happening for some of you, but a challenge nonetheless. More if I ditch a few I’m sick of playing.

Here’s a few candidates right off the bat, any comments?

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
Country Roads
Take Five
El Condor Pasa
Swing Low Chariot
Rambling Man
Friend of the Devil
Wonderful World
Over the Rainbow
Norwegian Wood
Something from CCR
Some other jazz standard
Big Yellow Taxi
Volare
La Vie en Rose
Under Paris Skies

An hour right there. Probably not gonna do Dirty Deeds Dirt Cheap.

Good stuff there!

I'm off and running on gathering new songs. I've got a rousing arrangement of David Rose's "The Stripper" worked up out of thin air that as a kid I originally started playing by ear back when the Noxema shaving cream commercial ran on TV in the 1960s.
 
You can always introduce a song as a request even if it isn't....
Couple of ideas for you that are almost new and transfer well and everyone will recognize ....
I will Survive .....(autumn leaves progression😉)
Copacabana....you get to wear a medallion .....
Here's my Stripper ......
 
Well, you are really flying now! Well done on the goals and the fact that you are at least making some cash on the side which is never a bad thing!
The one thing that you may want to look in to is to remember some songs that were requested that you didn't know... giving the audience what it wants is a sure fire way of getting that extra buck tossed in to the cookie jar. :)
Thanks Jerry, and good advice. Yeah, saving up for that pristine, vintage Gola. Should have it in 2086 if the appreciation factor doesn’t exceed my earning! Actually, I’m trying to think of requests and there really haven’t been any other than one for more polkas….not!
 
Good stuff there!

I'm off and running on gathering new songs. I've got a rousing arrangement of David Rose's "The Stripper" worked up out of thin air that as a kid I originally started playing by ear back when the Noxema shaving cream commercial ran on TV in the 1960s.
Thanks Noel! Not sure what song that is but I’ll check out Terry’s version….
 
You can always introduce a song as a request even if it isn't....
Couple of ideas for you that are almost new and transfer well and everyone will recognize ....
I will Survive .....(autumn leaves progression😉)
Copacabana....you get to wear a medallion .....
Here's my Stripper ......
Oh yeah, that one!!!! Thanks Terry, and for the suggestions.
 
can also make polka playing a bit more interesting by adding
one or two European Polka's instead of more Milwaukee..

like AMBOSS polka, or pick something off an Avsenik LP.

yes i was lucky and sing as good as i play.. have even done
gig's as a Vocalist.. once subbed on Vocals on the Riverboat
(we were the house band, they had a second "pop" band
to play on our breaks for the younger set.. their singer didn't
make it to the Dock and they sailed without her) so i
never got a break THAT night

meanwhile i might as well take this opportunity to thank Bobby Short
for his composition, "Route 66" which i sang SO many times over the
years one friend just started calling me "66" as a knickname
 
Thanks Noel! Not sure what song that is but I’ll check out Terry’s version….
let's see.. songs that are not quite PC anymore..

there is that French song you always hear when you see that
French Chorus line shaking their skirts and kicking.. dunno the name
but i play it by ear..Yat ta ta DA ta ta ta DE ho ho hi ho da da da

the TJB version of Music to Watch Girls by is easy to play on the Box too

and yes the Noxema commercial.. i only played that when Peaches O'Dell
walked onstage to do her routine at the 4 Seasons
(balloons, feathers, silk, balloons popping..)
 
Thanks for all that info Ventura! You were charmed….
 
Just to help thinks along. I think I was about 10 years old when these commercials appeared on TV. I just thought the tune was cool then.

 
Oh yeah, I remember that, and I’m sure I used this product way back in the day when I used to shave……
 
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