The accordion is one of the great underrated musical instruments, often relegated to the land of jokes and novelty songs when in fact it's been around for a couple of hundred years. If you've started playing this instrument, you've no doubt discovered that holding it and using it has quite a different effect on your body when compared to more conventional instruments like guitars or trumpets. The weight of the accordion and the fact that your hands have to both hold the instrument up and move around the instrument as you play it make this one instrument that really requires some physical training and ergonomic setup.
The Straps Are Crucial
The accordion is connected to your body by straps, and these straps have to be ergonomic. They have to be able to keep the accordion close to your body and prevent it from moving around, but they also have to allow you to stand up straight instead of crushing your shoulders, chest, and the accordion together. Look for straps that have a lower-back belt and that distribute the weight of the accordion among a few divided straps.
Work on Your Torso and Back Muscles
You've got to have strong core and back muscles for this instrument. While a lot of accordion playing is done sitting down, you'll sometimes have to stand up, and you need the core strength to help keep your back from smarting after a performance. Look for workouts for your core and back, and also emphasize stretching. Be sure to give your body a rest, too. You can't play the accordion all the time, even if you love the instrument.
Be Careful Standing Up
Playing the accordion while standing is actually a more advanced stance than sitting down. As simple as standing up may be under normal circumstances for you, you've got to start standing up slowly and for short periods of time when you're playing the instrument. You'll get used to standing eventually, but if you try to stand and play for a long time from the start, you're likely to end up sore and regretful. Shorter periods of time initially also let you figure out if you need to adjust the straps or your stance in order to play comfortably while standing.
When you play the accordion, you want people to focus on your music and on the fabulous instrument you're holding – not on your pained facial expressions. Using good ergonomics when playing the accordion is something you should focus on from the beginning.
If you are interested in learning the accordion, check out models like the Alacran Accordion AL3112 to get started.