The accordion isn’t one of the first instruments you’d think of in a worship setting, right? I’ve been a keyboard player for practically my whole life, and I’ve never even thought of using an accordion in worship before. Recently, however, some of my worship-leader friends and I started to ask, “Why not?” So, we decided to give the accordion a try in some of our “acoustic” worship sets. After some thought, I decided to pick up a Roland V-Accordion instead of a traditional acoustic accordion.
I chose the V-Accordion not only because I’ve always loved Roland gear, but because of its many capabilities. While a traditional accordion offers just a few sound variations, the V-Accordion has dozens of different accordion voices to choose from—not to mention all the great non-accordion sounds that are built in as well. It’s comfortable to wear, and the keys and buttons have an excellent feel. It’s also very convenient being able to plug directly into a sound system and eliminate the hassle of using microphones. And since it can run on batteries, you have the added benefit of being able to move around the stage and not be stuck behind a keyboard.
As a keyboard player for worship leader Tommy Walker, I’ve recently started using the V-Accordion during portions of his worship concerts. During those segments, we’ll usually strip the instrumentation down to just some acoustic guitars, percussion, and the V-Accordion. I play a lot of pad sounds – like I might otherwise play using a mellow organ sound on a keyboard. Sometimes, I’ll also use the V-Accordion as a MIDI controller to play sounds on my other Roland keyboards (playing a synth pad, for example), just because of the distinctive “breathy” expression that the bellows on the V-Accordion provides. This combination can also make for some very interesting sound layering.
My experience playing the V-Accordion has been a great one! It’s such a beautiful and responsive instrument, and it offers a level of expressiveness that makes it very unique. The feedback I get from people in the congregation has been very positive, too. So many times now, people have come up to me with surprised looks saying, “Wow, I never thought that worshipping with an accordion would sound so cool!”
Michael Fash is a Los Angeles-based musician who plays piano, keyboards, and V-Accordion with Tommy Walker. Listen for Michael’s performances on Tommy's new Overflow album. If you’d like to get in touch with Michael, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.