||I had lessons in the centre from Amsterdam above a shop
called "De Vreng". De shop sold accordions, guitars, etc. and above the
shop was an accordion school.
It started with test lessons for three months. I had to play from
music for the first time and I had no problems with it. After that the
teacher decided that I had feeling for the instrument and music and
should continue the lessons. So I did.
I had lessons in a group and my parents decided I should go to
a private teacher closer to our home. It wasn't very close, but at least
my mother didn't have to carry my accordion from our house to "De
To "De Vreng" we took tram line 13 from
Slotermeer (where we lived) to a stop close to "De Dam" and
then walked from there through the street called "de
Nieuwendijk", where "De Vreng" used to be.
After my lessons my mother always took me to a little shop where they
sold icecream. It was very good icecream, mixed with sweetend whipped cream. This
shop, Van der Linde, still exists and if I go to Amsterdam, I always
go to Van der Linde to buy icecream. It is still the same. A real
||For my private accordionlessons I had to go to Geuzenveld
where my teacher Frans van Norden lived. He taught me well. I had
lessons for about 8 years. First my mother took me, but after a few
years I put my accordion on my bike and went alone.
I liked to play, but didn't just play what my teacher taught me. I
listened to the radio and tried to play what I heard. I was a Beatlefan
and played some Beatlesongs.
I tried to play the chords I heard and noticed that if I bought the sheetmusic
of these songs, it was simplified. So I prefered to play what I heard. (I
always had a mind of my own about music).
|My primary school had a student-orchestra I played in. The photo
on the right was taken at the aula of the school (Burgemeester De Vlugtschool in Slotermeer,
Amsterdam), during a performance.
And the photo below shows a group of
pupils who was playing for a party at the
nursery school to the primary school. Of course that is me on the far
Maybe not unimportant for my musical career was my singing. Richard Vries
(the boy next to the two girls) and I formed a duo. We sang at school - songs
like "When the Saints" - and there are pictures of a school
performance. I liked to sing the second voice, but when a third person joined
us, Jan-Willem Pieterson, who played guitar and sang too, Richard wanted to do
voice. "OK", I said, "then I will do the third voice". This was just for the performance though.
photo's below were taken during a schoolperformance in the fifth or sixth grade. The
other accordionist is a teacher of the school, probably mister De Jong,
who also played guitar.
After primary school I attended secondary school. In
those years I bought a new and bigger
accordion from my accordionteacher. He handpicked the instrument when in
Italy visiting an accordionfactory. The size of an accordion is usually measured
according to the number of knobs on the bass-side - so I went from 80 to
It was a nice instrument. I still have it, so I took a
picture of it. I played it too.... just for a few seconds, because the keys are
very small and I am not used to it anymore. It amazed me that the sound
was still OK.
In 1965, my accordion teacher organised a music evening to present
his pupils, who came from Amsterdam, Aalsmeer, Badhoevedorp and Hoofddorp.
I wanted to play a tango by Malando, Olé Guapa, but another
student already played that, so I choose Guapita instead, another tango by Malando, a
dutch orchestra leader who's real name was Arie Maasland but became famous as
"Malando with his tango-rumba orchestra". I picked "Tanzende Finger",
composed by Hans Gerlach, for my second song.
Also in 1965 my accordionteacher introduced me to Hans Meeuwig from Hoofddorp (where
we also had the music evening), who was a drummer and needed an accordionplayer for a circus-trio. No, we were not going to be clowns, but we
had to accompany the acts that were performed. It was a childrens-circus and I
enjoyed playing with them for about 4 years.
The trio was called "The
with Hans Meeuwig, drums, Wim de Groot, guitar and me on accordion.