Published 6:30 am Saturday, April 24, 2021
Alex Arizpe shares his love of the accordion with his fellows students, the community
Thursday morning, students lined up outside and waited to get into Ellis Middle School for a day of MCA testing.
But it wasn’t all bad as fellow student Alex Arizpe provided entertainment in the form of his accordion. He performed a pair of traditional songs and for the first time sang along with one of the songs.
It was just his fourth public performance, but Arizpe enjoyed every moment of it.
“I like the music,” Arizpe said. “I’ve always liked the music from when I was younger. I love playing with [the accordion].”
Arizpe comes from a family with plenty of music and he got his first taste of the accordion with help from his uncle.
“He showed me a song and I started practicing twice a day and for family,” Arizpe said.
However, Arizpe didn’t just show up one day and start playing for students. It all started from a conversation with eighth grade algebra teacher Brandon Drescher.
“We were in advisory and he had an accordion box,” Drescher said. “He started explaining how they play, airflow … we spent 20 minutes talking about the accordion.”
After that, Arizpe played for the first time in front of people, using it as an opportunity to break out of his mold.
“I get nervous playing around people, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try new things,” Arizpe said.
It didn’t take long though, and he was playing in front of more than students as he was asked to play for the Austin Positive Action Coalition’s recent Positively Austin event .
However, Arizpe said he still has a long way to go. He learned his first song in about a month, but there is more to playing the accordion, and with options limited in the area that can teach the accordian, Arizpe has turned to an online resource.
“The things I’ve learned have been from YouTube,” Arizpe said.
The self-taught musician understands what it’s going to take to be fully proficient in the accordion and he estimates it will take about two years before he’s really proficient.
But with each time he performs, Arizpe has become more confident in his skills and hopes to get to a point where he can purchase different kids of accordions.
“I’m getting more comfortable,” Arizpe said. “When I’m feeling nervous, I just do it.”
Getting out and entertaining students as they come into the building is more than providing something positive. For Principal Jessica Cabeen ,it’s a reflection of how the school nurtures its students in all ways, not just in education.
“It’s incredible,” Cabeen said. “It’s kind of a calling as leaders and teachers in giving students the opportunity to clear their own path. We have a lot of gifts that open up space for students.”