M y father played the piano when he was young but as he had always fancied the accordion, he bought himself one just after I was born. He was self-taught and enjoyed playing Scottish folk music at home so that was my introduction to the instrument. It was pretty amazing for a little boy to see something like that in action.
James Crabb. Photo © Christoffer Askman
Since I kept pestering my parents to buy me one, they looked into some teachers but were told that normally they would start with children around seven or eight years old, and I was four. We went to one teacher in Dundee, my hometown, and while my parents were speaking to him I went over to his instrument and started trying to play it. “Well, he looks really keen so let’s see what happens,” he said. I was bought one of the smallest accordions you could get and never looked back.
I can’t remember many of my lessons when I was young, but I do remember my first concert performance when I was four-and-a-half in a local park. I played...