How to Teach Lanting Lines to Children

A Serb teaches his students how to play Schwyzerörgeli

He's already been on stage in China

Aleksandrovic has been with the accordion all his life. At the age of six, after months of begging, his father gave him a private lesson from a professional accordionist. Since then the instrument has been an integral part of his life. His teachers recognized his talent early on and encouraged him accordingly. Aleksandrovic took part in many music competitions, both as a soloist and with bands. From Scotland to Switzerland to Spain he has performed across Europe, but has also appeared on stage in China. He graduated from music schools in Novi Sad and Kragujevac in Serbia with a focus on the accordion. He later moved to Germany, where he completed his master's degree in Freiburg in July 2015.

Before he came to Switzerland, he had never heard of the Schwyzerörgeli: “I didn't even know that the Schwyzerörgeli existed,” he says. Only after a request from the Zug Music School whether he could teach Schwyzerörgeli in addition to the accordion did he take a closer look at the instrument. He broke his first pieces in self-study, later he took professional courses, among others with the famous Emmentaler Schwyzerörgeler Kurt Schmid. Switching from the accordion to the black organ was quite a challenge, says Aleksandrovic.

"In many ways the Schwyzerörgeli is similar to the accordion," he says. There is one point where they differ markedly. As a chromatic instrument, the accordion produces the same tone when pulling and pushing the bellows, while the diatonic Schwyzerörgeli emits different tones. The two instruments also differ in their pitch range. While up to 140 basses can be played on the accordion, there are only 14 to 20 basses on the Schwyzerörgeli, depending on the size of the instrument. Nevertheless, in principle, you can play every song on the Schwyzerörgeli, says Aleksandrovic, but not in every pitch.

"Jazz and pop sound good on the Schwyzerörgeli"

Nevertheless, the music school teacher fell in love with the traditional Swiss instrument: "I love the characteristic, powerful and very radiant sound of the Schwyzerörgelis." The connection to Swiss folklore also fascinates him. The images in your head that arise when you play. "I see Swiss mountains, nature and tradition." He often plays folk music on the Schwyzerörgeli. "But pieces of jazz or pop also sound very good on the Schwyzerörgeli." Due to the relative rarity of the Schwyzerörgelis, however, it is difficult to find notes that are tailored to it. "Most Swiss orchestra players play without notes."

As a teacher he currently teaches seven students in the accordion and three in the Schwyzerörgeli at the music schools in Birr, Wohlen and Würenlos. He mainly practices folk music songs with his students. Länders, Polka and Scottish or American folk songs. "In general, the Schwyzerörgeli is suitable for dance music."

The fact that a foreigner knows how to play the Swiss cultural asset, Schwyzerörgeli, amazes many viewers at first glance, but Aleksandrovic has never experienced any negative reactions. He has not yet been able to perform with the Schwyzerörgeli due to the corona pandemic, but first concerts are already planned.