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Modes of Transmission: The Community

Learning at Home

Photograph showing two musicians, in the background, playing at a house party hosted by the Vézina family. In the foreground are the heads of two children who have their eyes riveted on the musicians. They are separated from the musicians by a table on which food has been laid out. On the far right, a man is dancing.

Family dance party at the Vézina home in Montmagny, c. 1970

Almost all amateur accordionists in Montmagny can remember family dance parties that helped spark their passion for the instrument.

Above all, accordion skills were passed down through families. Fathers, aunts and uncles or other family members might play a role, but the mother’s influence was usually key. She was often the one to nurture a child’s enthusiasm for the instrument by showing them how to play and giving encouragement.

Bruno Gendron’s grandmother used to say: “If you’re good tonight, I’ll play the accordion for you.” Listen as he shares his memories:

Interview with Bruno Gendron. Subtitles available (EN and FR). Watch the interview with transcript (EN).

The Neighbourhood

Black and white photograph of accordionist Fernand Fraser playing an accordion on his lap, during a sugaring-off party. A woman is seated next to him, and a child is in the background.

Sugaring-off party in Cap-Saint-Ignace, c. 1930

Although the family played a central role in nurturing a love of the accordion, budding musicians sometimes drew inspiration from chance encounters with neighbours, whether at a local festival or under more unexpected circumstances… For instance, family outings to the local snack bar were pivotal moments in Stéphanie Richard’s musical journey:

Listen to the interview (FR) with transcript (EN).