Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Cool Hobbies: Ricky Seeber is a German-speaking Multi-Instrumentalist

    What makes you unique? What do you hope grabs others’ attention when you are introducing yourself? Would you like to be able to tell them you could speak another language? Or play the accordion? Or possibly the bagpipes, piano or French horn? Why not all of them?

    Ricky Seeber is a senior from Montgomery, AL, but you might easily mistake him for being European. He is a Biology and German double major, and he bears a variety of musical talents, including the ability to play both the bagpipes and the accordion.

    “They’re not things that just anybody could play. They’re kind of quirky, and kind of weird, and I love that,” Seeber said.

    From an early age, Seeber showed an aptitude for music. In sixth grade, he took his first steps towards being a musician by playing the euphonium, but ended up switching to tenor saxophone the next year, and then finally settled on French horn in eighth grade. From that point on, Seeber decided he no longer wanted to change instruments, but add more instruments to the list he already had learned.

    When his grandparents first gifted him his own set of bagpipes in ninth grade, he did not realize the effect it would have on him as a musician. Throughout high school, Seeber continued to play the French horn and the bagpipes, while also taking the time to play the trumpet in his jazz band, the bass drum in the drumline, and conduct his marching band as drum major. However, it was the summer of 2014 when he first bought his accordion.

    As he recalls it, Seeber had just finished a summer internship and was looking to treat himself in some way, shape, or form. At first, he contemplated buying a new set of bagpipes, as the one his grandparents had gifted him were somewhat used and worn out. But instead, he took his idea a few steps further and came up with the idea of playing something new- the accordion.

    Seeber sat down and scoured the Internet for a place to buy an accordion, and found a store in Pennsylvania that had used accordions. He ordered one and after performing a few repairs, he was in business.

    “[Accordion] was better to pick up as a musician, because I was logically able to figure out how a lot of it worked,” Seeber said. 

    To learn how to play this new instrument, Seeber had to apply old talents and learn new ones at the same time. The right side of the accordion is set up with a miniature piano, so Seeber’s ability to play the piano helped him to learn the right side as if re-learning how to ride a bike. The left side was a little bit trickier. Seeber recalls having to read to figure out how everything came together, but his knowledge of music, and his ability to understand what he was doing helped him to become the accordion player he is today.

    Nowadays, Seeber likes to play his accordion for his friends and family at parties, and even attends a quarterly event hosted by the Alabama Accordionists’ Association in Clanton, AL. According to Seeber, people at this event come from all across the state of Alabama and meet to show off their skills and socialize with the other accordion players.

    Seeber’s ability to play the accordion is highlighted by the fact that he is able to back up his musical ability with his cultural ability to also speak German. Early on in college, Seeber decided he wanted to take a German class, and instantly became hooked. As a German major, he tries to flex muscles as much as he can, by watching German newscasts, such as “Tagesschau” and reading news articles online in German. 

    Using these outlets are a good way to make sure that he maintains his ability as a German speaker, and also gives him the opportunity to hear the language in a routine situation.

    “As far as communicating or using German beyond [watching and reading the news], I have a German neighbor back in Montgomery I’ve chatted with,” said Seeber. “I’ve had a few conversations here in Tuscaloosa at Edelweiss Bakery and in Birmingham at Das Haus, which is a German-owned bar/restaurant.”

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