Learning the Accordion
The Accordionist
Benefits of Learning the Accordion
The Beginner
Care of an accordion

The Right Hand
The right hand plays either a piano keyboardor a chromatic (button) keyboard, which are the treble notes. The fingers are numbered to provide a reference to the fingering used. The right hand is also used to change switches on the grill while the instrument is being played. On some smaller accordions, the thumb is not used. When this happens, the second finger becomes 1, to the fifth finger which becomes 4.

The Left Hand
This hand that plays the bass notes and preset chords. The fingers are also numbered to provide a reference to the bass board. The left hand is also used to change switches, and to operate the air button.

The Left Arm
The left wrist fits on the inside of the bass strap, enabling the left arm to move the bellows.

The accordion is held to the accordionist by various leather straps. For larger accordions shoulder straps are used, which are connected at the top and bottom of the accordion. These are usually fully adjustable. For smaller accordions, only one shoulder strap is used, and sometimes none. Accordionists can also use combinations of wrist straps and thumb straps. As previously mentioned, the bass strap enables the player to move the bellows.



Ease of Learning
Single note bass and fixed chord buttons make for very fast and easy learning of bass and rhythm accompaniment. With the visible right hand keyboard, the accordion is easy to learn with the right tuition.

Education, General Academic Improvements
By learning the accordion, students learn how to organise their time for practice. They will automatically apply this skill to other aspects of their education. Research has shown that people who learn music early in life achieve better academic results.

Self Confidence
Any time that a person achieves something new their confidence in themselves increases.

Introduces Self Discipline and Motivation
These attributes are learned through practice and achievement, and with the help of the teacher.

Problem Solving
To be able to play music one learns how to concentrate on a problem and find the best solution.

Music Appreciation
It is easier to appreciate and enjoy music if one understands how music is structured.

As progress is made through musical education the ability to concentrate increases. With increased concentration comes improved memory skills.

Playing the accordion requires coordination. Not only do players use both hands, but the left arm operates the bellows while the player reads music. As difficult as this sounds, a student can learn to play a piece of music in their first lesson.

The accordion is an incredibly versatile instrument. Not only can it play most musical styles, it is also very good for improvisation.

Job Opportunities
There is the potential to teach or entertain full time with the accordion.

Being Part of a Team
Because the accordion is such a portable instrument, it is used in many types of musical groups, from rock bands to orchestras.

The reeds are fixed in tune for each individual accordion, but can be made higher or lower (by a trained repairer) to suit the preferred sound of the player.


It is recommended that any new student learns the accordion from a respected teacher. The right teacher will help you choose the correct accordion for the style of music you want to play, adjust the straps correctly and get the student in the correct playing position. A teacher is also important to ensure lessons continue, and even if some practice is not done, improvement can still be made.

To improve, however, it is important that regular, thorough practice is done between lessons. This practice should be based on quality rather than quantity. For beginner students, short, regular practices are far more worthwhile than irregular, longer practices. This is when bad habits may begin, which are frustrating to fix later on.

Seating Position
For most people, sitting down is the most comfortable way of playing. There are various seating positions and preferences. You should always take care when bending down from a seated position, however, so you do not damage your back. Having the straps adjusted to fit your body shape is very important, not only for ease of playing, but also to reduce any chance of injury.

Points to remember when playing:
  1. Keep your back straight
  2. When sitting, choose a seat so that your feet can touch the floor, otherwise you will not have full control over the accordion.
  3. Your right elbow should be kept out to enable a good hand position.
  4. Fingers should be curved over the keys, to enable you to play with the tips of your fingers.

Sitting is the most common position to play in.
Accordion Music
For the treble side of the accordion, music is written in the treble clef. The bass is written in the bass clef, except for stradella bass. Instead of writing out the whole chord, the chord symbol is written over the note:
M over the note = Major chord, m over the note = minor chord,
7 over the note = 7th chord, d over the note = diminished chord

The following list of tips on accordion maintenance has been compiled by professional musicians, who use their accordions for many hours a day. If you follow these guidelines, you will not only add to the life of your accordion, but also save on repair costs, which can be costly. Remember though, that if your accordion is damaged, to take your accordion to the nearest qualified repairer.

1: Ensure that your accordion is polished and looking its best. You give a better performance and practice better with an instrument you feel proud of.
2: Always keep your accordion in a dry, warm place. Do not leave it in your car overnight or leave it next to heaters. Extreme temperatures can damage the reeds.
3: Be careful when you lift the accordion from its case, making sure you do not damage the bass and treble keys. The best way to learn how to remove it is from an experienced accordionist or from an accordion retailer.
4: When the accordion is not in use or in its case the accordion should be carefully lowered to the ground. Dropping it that last inch can dislodge the reed blocks, or misalign valves or bass mechanisms.
5: Do not leave your accordion sitting in places where people can damage it. A large proportion of damage is not caused by the owner of the instrument but by someone else knocking or bumping the accordion.

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