Frederic Deschamps Master Classes
Grayson Masefield Concert

March 2011, Spokane, USA
Reviewed by Pamela Beckstrom

Emil Haroldsen showing World Champion Grayson Masefield "how to do it"!!!!
Emil Haroldsen showing World Champion Grayson Masefield "how to do it"!!!!
Frederic Deschamps and Yev Nosov
Frederic Deschamps and Yev Nosov.
Yev Nosov (background), Gilberto Reyes (Hohner Product Manager USA), Emil Haroldsen, Patricia Bartell, Naomi Harris.
Yev Nosov (background), Gilberto Reyes (Hohner Product Manager USA), Emil Haroldsen, Patricia Bartell, Naomi Harris.
Back Left to Right: Gilberto Reyes (Hohner Product Manager USA), Neil Moore (Simply Music), Kathleen Falco, Gabriel Soileau, Frederic Deschamps, Yev Nosov
Group photo: Back Left to Right: Gilberto Reyes (Hohner Product Manager USA), Neil Moore (Simply Music), Kathleen Falco, Gabriel Soileau, Frederic Deschamps, Yev Nosov
Front Row: Patricia Bartell, Emil Haroldsen, Naomi Harris. Several other students not pictured.

Robynne Snow writes:

Patricia Bartell and her students were excited to welcome Frederic Deschamps to Spokane in March.  Frederic Deschamps taught a week of master classes for beginning through to advanced students.  Grayson Masefield also participated and ended the week with an exciting concert.

Frederic Deschamps brought his extraordinary knowledge of the accordion, his attention to the technical details of playing and his enthusiasm for teaching students to a dozen of Patricia Bartell’s students.  The students, even those who were nervous about his renown and the group lesson/group critique format, warmed to his personable style. As he taught each student, he taught the others as well as they sat in.

The students each brought a piece to work on during the week.  From beginning to advanced, we worked on similar problems with technical challenges, bellows compression, musical expression.  

Even though Patricia Bartell’s students are well versed in Frederic Deschamps technical approach, we were inspired by his personal attention to our individual technique and his explanations of the ways we need to unite our bodies with our instruments to achieve the best musicality.  

This often involved attention to a simple detail or phrase to focus on what makes a good sound, or what physical expression might bring out the best in the music.

The students had a good opportunity to visit with each other and have compared notes. As Emil, a new student to the accordion who is 9 years old said,“I really liked Fred, he was funny and makes people work very hard.  He explained very well how to do some techniques on accordion to make us better players.   While he was here I learned new things about how to play accordion.  Accordion is my favorite instrument and I hope I will be a World Champion.”  

Or Dee, a new older student said,  “I really have changed the way I practice now, as opposed to "playing."  

There was a an epiphany of the intricate interaction of body and instrument, a play of pivot, posture and pressure as the player moves around the 20+ pound "box" hanging from her shoulders.”  

Patricia Bartell reflected the sentiments of all her students, "I am very grateful and honored that Frederic Deschamps would come to Spokane to share his time and expertise.  He is one of the worlds most gifted teachers, who encourages, inspires, and enables each player to be a better musician, using the accordion as a means of expression."

Robynne Snow
Back row, left to right: Yev Nosov, Frederic Deschamps, Grayson Masefield, Emmanuel Gasser, Grabriel Soileau. Front row, left to right: Patricia Bartell, Naomi Harris, Emil Haroldsen.
Some masterclass participants: Back row, left to right: Yev Nosov, Frederic Deschamps, Grayson Masefield, Emmanuel Gasser, Grabriel Soileau. Front row, left to right: Patricia Bartell, Naomi Harris, Emil Haroldsen.

Concert Review:

On an evening in Spokane when a great many were at the arena to see the Gonzaga Girls Basketball team win the Sweet Sixteen, another group gathered at St. Mark's Lutheran Church to be entertained by the World Champion Accordionist Grayson Masefield. 

Grayson spent the week in Spokane for the second time in two years and wowed us even more with this exceptional concert.  Quoted local accordionist Gordon Alexander "He has become much more accomplished in his precision and speed with the difficult quality of his pieces."  Indeed he did begin with possibly his most difficult piece which was a classical piece beginning with a low basoon reed that was sweet and pure and gradually increasing the sounds that his accordion could produce until it sounded as if the tremendous pipe organ (he was sitting in front of) had joined along in accompaniment. 

Another classical piece that all recognize as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was actually Mozart's "Ah Vous Dirai-je Maman."  At one point Grayson's left hand was moving so fast it reminded me of a blender and the sound produced was similar to the sound of a bumble bee hive. 

Another local accordionist Angie Smith was impressed with the number of ways he used his accordion noting his vibrato and bellows work. When the classical half was over, Grayson changed his accordion for another known as a Fun Flash made by Hohner.  He began his variety section with a jazzy piece that brought out another side of Grayson. 

He and his completely black accordion (even the keys) would sway and move together inseperably.  The entire concert was performed by memory which was astounding and also shows the level of work for competition this young man has been preparing for by practicing up to 16 hours a day. 

To the crowd of music lovers and especially accordion fans, the best way to describe Grayson Masefield is in the words of local accordion instructor Patricia Bartell who brought him to Spokane:  "He is our hero on the accordion."

Pamela Beckstrom

Patricia Bartell, Frederic Deschamps, Emil Haroldsen and Grayson Masefield.
Left to Right: Patricia Bartell, Frederic Deschamps, Emil Haroldsen and Grayson Masefield.


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