Accordion Weekly News
De Rita also underlined problems related to the difficulty of
making music and of encouraging the growth of the music sector "If
society doesn't recognize the enormous social value of this art and discipline
and its contribution to society at large".
have to rediscover and appreciate once again the role that music has to play in
modern societies otherwise it will be increasingly difficult to give the younger
generations the right stimulus and encouragement to study and make music.
it has become harder to convince prospective students to take up learning traditional
instruments such as the piano, the violin or the accordion.
youngsters often refuse to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the learning
of an instrument because of the level of discipline and dedication required for
such a task.
Furthermore, in today's music scene (the market being driven
mostly by economic factors rather than artistic ones) exhibitionism, showing off,
and eccentricity have became the most important elements upon which modern music
is based. "Traditional music" instead seems to be incapable of stimulating
and emotionally engaging the ever increasing standardized masses.
Society must therefore
try to make the younger generations appreciate traditions and historic cultural
values as well as reconciling them to the unstoppable progress of technology.
proceed with my analysis by turning my attention to the accordion which, having
started as a humble instrument deeply rooted in folklore music has, in the last
40 years, found a small niche within so called "serious music".
the 150 years of its history, the accordion has often had to fight for its survival,
constantly struggling against the current trends and fads of fashionable music.
the arrival of rock and roll in the beginning of the 1950's , brought sweeping
and everlasting changes to popular music almost overnight, as young people enthusiastically
embraced the new sounds and music trends. Modern music and the concept of making
music for the younger generations changed forever. The
accordion's appeal further diminished during this period while its share of the
market rapidly eroded.
As for the
organisation of shows, festivals and competitions in particular, some reflection
is needed. The competitors are often treated as numbers, and the final scores
don't reflect the candidate's merits but are often influenced and predetermined
by the judges personal preferences and by the pressure of the various sponsors.
Moreover students should be encouraged to work hard to improve themselves,
by confronting and stimulating the listeners with their personal choice of music
rather than being often obliged to perform pieces of music chosen by an often
older, staid jury - pieces difficult to perform and often incomprehensible to
the public at large.
The accordion is going
through an identity crisis. New ideas and enthusiasm are needed to face up to
the problems we need to solve in order to put a stop to the current crisis. Certainly
technology and globalisation should help us to kick start this debate.
reflections and ideas might seem obvious for some, even laughable for others,
but I hope that they will serve as a stimulus to help start a much needed debate
on the subject. Let's exchange and confront our ideas freely and without rhetoric.
Let's roll up our sleeves and start working together.
Your Comments are Invited
for Publication - Email to:
Many thanks to Beniamino Bugiolacchi
for this important and thought provoking paper. We ask
readers for their comment and debate about ways to
reverse the world wide trend of smaller numbers of beginning accordionists. Many
accordion factories in various countries have stopped in recent years, production
numbers are severely reduced and this dangerous trend shows no sign of reversal.
having this online debate, we do not wish to diminish the important efforts of
professional accordionists, entertainers, artists, university tutors, teachers,
publishers, festival organizers and manufacturers. We
do however, wish to positively address this serious world
wide trend, looking for positive ideas and solutions
for the betterment of our beloved instrument.
comments will be published in the next 7 days on this page. Allow about 24 hours
for publication. Do not worry if your English is not perfect - we can edit it
if you ask and have you OK the editing before publication. We invite your
Comments are Invited for Publication - Email
Boki K. Cvetkovski - USA (Edited)
to all accordionists. I would like to thank Mr. Beniamino Bugiolacchi for all
the points that he addresses in his letter and would like to offer my thoughts
on the matter. I live in the United States and have had the opportunity to work
with one of the greatest teachers of all time, Lana Gore. Over the years, she
has been constantly introducing the accordion to pupils that at first began on
the piano, but after a while they loose interest maybe because of the fact that
they need to dedicate time after school, or maybe because it is not popular, or
"cool" to play the accordion among their peers, or maybe a combination
of both. However, what I see in this Country's youth is a lack of discipline and
respect towards everyone, especially their parents. How would a child that does
not respect a parent's will in every day events respect their parents wish to
play the accordion? I remember, as a child I wanted to quit taking lessons, but
out of respect for my father I kep! t going, I kept practicing, until it eventually
grew on me. Thanks to my father, I now love the accordion.
issue that I would like to address is aiming towards the parents that have developed
such respect towards their children. In the U.S., mostly everything is viewed
from an economical point, thus,once they hear the cost of an accordion they encourage
their children to actually switch to a more popular/ less expensive instrument.
Think about it, on can purchase a great electric guitar or a complete drums set
for bellow $1,000, not to mention band instruments such as the clarinet, the saxophone,
the trumpet ... Why would a parent invest in a smaller, less expensive accordion
just to find out that after a certain period of time they have to purchase a professional,
full size accordion? With the cost of such an instrument one can purchase all
the necessary materials to open a small production studio, or purchase a variety
of guitars. In addition, some would add to this that the accordion can compare
to the violin in the pricing, the average price for! a good violin is between
$10,000 and $20,000 - for a professional, but the fact is that you can earn that
money back from playing in orchestras, something that the accordion is not part
of. The bottom line is that the accordion is extremely expensive in comparison
to the other popular instruments.
I would like to thank Mr. Bugiolacchi
for starting something very crucial for the accordion, and would like to thank
Accordions Worldwide for giving the opportunity to everyone to express their thoughts,
as I did today.
Sincerely, Boki K. Cvetkovski
from Jared Claxon: Edited
Hello, My name is Jared Claxon and I am a 16
year old accordionist from Lake Helen, Florida USA.
None of my peers in my
school can tell me any of the famous accordionists except for "Weird Al"
Yankovic who has done more for the accordion community in the last twenty years
than anyone. He broke the barrier and brought the accordion into a whole new genre,
Rock and Roll. I personally play only rock music on the accordion.
just need to move ahead and play rock on the accordion, tell you what the accordion
sounds really good when hooked up to a guitar's distortion pedal or wah wah pedal.
.........(Its a) wonderful instrument that I have devoted my life to.
Comment from Gary Dahl:
doesnt take a long dissertation to analyze the real cause of the accordions
decline from the 60s and on. The real cause was the lack of teachers able
to teach how the accordion can contribute to any pop/rock/country group. It will
not be an advantage however if the student accordionist is missing the role
model teacher Also, chord melody knowledge for 99.999% of the accordion
population was missing and is still missing today.
gifted student however, was able to easily switch over to piano, organ and keyboard
on their own in spite of extremely unqualified teaching. The sad fact is they
could have used the accordion but didnt have any role models...it was just
easier to use organ and piano from existing role models. Accordion amplification
systems were also in the dark ages in respect to the volume needed to contribute".
Conlon - Australia: Edited
interest in the accordion has dwindled to a minimum. I now run an accordion orchestra,
which is more or less holding a lifeline to the few accordionists we still have.
I can encourage them to play and practise, bringing some out of retirement, as
well as encouraging some youngsters.
I blame lack of parental support. When I was learning, my parents devoted their
time to taking me to music lessons and to concerts, encouraging me to play hours
on end and no, I cant say that it was all fun. However, I now thank my parents
for their legacy.
Many orchestras, who will be open minded enough to include an accordion in one
of their programs are intimidated by the huge hiring fees asked by some publishing
houses. These works need to be more accessible to both soloists and orchestras.
It was suggested that we should start by teaching pop music. This works beautifully
however much of it is too intricate for a first lesson.
However, I integrate it, whenever possible, into my teaching material.
we need some star performer to hit the charts with the accordion, and not as a
one off freak, with one song, before disappearing. What
about attacking the kindergarten age group? Here, you have a group of the most
impressionable people possible.
are childrens entertainment groups of singers, backed, sometimes, by a pianist,
sometimes now, by a synthesiser. If we could integrate the accordion more fully,
include it in the new picture books and make it as much a part of everyday life,
or more so, than any other instrument, maybe we could find a level footing.
join me with this one. If you sense my heart is crying, you understand. That we
see Accordion make an ascension, is my aspiration. Miles Davis said: "If
anyone wants to keep creating, they have to be about change."
stark truth is
we people at a very young "age"
get a mind-set
and then find it difficult to deal with whats new
which is another way of saying
people find it hard to accept change, to
deal with change, to grasp what change presents them with
. Or, to say it
even another way, we find it difficult to get out of the status quo box
These are the austere realities that face and challenge us accordion teachers
I ask you
Do you think the majority of our teachers are ready for the 21st
Century? Ready for the new technology thats before us, now? Are YOU, perchance,
using it? Do you think the majority of us are upgrading our Presentations and
riding the crest of the wave (or are many (or most) of us slipping into a stagnant
backwater?) A better job as Teacher and a better job as a business person can
be done, if we can get our flock to shake off their apathy and see beyond the
trees and behold the forest. Visual,
(with audio of course,) is replacing and displacing the conventional written
to the Internet and a world-wide marketing outlook
there are now innumerable
companies in cyberspace selling everything from nuts & bolts to
Viagra to earth-moving equipment
to the world! AND WE CAN DO IT TOO ! And
it costs NOTHING, or at the most, a few cents. Many web sites are hoisted free
accordion teachers have to awaken and grasp the new technologies and new marketing
opportunities and use them! Accordion needs pushing! It needs to be taken out
of the old peoples instrument mould, the polka instrument
mould, and shown to be the beautiful and versatile thing it is.
you thought about, have you considered, do you know? ~ That we can produce a CD-ROM
or a DVD on home equipment in less than a minute and for less than one dollar
All of us should be
grasping this new technology and using it to the max
for the benefit of
the instrument, for our students, and for ourselves!
Let me explain:
you have to do is set up a camCorder at home, stand in front of it, record a teaching
session, transfer it to a Master and then make CD-ROM or DVD copies ad infinitum
on an as needed basis! For less than a dollar a copy! And you can
sell these for $15.00 - $20.00 each! To the world, thanks to the Internet; to
our students; to participants at Workshops; and at wholesale to music stores.
WORKSHOPS Something has to be done to improve the quality of Workshops. I have
attended W/shops and at the end have heard people say "Well, I wonder what
that was all about
" What has usually happened is, the Presenter lost
focus and rambled. It was neither about me arse nor me elbow
We have to do better than this!
Presenters should be required to film (camcord) their Workshops ahead
of time and have copies available on CD-ROM or DVD so participants at the Workshop
can purchase them and have something meaningful to study and work with when they
get home, ~ instead of the sheet of paper with a few lines on it which gets to
mean nothing 3 weeks later.
and Workshop Presenters, armed with this material dont have to wait for
a Workshop to sell their stuff they can advertise it to the
world on the Internet! Organizers
who sponsor Workshops should INSIST that their Presenters have discs (CD-ROM or
DVDs) available for purchase at the Workshop after the session. This will replace
the arcane paper hand-outs ~ and Convention attendees buying a CD or DVD of the
Workshop, at the Workshop, will go home with something they can really benefit
from in the weeks and months ahead
making their sojourn to the Convention
really worth their while.
this, this exciting New Era, Teachers and Workshop presenters should in fact have
several lectures on different topics, on CD or DVD, to sell to their
students and workshop attendees. Just to hand out a piece of paper with a few
lines on it, in this day and age
is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
LOVELLO is one of the forward-thinking Teachers who has made a number of Video-tapes
on his topics. He sells them at Conventions and on the Internet. At the last Convention
in Dallas he sold out all the stock he brought! The only change Tony needs to
make is that he should be using the format of CD-ROM or DVD rather than video
tapes and VCR machines are on the way out. CD-ROMs and DVDs are buzzing these
they offer many more advantages. They are smaller and easier to store,
no tape to get chewed up, producers can make copies of a 60 minute presentation
in less than 30 seconds, for less than one dollar! Teachers/Workshop Presenters
can produce stuff on every-day home-burning equipment and dont have to invest
in an inventory
copies are made in the twinkling of an eye and on an as
TO PRODUCE Dont waste time producing a How To Play Accordion Instructional
there are enough of those out there already! What is needed is specialized
How to play Accordion by Ear; How to play Jazz and Blues on Accordion;
How to pretty up your accordion playing by using modern chords; how to improvise
on your accordion
the list is endless.
You are playing a gig somewhere
people hear you playing
Someone comes and asks you
you get those pretty riffs and runs from ? ? ? You should be able to say
I have a DVD right here showing you exactly how to play them!
15.00 or 20.00
and send the happy man along. Youll be feeling irie
that you helped somebody, youll be feeling smart because you just made yourself
19.00 clear profit
and the lady will waltz home with a smile on her face
because she was able to get something she wanted
this communication should have a name, what would it be? Awaken to 21st Century
techniques? Updating our teaching methods to meet the New Era? Making money on
the Internet with Workshop topics ? ??? ??? (Give it the name you think is appropriate!)
Davis said: "If anyone wants to keep creating, they have to be about change."
We in the Accordion World have to acknowledge change and BE WILLING to embrace
the new possibilities, the wider possibilities, the new technologies
think about these things, my friend.
you may initially suppose these ideas are too avant guarde ... THEY ARE NOT! The
New Era is here! To 'film' a lecture on camcorder, in your home, transfer it to
a Master and burn CDs or DVDs ... is quick, cheap, marketable and as easy as kissing
the back of your hand. Let us bring accordion and accordion teaching into the
21st Century with methods
that have not been available
but which are right in our hands, NOW.
trample upon these pearls
for listening to me!