2023 Participative Workshops

2023 American Music Featuring the Accordion

    The convention will feature 2023 versions of American Music marketable as today’s music. The music is a combination of contemporary American music that was originally created by USA immigrants who brought their musical values and traditions as they joined the great American melting pot. Our music is a blend of musical styles that include, but are not limited to, polkas and waltzes, popular tunes, folk music, country and western (C&W), gospel, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, bluegrass, etc. (by Norman Seaton)

Serving the Conventioneers: 2023 is the Year to Revive "Team Teaching"

    During the early days of the National Accordion Association, our annual conventions consisted of an open invitation for conventioneers to meet as a group to learn musical techniques from each other. To survive in today's world, it is good that we are returning to this same attitude of serving each other again. How will the presenters work together? During the final week of December 2022, the presenters are to review the scheduled workshops and to communicate with each other. As Team Teaching opportunities are discovered, the presenters will make their own decisions about the presentations and/or announcements.

Name and Link Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3
Dick Albreski NAA Famous Fun Band NAA Youth Show Polka Music with Greg
James Barham &
Sharon Seaton
Performing With Other Musical Instruments Autoharp and Dulcimer Lessons plus a string Jam Session Available for Team Teaching
Paul Betken Learn How to Play One Great Pop Tune How to Write and Arrange a Simple Song on your Computer! Performing With a (virtual) Band Using the iReal Pro Computer App
Lori Brooke Beginning Western Swing Techniques More on Western Swing - styles, chord progressions, hearing changes, etc. Western Music Jam with Lori
Brave Combo &
Carl Finch
High-Energy music Alex Performance .
Dr. Ian Fries Stradella Bass: Using Basic Theory to Develop Complex Chords Medical School for Accordionists: Hand Anatomy, Function, and Dysfunction Team Teaching Sibelius Software with Paul Betken
Janice Hubbard Developing and Songwriting for Children Two sessions with Richard Noel Available for Team Teaching
Jerry Jacoby Music in the Air (Open mic in Salon C) Assist in dealer's room Available for Team Teaching
Greg Klugiewicz &
Dick Albreski
So…What is the difference in Polka styles? Available for Team Teaching Available for Team Teaching
Gordon Kohl Playing In A Fun Time Digital Accordion Ensembles Ensemble and Orchestra Training Playing Contemporary Ballads and Pop Songs on the Acoustic Accordion
Dee Langley Maximize Your Potential Playing in a Community Band #1 Playing in a Community Band #2
Randy McPeck Swap Shop Accordion Repairs
Fitting your Accordion
Alex Meixner Engaging an Audience as a Soloist and With a Band Jam with a professional Evening performance
Eddie Monteiro Playing and Creating Bass Lines Level One: Correct Definition and Identification Intervals Within One Octave Level Two: Correct Definition and Identification Intervals Within Two Octaves
Richard Noel Accordion + Singer: Blending Diverse Musical Backgrounds The Art of the Gig Playing Digitally with “Style”
Cory Pesaturo 1. Authenticity of Styles
2. Mathematics of Music
3. Accordion Technique from the Masters’ and Extended Accordion Techniques
4. Playing Techniques Between Digital and Acoustic Accordions
5. Performing with Other Musicians
6. Available for Team Teaching
Jim Rommel Dude! That Accordion Rocks! Dude! That Accordion Rocks Even More! Playing by Ear
Sharon Seaton Circle of Confidence Assist James Barham Available for Team Teaching

teaching image Meet Your 2023 Team of Teachers! teaching image

Albreski image Barham image James&Sharon image Betken image Brooke image Fries image Carl image J. Hubbard image Jacoby image Kligewicz image Gordon Kohl image Langley image McPeck image Alex image Sir. Eddie image Noel image Cory image Rommel image S. Seaton image
Private lessons image
The 2023 convention offers conventioneers the unique opportunity of taking private lessons with a convention leader. The non-negotiable price is $50 for a 50-minute session. The private sessions will be conducted in the Bluebonnet room located on the second floor away from other convention activities.

If you are interested, contact Sabine Baggio, Convention Coordinator either prior to the convention Sabine.Baggio@gmail.com, or during the convention.

Participative Workshop Titles, Descriptions, and Images

NAA Famous Fun Band directed by Dick Albreski
    The pandemic slowed us down, but it did not stop us from enjoying our favorite past-time. That is playing our accordions for fun and entertaining others. Again the N.A.A. FUN BAND, under the direction of Dick Albreski, will welcome all accordionists with any level of experience to join in with this convention performance. This group will enjoy organized JAM SESSIONS with several rehearsals and a final concert. The music is happy, the music is familiar, and you can pick out music to your level of experience. Join today for a happy tomorrow and a chance to get the music sooner!

    Albreski Bio: The Accordion has kept me young and beautiful. With it for decades I was able and continue to work with others, entertain others and be of service to all. Curiosity allowed me to keep the Accordion’s playing by learning how to repair. Challenge allowed me to compose and arrange the accordion music. In brief the Accordion is next to my heart.
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NAA Youth Show directed by Mr. Albreski
    All youth, from 6 to 18, are welcomed to join the annual Youth Show.
    R U Ready to show the folks your accordion talent! Yes, I am talking to you, a young accordion student, (ages 6 to 18). All young accordion students that can read this memo can perform for free and gain rewards. The National Accordion Convention is looking for you to perform with other youth in their Youth Band and as an soloist. The music is easy! The N.A.A. wants to show you off. Enjoy a coveted ranking as an N.A.A. performer, attend all the workshops as a coveted guest and enjoy a lunch with other accordion stars. Where can you squeeze a better deal? Contact the N.A.A. on January 1, 2023 for sign up instructions.
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Performing With Other Musical Instruments by James Barham and Sharon Seaton
    Instruments: Accordion, Autoharp, and Dulcimer.
    James Barham will give a brief overview of the stringed instrument and the expectations of the both musicians. James and Sharon will then perform a musical duet. Conventioneers will be given the opportunity to perform with James during the session.
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Autoharp and Dulcimer Lessons plus a string Jam Session by James Barham
    Instruments: Autoharp, Dulcimer, and other stringed musical instruments.
    In addition to holding a workshop with Sharon Seaton, James Barham will be giving stringed instrument lessons during the afternoon. Since his retirement, James and his wife Cindy Barham have travel throughout the USA to participate in related festivals and jam session. They are very popular as the book several playing engagements every week.
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Learn How to Play One Great Pop Tune by Paul Betken
    Paul will distribute the music notation of the designated song, then demonstrate and explain the parts of the music. Paul will solicit the attendees’ performance of the progress through their performance of the demonstrations. This will be a back-and-forth process leading to the successful learning how to play the whole piece as our goal.

    This workshop is open to questions and comments from its opening to the end. The atmosphere is clearly one of comradely and musical fun. We would always stop and discuss any comment or question that may arise. The goal is to make attendees feel at ease so we can all learn at our given skill levels.
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How to Write and Arrange a Simple Song on your Computer! by Paul Betken
    logo image Optional: Attendees can bring their accordion to play the music that I write during the workshop.


    Sibelius Composer Software will be used to demonstrate and write a simple song for the attendees. This is a "How to do it" work session. The goals are learning, keeping it simple, and having musical fun all rolled-up in one session. Aside from questions and comments during the workshop, Paul will always available for questions, answers, and comments during the convention.

    The atmosphere of the work session makes time for a confidential, friendly, and informal group experience making learning and playing together a lot of fun. Any musician that learns how to use their computers will become an better accordionists and a more well-rounded musicians.
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Performing With a (virtual) Band Using the iReal Pro Computer App by Paul Betken
    logo for i-realPaul Betken will introduce, demonstrate, and explain the operation of the computer software called iReal Pro. This software offers the learner and the professional the ability to practice or play with computer-generated musical accompaniment. The user can regulate the speed, key signatures, and instrumentation together with all sorts of options. The program comes with a minimum of 1200 standard musical arrangements. It is a highly popular and widely used program.

    Benefits of the iReal Pro: The program shows how these new musical accompaniment programs work. It is great for practicing and learning. This will be the first, for most accordionists opportunity to play with a small band, at their own level and speed of proficiency.
    BIO OF PAUL BETKEN, (Updated January, 2023)
      Originally from Chicago, Paul Betken performed in the Chicago-land metro area for over 30 years. Now, residing in Phoenix, AZ for the last 17 years, he enjoys casual engagements and jam sessions all around town. Paul’s past concert appearances include the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018; Florida Smash, Southeast Accordion Association, Orlando, Florida, November, 2012; Cotati Accordion Festival, Cotati, CA, August, 2015 and 2021; Cotati Accordion Scholarship Concert, Cotati, CA, August, 2015- 2019 and 2022; National Accordion Association Convention Concert, Dallas, 2014; 2015; 2018, 2019 and 2022; 78th ATG Festival, Lisle, Illinois, 2017. He participated in the Mesa Accordion Event 2012, 2013, and 2014.

      Paul has played in concert for many accordion organizations including the North Hollywood, CA Accordion Club, July 2012; Silicon Valley Accordion Club, San Jose, CA, January, 2015, the Chicago Accordion Club, Elmhurst, Illinois, July, 2017, Napa Valley Accordion Assn, 2019, and the Arizona Accordion Club. Paul has given numerous accordion workshops at national events including the National Accordion Association Convention, Dallas, 2014 – 2019 and 2022; Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, Las Vegas, NV, June, 2015; 2018; ATG Festival, Lisle, Illinois 2017; and at the Cotati Accordion Festival, Cotati, California, August 2017. He has acted as a judge for the Cotati Festival Youth Scholarship Fund competition (2019, 2021, 2022).

      Paul has published music books for jazz accordion instruction, "JAZZ ACCORDION ARRANGEMENTS” with CD, Paul Betken Productions, © 2017; "JAZZ ACCORDION ARRANGEMENTS” with CD, 2nd Edition, © 2019, Paul Betken Productions. His CD releases consist of “PAUL’S TURN – JAZZ ACCORDION,” Paul Betken Productions, © 2014 which achieved international recognition and “BEYOND MY COMFORT ZONE – ECLECTIC JAZZ ACCORDION” Paul Betken Productions, © 2018
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Western Swing with the Accordion by Lori Brooke
    Wikipedia defines western swing as a style of popular music that began in the 1920s in the American Southwest among the region's popular Western Swing bands. It is dance music, often with an up-tempo beat. The music is an amalgamation of rural, cowboy, polka, and folk, New Orleans jazz, or Dixieland, and blues blended with a jazzy "swing". and played by a hot string band often augmented with drums, saxophones, pianos and, notably, the steel guitar. Later incarnations have also included overtones of bebop.
    Lori Brooke's Western Swing work sessions will be in three workshops:
    1. Workshop 1: Beginning Western Swing Techniques - this will cover different kinds of licks and how to accompany a band vs taking a solo.
    2. Workshop 2: More on Western Swing - Learn about score styles, typical chord progressions, playing by ear.
    3. Workshop 3: Western Swing Jam

    Handouts will include examples of chart styles, licks written out as examples and in charts.

    Challenge by Norman Seaton: Lori is multi-talented, so ask her to teach the group how to:
    • Yodel one western swing song.
    • Play a simple polka (or sing a duet with Jim Rommel).
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Brave Combo: NAA President Norman Seaton Writes About Alex Meixner, Carl Finch, and Brave Combo
    After reviewing the training desires of the conventioneers, two specific areas were mentioned that caught my eye. Creativity, high-energy festivals, participating audiences, performing with other musicians and musical instruments. Both Alex Meixner and Carl Finch are over and above these expectations more than any other accordionists I know. Brave Combo is the primary band for the Friday evening event. Thus, it is with immense pleasure for the National Accordion Association to present both Carl and Alex, plus Brave Combo to the 2023 National Accordion Convention.

    Alex Meixner, Carl Finch, Brave Combo, and invited guest, will provide a “high energy” evening of music, dancing, etc. The audience will be responding to the music and announcements. Accordionists with wisdom will be studying the crowd-pleasing techniques of this extraordinarily successful group to learn how to create new techniques for personal playing engagements.
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High-energy Friday Evening Dance Program by Alex, Carl, Brave Combo.
    Alex reports: “I will be performing both solos and with Brave Combo. I will be playing both Diatonic Button Accordion and Piano Accordion through a myriad of the repertoires that I am noted for in the accordion community. I have performed onstage with Brave Combo over the last 20 years in guest appearances. I have been with them in five (5) different US states.”
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Stradella Bass: Using Basic Theory to Develop Complex Chords by Dr. Ian Fries
    Dr. Ian Fries’ Stradella Bass workshop concentrates on "How to play chords beyond major, minor, seventh and diminished." Conventioneers participating are encouraged to bring their Stradella accordion and follow the presentation “button by button.” During the final phase of the work session, everyone is encouraged to play through one song using complex chords.
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Medical School for Accordionists: Hand Anatomy, Function, and Dysfunction by Dr. Ian Fries
    Hand image Class requirements: Attendees are requested to bring a minimum of one hand as this is the topic for discussion.
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Team Teaching Sibelius Music Writing Software with Paul Betken
      Bio: Ian Blair Fries, an orthopedic and hand surgeon, was taught accordion as a teenager by Paul Martell sitting on the Roseland Ballroom bandstand in New York City. He returned to the accordion about 16 years ago and shortly thereafter became enamored with digital accordion sounds.

      For more than a decade Ian hosted the Digital Accordion Suite at the annual National Accordion Association meetings. He has performed at venues in the United States and France. He enjoys playing French musette and the American songbook on a Roland FR-4x. He always has an accordion (or two) with him in the TBM turboprop aircraft he flies about the United States.
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Developing and Song Writing for Children by Janice Hubbard
    Janice Hubbard will be conducting a work session on Developing and Song Writing for Children. She will be demonstrating some of her wonderful songs and talk about her approach to developing new songs.

    Biographical Notes: Janice Hubbard is a songwriter, singer, guitarist, and percussionist who was a member of the multi-award-winning musical trio Parachute Express. She has performed at the White House, Kennedy Center, and various venues around the world. Her group toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, China, and Korea, from 1984 until their retirement in 2015, influencing and thrilling three generations of Gymboree children and their families. She is currently a member of the Bonhomie duo, with accordionist Richard Noel, and they are playing a variety of gigs from Leavenworth to the L.A. area, performing everything from swing, pop, classic favorites, Latin, Ethnic, and Country.
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Music in the Air (Open mic in a designated location) by Jerry Jacoby
    Come and show us your accordion skills. Play your favorite music to a nonjudgmental group of enthusiasts. Perform solo or with your friends and make new friends. Musicians playing other instruments and vocalists are also welcomed to accompany the accordionists, if desired. It does not matter if you are a novice or experienced player. The possibilities for fun are endless! Hang out here, socialize, and take a break between sessions.
    We will offer this session multiple times throughout the convention.
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So… What is the difference in Polka styles? by Greg Klugiewicz and Dick Albreski
    Learn about the different Polka styles from Europe and North America. Is a Polish Polka played the same way as a Bavarian Polka? What does the German style sound like? What is a Cleveland style Polka? Let us face it. As much as they have been underrated, clichéd, and joked about, polkas remain a staple of everybody’s repertoire. We all play them. And why not? They are fun, plentiful, and remain extremely popular. This fun and educational workshop explores different Polka techniques and styles. It will hopefully encourage accordionists to play more polkas and utilize different techniques. Complete with performed examples, this tutorial explores many techniques utilized in this fun genre.

    Dick Albreski and Greg Klugiewicz will lead this clinic. Both originally hail from “Polka Country” (Northwestern Pennsylvania). Their playing style integrates a unique mixture of Polish/Czech/Cleveland techniques.
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Playing In A Fun Time Digital Accordion Ensemble by Gordon Kohl
    Instruments and Music Files :
    • Digital accordions with instrument voice capability.
    • Two-part music files will be provided (melody and harmony).

    Gordon's Workshop 1 is for Orchestras Training:
    Digital accordionists will learn how to create and layer arrangements to the song "Memory From Cats Musical". The various digital orchestra sounds will include piano, violin, cello, guitar, jazz organ, flute, choir, and clarinet. The fun musical skills and instrumentation will be useful for any accordionist to develop with practice and performance in events.
    Gordon's Workshop 2 is for Training Ensembles:

    The second workshop will study the song Moon River with a focus on mixing acoustic reeds with piano, violin, and woodwinds. Both songs are in two parts, very melodic, and flow easily in rhythm. The important emphasis of the second workshop session is touch, expression, and using chord harmonies to some instrument voices.
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Playing Contemporary Ballads and Pop Songs on the Acoustic Accordion by Gordon Kohl
    The Ballads and Pop Songs workshop is to teach accordionists techniques for adding a dynamic spark to newer musical selections. The ballads and pop songs session includes contemporary introductions, endings, effective uses of middle and low reeds, and chord progression tricks. The session blends the piano, accordion, keyboards, into a new style of writing music for personal arrangements that use both vocal and instrumental music charts. During the session, Gordon Kohl will include his personally developed Twilight Song Chart.
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Maximize Your Potential by Dee Langley.
    As a teacher: Have you ever had a student that just could not grasp a concept?
    As a student: Have you ever felt misunderstood by a teacher and at a dead end?
      This workshop will shed some light on both learning styles and teaching styles that can bring rewards for both teacher and student. The workshop encompasses all printed methods such as Palmer-Hughes, Seldon and Aretta. No matter what book you teach out of or what course you learned from, a fresh approach and understanding of learning will be presented which could remove “road blocks”. Leave your legacy for the accordion by sharing your gift of music with others. The information is for piano accordion, chromatic accordion, diatonic accordion or any other instrument.
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Playing in a Community Band by Dee Langley.
    Dee Langley (Minnesota) will be conducting a work session designed to train accordionists to play in a local community band. Accordionists often find such a band to be a little intimidating because it requires sharing the spotlight with unique styles of musical instruments with various tuning requirements. This type of music requires listening skills that are not utilized when playing with other accordionists. For example, this workshop has created some interest from Autoharp, dulcimer, guitar, and brass instruments. This workshop is open for all individuals regardless of musical skills and the ability to play by note, ear, or both.

    Dee is making one request: When signing up for the convention tell, Norman Seaton the musical instruments that you will be bringing to the convention and if you are interested in the Community Band training session. Dee will be contacting interested conventioneers in advance of the convention to enable all to have a lot of fun learning something new.
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Swap Shop and Accordion Repair (on-going activity)
    Randy McPeck will be coordinating the Swap Shop and accordion repairs.
    • The Swap Shop includes: new and used accordions, other musical instruments, printed sheet music, music-related cards, pins, recordings, etc.
    • Randy will coordinate such topics as accordion repair, tuning, sticking keys, logical reasoning for selecting keyboard styles such as piano, chromatic, and/or diatonic keyboards, etc.
    • Both Ballarini Accordion and Randy McPeck will be available for demonstrating and/or repairing accordions, tuning and reed selections, and flying with an accordion.
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Engaging an Audience as a Soloist and With a Band by Alex Meixner
    During Alex’s participative workshop, he will be discussing the aspects that go into gig performing from repertoire to attire, volume, on stage banter, pacing, and audience interaction. The work session will include both diatonic and piano keyboard accordions, guided conversations and examples with conventioneers, plus interactive questions throughout the presentation.
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Playing and Creating Bass Lines by Eddie Monteiro
    Eddie will be discussing the advantages of the layout for the Stradella Bass system. Included in the session will be the built-in values of the chromatic layout system and the ease of playing in multiple key signatures. Eddie will also be demonstrating and explaining major and minor scales for the left hand. Close to the end of the session, participates will be given the opportunity for demonstrating the bass techniques that they have earned during the session. The last thing to learn is the simplistic Blues Bass Line with another participant playing only the right-hand chords to accompany the bass line being played. A second option is to have a 3rd participant to play an improvised melody against the other two people.
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Level One: Correct Definition and Identification Intervals Within One Octave. by Eddie Monteiro
    Eddie will explain and describe the correct names of intervals, Perfect, Major, Unison, Minor, Augmented, Diminished and Octave (within ONE octave range). Participants will be taught how to correctly name and identify intervals within one octave range by listening, singing, and then identifying intervals.

    Handout: PDFs or photocopies of a scale of intervals of one octave and the second octave extensions.
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Level Two: Extended Use of Intervals Within One Octave plus Second Octave Extensions. by Eddie Monteiro
    Norman is waiting for Eddie to complete the description of Level Two.
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Accordion + Singer: Blending Diverse Musical Backgrounds Richard Noel and Janice Hubbard
    Richard Noel and Janice Hubbard (Bonhomie) have been performing for a year for a wide variety of events. Janice comes from a background of international performances with a group known as Parachute Express. Richard played a soloist featuring the Roland Digital Accordions. Together they merge their individual styles into a unique duo that has impressed audiences with their wide repertoire and unique styling. This workshop will explore issues and workable solutions, including how to meld each person’s talents into a coherent whole, supporting each other by complementing their separate roles finding and implementing the best keys for the singer, experimenting with different rhythms, tempos, and percussion effects, and promoting their duo to appropriate audiences. Examples will be provided.

    Especially suited for accordionists, whether acoustic or digital, who accompany a singer or who are considering that option.
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The Art of the Gig by Richard Noel and Janice Hubbard
    How can you best create a musical experience that satisfies both you and the audience? The workshop will explore ways that YOU can best connect with the audience while staying within your comfort zone in terms of your musical ability and your personality. We will provide some of our own experiences, both good and bad, and what we have learned from them. Emphasis will be on suggestions that work for each participant. Lecture, group discussion, and group participation as time allows.
    Audience interaction is expected, and this workshop is for every level of performer.
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Playing Digitally with “Style” by Richard Noel
    Richard Noel has been supporting digital accordionists around the world for the past decade by providing specialized programming for each of the Roland digital accordions (and Bugari Evo). He will review his “styles” approach to programming and playing the digital and provide examples of how he implements his programming on gigs. Audience will be invited to participate by suggesting examples and then discussing the decision-making process that leads to an effective selection of sounds for different songs. Variations will be considered along with the implications of those variations for the “feel” of the song.

    Primarily for digital accordionists or for those interested in what the digital accordion can do. Audience members will be invited to provide examples that work for them, and to invite feedback from the presenter and the audience.
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Authenticity of Styles by Cory Pesaturo
    Playing a style at an authentic level cannot be achieved by learning songs in the style; this takes years to understand, let alone master. Cory will take you through over 10 genres, from French to Italian, Funk to Brazilian, Klezmer to Polka, and dive into the aspects of each, using just one simple 3 chord song as an example all the way through. The song will transform in a musical channel including ornaments, tempo, key, touch, feel, chord changes, endings, fills, and many other particulars as it is put through the paces of each genre. By the end of this session, the conventioneers will know how to identify details in a style, apply them to your playing, and make yourself sound more authentic, especially when sitting in with the professionals.
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Mathematics of Music by Cory Pesaturo
    This work session is about Seeing the Mathematics of Music and being able to learn any song you hear without using the sheet music.

    There is nothing in music more important than training your ear to hear the tonic note. The "tonic note" first note of a scale. That is because from this skill, the musician can hear relationships from the tonic note of the chord as related to the other notes in the various chords. It is the basis for progressing as a musician, from the amateurs through the professionals. This technique helps immensely in hearing and enjoying music. Moreover, the ability to immediately play songs you hear on the radio and/or YouTube seems like a faraway skill, but it is not at all.

    Additionally, it is essential for young players to understand this even at a basic level, as nothing will propel their motivation to further their studies on our great instrument more than being able to play their favorite Taylor Swift or Harry Styles or Beyonce or Billie Eilish or Bruno Mars tune and do so within an hour. Not finding the sheet music at a store or Online is especially a problem, as music since the 1960s has been quite elusive, but even more so since the 1990s.
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Accordion Technique from the Masters’ and Extended Accordion Techniques by Cory Pesaturo

    Cory will give all of his secret practice techniques including, hand position, arm position, exercises, and other tools learned over decades from accordion legends while they were still in the public's eyes. All the ideas to be presented, were learned either 1st and/or 2nd hand, from those accordion greats such as Tony Lovello, Charlie Nunzio, and Steve Dominko. Cory became remarkably close friends with these individuals before they departed this world. These are all tools that Cory wished that he had known from the beginning of his lessons. Most of this knowledge took a century to develop, but is dying with almost no teaching lineage remaining from that golden era.
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Playing Techniques Between Digital and Acoustic Accordions by Cory Pesaturo
    Cory is one of only 4 individuals to win World Championships on Acoustic and Digital Accordion and would be the first person to tell you how many distinct aspects there are in playing Acoustic vs. Digital. This is most evident in how you touch the keys and bass notes, depending on which orchestral instrument(s) being used on the digital accordion. Additionally, arranging, which is almost never thought of on acoustic accordion, becomes essential preventing professional musicians thinking you are playing an electric accordion as a joke.
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Performing with Other Musicians by Cory Pesaturo
    Performing with other musicians is the most vital skill that accordionists never seem to learn or think to study. It is additionally the most eye-opening skill set which musicians outside of the 2 categories of the accordion world and classical music world, judge the most. As sad as it may be to hear, it is of little importance to a professional musician if all one can do is play the most difficult pieces in the world, if they cannot play with others seamlessly, as 99% of the gig world involves that very act.

    Here I will go over the foundational aspects needed to never feel nervous to at the very least, jump into a jam session, or at most, enter a live stage in front of 1000s of people without any time to practice or rehearsal but to still fit into the set. Vital Note - Being able to play at an elevated level, and even having elite theory knowledge, are both behind the importance of being able to play well with others when it comes to non-accordionist respecting you. Although it is not necessary to get the most out of this workshop, the skills talked about here will involve some learned skill sets from both the ear training and chord knowledge workshops. This workshop will be very participative, so certainly bring your accordion!
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Dude! That Accordion Rocks! by Jim Rommel
    By popular request, this is a repeat of the 2022 convention. We are bringing it back for those who missed the session, or for those who want a refresher course.

    How do we make the accordion appeal to a younger generation that is getting older? Even folks 80 and older grew up listening to Rock n’ Roll of the 50s. Almost everyone enjoys Pop, Country, or classic Rock n’ Roll music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, etc., and then there are those “classics” that everyone knows! Why are we not playing these on the accordion any more?
    Jim Rommel does it all the time and will demonstrate and teach you how to play pop, rock, and country hits, while preserving original spirit, essence, and attitude of the original song, and avoiding making it sound “hokey”. We will discuss how to present the accordion to a younger generation, so that even polkas can be “cool”. Jim loves to surprise audiences with his performances. You may have seen him perform as the Phantom, the “Folsom Prison Blues”, the “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, even some Led Zeppelin! Jim’s specialty is finding a way to make people say, “Wow, I did not know an accordion could do that!” or as some like to express themselves, “Dude…That accordion rocks!” Come find out how he does it.
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Dude! That Accordion Rocks Even More! by Jim Rommel
    This will be a Part-2, where we use the concepts in Part-1 and apply them, breaking down a few rock-n-roll songs and walking through the thought process on how to play them on the accordion. You do not have to attend Part-1 to enjoy and learn in Part-2, but it is nice to tie the two together.
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Playing by Ear by Jim Rommel
    This will be a hands-on workshop where we will learn several techniques on how to play by ear. For a few people, it comes naturally, but for most, it does not. But anyone can learn or improve, employing a few varying techniques. It is not all about music theory! Yes, some basic music theory helps, but there are other methods as well.

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Circle of Confidence by Sharon Seaton
    Dr. Sharon Seaton states that accordionists should come prepared to play one or two short musical selections for a small group of peer players. Each performer is to play pieces of music that need some type of improvement. Prior to playing the music, the performer is to state the reason this music was selected. Then the other participants will be invited to comment on the performance, offering positive encouragement, and suggestions for improvement as related to the performer's opening statements.

    Participation in this workshop will be limited to 8-10 musicians but will be repeated as desired by the conventioneers. Skill level? The ability to hold an accordion and to play a minimum of one musical selection. Interactive session with all in attendance participating.
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This page was last updated January 1, 2023.