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Name and Link Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3
Albreski, Dick Fun Band Training Sessions Youth Band Training Sessions Saturday Performances
Archuleta, Mary K. Dreams Fulfilled Through Music  Vendor Room: Display and Conversations
Bisciglia, Bob Playing in Totally Different Venues
Brooke, Lori Western Swing Fundamentals Western Swing Chords and Construction Western Swing Jam Session
Clements, Elijah Vendor area: Swap Shop Mgr.  Lec: Taking Care of Your Accordion Accordion Petting Zoo (4 Beginners)
Covone, Mary Ann Introduction to the Accordion Musicality Expanding Musical Abilities
Frauenthal, Max New Jamming Techniques Max and Roy are providing the music
Helsing, Roy Musical Jam Techniques With Max  
Fries, Ian Care for the Accordionist hands Complex Chords on the Stradella Bass
Kohl, Gordon Learning New Italian Love Songs Reading Music and Applying Chord Theory Movie Theme Songs for the Accordion
Meixner, Alex Engaging an Audience With a Band Engaging an Audience as a soloist Alex Opens the Thursday Concert
Seaton, Sharon The Business of Playing the Accordion
White, Mitch Hear It, Play It, and Share It Expanding Your Creativity (Doodling) Deepening Your Connection to Music

teaching image Meet Your 2024 Team of Teachers! teaching image

Participative Workshop Titles, Descriptions, and Images

Dick Albreski Bio:
    The Accordion has kept me young and beautiful. With it for decades I was able to continue to work with others, entertain others and be of service to all. Curiosity allowed me to keep the Accordions 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.
NAA Famous Fun Band directed by Dick Albreski
    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. Practice before the convention (music is online) then train and perform on the Saturday evening concert.
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 a 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 NOW for sign up instructions.
    1. Fun Band Training Sessions
    2. Youth Band Training Sessions
    3. Direct Saturday Performances
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Mary K. Archuleta
    Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Music Education: University of Colorado at Boulder.
    University of Denver: Advanced Accordion Performance
    Post-graduate hours in music theory and composition, and child development: UTSA

    Mary Kathryn Archuleta is uniquely qualified as a teacher of piano/keyboard and accordion to individuals with all types of special needs, including both those who are intellectually and developmentally delayed as well as many who are gifted and talented. 36 years of professional experience before she became the parent of an adult child with multiple disabilities has given her a unique perspective of understanding and the insight to provide solutions for teachers, students and families whose goals are to bring the joy of creating and performing music to anyone with special needs.

    Her broad range of experience in both classroom and private instructional settings during her 60+ year long career, coupled with an unparalleled passion to serve others is the heart of her presentations at the Texas Music Educators Convention, the Texas Music Teachers State Convention [2008 - 2009], the Texas Music Educators’ Conference for the SW Division of MENC, the MTNA (Music Teachers’ National Association), the American Accordionists Association [2009-2014] and the World of Accordions Museum in 2022. Her expertise in the integration of elements of Applied Behavior Analysis in the teaching of students facing the challenges of Autism makes her a highly sought-after clinician.

    As the CEO of DREAMS FULFILLED THROUGH MUSIC, she leads Professional Development Seminars and Workshops for Music and Special Education Teachers, Administrators and area Colleges and Specialized Presentations for Parents and Professionals serving the disability community.
Dreams flyer image
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Bob Bisciglia
    Bob Bisciglia has been playing the accordion since the age of 7. Growing up, he won three national championships and seven state championships, and represented the state of Ohio in the national elimination for the world cup (Coupe Mondiale) four consecutive years. He has performed in variety shows and concerts around the country, playing a variety of musical styles, including jazz, classical, and folk music.

    Bob is a member of the National Accordion Association, the Central Texas Accordion Association and the Austin Polka Band. He enjoys demonstrating and promoting the accordion, especially to young people.
Playing in Environmentally Different Venues:
    Bob will explain and demonstrate the venues required for different approaches to selection and execution of the music in restaurants, senior centers, nursing homes, church, etc.
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Lori Brooke
    Lori Beth Brooke is an accordionist, yodeler, singer, and song-writer from Austin, Texas. A native Texan with German heritage, she grew up on a dairy farm in Nordheim, just southeast of San Antonio. Lori started playing piano before she started elementary school. Then at seven she was finally big enough to hold an accordion and learned to play her first polka from the Palmer Hughes series. By age 12 she was writing her own songs.

    Lori Beth graduated with a B.A. in Music and a M.S. in Computer Information Systems. She now works in the computer industry managing a database team for the data analytics division at an Austin-based company. However, Lori Beth's true calling is music, and during the past 20 years she has performed in a broad range of genres: classical, big band, German folk, country, and most recently, Western music. Learning to yodel after college, Lori Beth has used this unique singing technique extensively in both German folk music and Western music. In 2016 the International Western Music Association named Lori Beth Female Yodeler of the Year.

    Lori Beth continues to write songs and believes that the Western music genre allows her to realize her full potential as both a songwriter and a performer. In August 2020 she released an album of Western/Western Swing music with 10 original songs called "Texas Star" which was awarded the 2020 International Western Music Association Cowboy Western Swing Album of the Year! Check it out on the Music tab!

    Most recently the Academy of Western Artists named Lori Beth the 2020 Female of the Year in the Western Music category. And her original song, "Knock Knock", a playful spin on a romance and sung as a male/female duet, has been named the winning humorous song for the 2021 Walnut Valley Festival NewSong Showcase.
    1. Fundamentals
    2. Introductory songs
    3. Common Tunes

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Elijah Clements
    Biographical Sketch:
    Elijah Clements is a Nationally and Internationally recognized accordionist after winning the virtuoso category at the 2023 Accordion Teachers Guild. Additionally, Elijah has over 7-years experience as a luthier, repairing, modifying, and selling accordions.

    His goal is to effectively communicate knowledge and generate interest in the field of accordion repair.
    1. A hands-on lecture on the process of refining and taking care of your instrument, both inside and out.
    2. Swap Shop Coordinator
    3. Beginner Lessons for the non-accordionists
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Mary Ann Covone
    Biographical sketch
    Mary Ann Covone is one of a handful of classical accordionists in the United States. She plays in an ensemble in Kansas City. Mary Ann is currently the president of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, an organization that strives to promote excellence in teaching and playing and to promote accordion playing at all levels in all genres. Mary Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Accordion Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and has performed and taught extensively in the Chicago area for many years. She has presented programs that include light pop, ethnic and semi-classical music. Recently, Mary Ann performed with the West Suburban Orchestra and the Loyola University Orchestra in various Shostakovich works. She has also played in the pit orchestra in the show Cabaret with the Beverly Theater Guild.

    Mary Ann is eminently capable of teaching all genres of music at all levels. She will be providing broad principles on a fairly wide range of topics of interest to all success seekers.

Training Session Descriptions

    Session 1 Description. A Basic Introduction to the Instrument.
    You will learn proper position for your instrument, bellows techniques, basic bass and chord rhythms on the button side of the accordion and how to play melodies on the keyboard. You will learn to read basic music notation in both treble and bass clefs and rhythmic patterns in both 3/4 and 4/4 time. We will explore primary chord progressions and scales and explore how to apply that knowledge to sight-reading and left-hand bass and chord patterns. We will learn how to add a left hand part to accompany simple melodies. We will also learn about intervals with the goal of improving sight-reading abilities.

    Session 2 Description: Musicality
    In this class you will learn more basses and bass patterns, primary chord progressions, move around more on the keyboard, and begin to learn to read (and improve sight reading) music that is not specifically written for the accordion. We will learn how to add a left hand part to accompany simple melodies. We will also focus more on musicality and begin exploring a variety of styles of music.

    Session 3 Description: Expanding Your Musical Abilities
    In this class, we will talk musicality and work to develop more technique, learn more difficult rhythmic patterns, begin to apply some theory by adding harmonies to simple melodies, and learn intermediate level pieces. We will also develop the ability to learn songs that are not written for the accordion and create appropriate left hand patterns.
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Ian Fries
    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 became enamored with digital accordion sounds. For more than a decade he hosted the Digital Accordion Suite at 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 has an accordion (or two) with him in the TBM960 turboprop aircraft he flies about the United States.
1. The Accordionist's Hand:
    I am honored to present a medical school lecture on the accordionist's hand - anatomy, physiology, pathology and treatment. This is a hands on session. You are requested to bring to class two hands and at least one thumb (preferably the right thumb) for demonstration and experimentation. How your hand functions while playing and how it may be affected by arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren's contracture, injuries, and musician's dystonia will be discussed.
2. Stradella Bass Chords:
    Playing an accordion bass is not restricted to major, minor, seventh and diminished chords. Constructing complex bass chords, half diminished, ninths, flatted ninths, minor sevenths, minor sixths, major sevenths etc. is not difficult. These chords, typical to jazz, are often seen in lead sheets. This is a hands on seminar, so please bring your accordion - acoustic or digital - as long as it has a Stradella bass. It is important to have an accordion on your lap as the fingering must be felt and the chords heard.
    1. The Accordionist's Hand
    2. Stradella Bass Chords
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Max Frauenthal and assistant Roy Helsing
New Exciting and Satisfying Jamming!
    Max and his famous tuba have been the driving force behind the successful evening jam sessions for many years. For 2024, Max, Roy, and Rick Custer (2024 Convention Chair) are providing the music in advance (view the handout page).
    Max has served the Little Rock, AR area with concerts in many venues including National Anthem opening at the ballpark, senior living facilities, ethnic festivals, and is active in encouraging accordion enthusiasts of all skill levels. In a previous life, Max graduated from University of Arkansas with a degree and certification as Registered Professional Chemical Engineer.
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Roy Helsing
    Roy is a retired Army Officer and Business Owner. I played and studied piano for many years from kindergarten through high school - but always wanted to be playing an accordion. In my thirties I took accordion lessons for a few years but military service interrupted that training. Later in life I was stationed in San Francisco and tried again to take some lessons, but that got interrupted when I retired and started a business. The accordion (and the piano) sat untouched for 27 years. When I semi-retired a few years agoI was finally able to get active studying and playing the accordion again. I am interested in jamming because I live in a very isolated area and rarely get the opportunity to play with others. Those sessions are most enjoyable for me when there is music available because trying to just join in by ear is not my skill set.
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Gordon Kohl
    Note from Norman: Gordon has been a popular instructor and performer for the National Accordion Assocation since 1990!
    Gordon has been teaching music since high school. He has been teaching accordion, piano, keyboard, music theory, music arranging and workshops on a variety of music study topics. He especially enjoys teaching in the topics of chord usage and electronic voicing for the digital accordion. He also has a passion for being a musician.

    At the age of thirteen, he began playing the accordion professionally. From his high school years to the present, he has enjoyed gigging in a combo. Teaching music and being a musician has been his passion and journey. Gordon continues to write music arrangements, new compositions, and educational materials for individual and group instruction. He chose as a teen to develop his sounds using both the acoustic and digital musical instruments along with the accordion. He really has a passion for expression and dynamics on the reed accordion.
    1. Learning New (2024) Italian Love Songs
    2. Reading and Using Chord Theory, Bass and Treble, for Improvising, Adapting and Arranging From Simple Lead Charts. Improvising Rhythm. Making it Your Own Music.
    3. Movie Theme Songs for the Accordion
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Alex Meixner
Meixner Bio:
    Education: Alex is a formally trained educator with degrees from Ithaca College and Pennsylvania State University. While on the road he is frequently booked for master classes, guest lecturing and as a clinician for schools, colleges, and private music schools.

    Alex Meixner is a nationally acclaimed musician, performer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of polka music. Formally trained in classical, jazz and ethnic music, Alex has cross-pollinated his versatile playing styles through pop music, funk, jazz and polka. He is an active ambassador for polka music, revitalizing interest coast to coast resulting in sold out shows, renewed cultural interest, and growing mainstream acceptance. For Alex, it’s more than playing energetic shows; it is a mission to provide a much needed positive experience that pulls communities together to celebrate history, culture and genuinely good times.

    Engaging an Audience as a Soloist and With a Band 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.
    1. Engaging an Audience With a Band
    2. Engaging an Audience as a Soloist (noon time)
    3. Meixner in Action - Evening Concert
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Sharon Seaton
    Accordion Teacher:
      Sharon became fascinated with the accordion after receiving batchelor's and master's degrees in music education. It was a natural transition for her to learn the piano keyboard accordion. She studied accordion at the Trick Bros. School of Music in Dallas, and she soon learned that accordionists were in demand at ethnic functions such as German, Italian, and French. She began specializing in private parties, festivals, and corporate events with her accordion.
    Professional Organization:
      Sharon was a co-founder of the National Accordion Association and has been a member of the Board of Directors since the NAA's inception in 1986. She teaches workshops at the association's annual conventions, which attract accordionists and accordion enthusiasts nationwide and from several foreign countries.

      She has taught piano and other music courses at Dallas College. She also holds a doctoral degree in higher education (Ed.D.) and currently teaches computer science at Dallas College.
The Business of Playing Accordion
    There may come a time when an accordionist has the opportunity to play for others—and to be paid money for doing it. You are that accordionist, and you need to be prepared to handle many aspects of the event before agreeing to accept the gig. There are so many things that potentially need to be addressed, such as pricing, contracts, what to play for this specific event, knowing the location, hours you will play, taking breaks, etc. Working with the client who is hiring you includes having agreements on what to wear, whether to eat or drink at the event, sitting versus strolling, and of course, how and when you will be paid. What pieces of equipment and supplies will you need for the gig, such as an amp, extension cord, business cards, stool, etc.? This workshop will be a panel discussion by several convention attendees with extensive experience playing music professionally.
    1. Panel Discussion - The Business of Playing the Accordion
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Mitchell R. “Mitch” White, Ph.D.
    Mitch White spent four decades in a scientific and high-tech career in consulting, where he traveled the world, served over 400 industrial clients, built and delivered over 150 technical courses to 10,000+ attendees, optimized chemical and semiconductor factories, and had a fine time. He also taught math, chemistry, physics, and special topics at several universities during his career. Mitch has over 100 technical publications in scientific literature and holds several patents.

    After this rich technical career he retired, and music returned to his world.

    Since retirement, Mitch has taken up the accordion full-time (although the piano and ukulele are coming along). He has toured in Europe three times, performing with Chris “The Accordion Cowboy” Rybak, as well as a solo act. Mitch teaches early-stage accordionists, using a multi-faceted, foundational approach to combine technical growth with musical advances. He serves as President of the Central Texas Accordion Association (CTAA) and plays bass (on his accordion) at four ukulele clubs in the region.
    1. Hear It, Play It, and Share It. Subtitle: "Basic Song Forms and Chord Progressions and How to Hear and Play Them"
    2. Expanding Your Creativity Subtitle: "Using Free-Form Practice (Doodling) to Enhance Your Musicality"
    3. Deepening Your Connection to Music Subtitle: "Moving from Music Consumer to Music Contributor"
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This page was last updated July 1, 2024.