I’ve taught thousands of students how to play accordion over the last twenty years, both privately, in-person, virtually, in group settings, and through recorded videos. I’ve also learned accordion using all of these methods. I’ll share my thoughts and findings with you below.

Learning how to play the accordion today

Up until twenty years ago, we lived in a world where individual, in-person accordion lessons was the only option available to you. If you happened to live in a location with a talented accordion teacher, you were in luck. Otherwise, you were going to have a hard time.

We now live in a magical time for learning the accordion. You can learn at your own pace, anywhere, and at any time, in a way that is optimized for you, the learner. You have access to books, videos, online communities, in-person workshops, as well as private instructors. You can learn how to play accordion music in a way that works best for you!

Being someone who often doesn't excel with conventional learning strategies, I find your approach so much easier to understand, which I felt from your free videos which led me to join the website. There's other free videos online, and I even got a hold of some Palmer Hughes, but I don't really get anything from them since I don't seem to learn that way, so I really appreciate you and your resources like the lessons, song tutorials, forum challenges, personal messages, etc.

Andrew W

Accordion Love Student

Learn to play accordion with a set of tools

When I learn something new I start with a wide array of resources

I speak to other learners, find an online community, get a book from the library, check out YouTube videos, and find an authoritative online website.
If it’s a skill that I want to keep doing, I’ll use a combination of methods. It’s my learning toolkit!
There is usually a mix of methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
In-person methods hold me accountable, but come at a high price.
Self-learning and self-pacing methods let me learn any time, in short spurts, and let me repeat lessons, which offer a great benefit at a lower cost.
I suggest you find an ideal mix that works for you.

When I polled current Accordion Love students, 45% of them supplemented their online lessons with a private teacher. The other 65% used Accordion Love as their only resource for learning.

What about the Palmer Hughes books? 

The Palmer Hughes series of books offer a structured and traditional method of learning the accordion. I think they are a valuable tool in your accordion-learning toolkit. However, like any book, they are limited in what they can communicate to the learner. Combine your Palmer Hughes books with audio & visual lessons, as well as an online community, to round-out your toolkit.

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A good piano teacher is better than a mediocre accordion teacher

An in-person lesson with a real-life teacher can be invaluable in your learning journey. However, it may be difficult for you to find (1) an accordion teacher in your area, and even more importantly (2) a good accordion teacher in your area. For that reason, I recommend that beginner students find a good piano teacher in their area.

Yes, add a good piano teacher to your accordion learning toolkit! 

You will be asking the piano teacher for help with your right-hand technique, specifically, your finger movement and placement when playing scales, triads, and arpeggios.

Unlike traditional lessons, though, use the piano teacher sparingly, to check-in on your technique.

What about private accordion lessons?

The good and the bad

I’ve had fantastic private accordion lessons and terrible private accordion lessons. It all depends on what type of student you are, and the type of accordion teacher. Sometimes a private session with a teacher has helped me understand a musical concept in a new way. I also learned how to properly wear an accordion with a private teacher.

However, after a few months, I usually find the usefulness of private lessons to diminish. They become expensive, and I often spend some of the time chatting with my teacher, practicing what I should have practiced at home, and not making the progress I thought I would. When there is a breakthrough, or a nugget of wisdom, I oftentimes wish I had the lesson recorded so I could go back and practice at home.

Having said that, if there is a good accordion teacher in your area, and you have the financial resources, I would recommend giving private lessons a try.

Accountability is key when learning how to play accordion!

One thing is true, whether you are trying to learn a new language, go out for a morning jog, or learn the accordion. Being accountable is crucial in developing your new skill.

Accountability means showing up when you say you are going to show up. It means practicing or playing regularly. It means putting in your 15 minutes of accordion practice in your shared calendar.

Lots of my students have found the monthly challenges to be extremely useful, not just in developing their musicality, but in showing up every month (some have been doing the monthly challenge every month for over three years!).

If finding a real-life accountability group is difficult, I’m happy to help you find a practice partner among the Accordion Love community, just email me. I’ve also found accountability tools like Focusmate to be helpful when I need to be accountable, even if it’s to a stranger.

How long does it take to learn to play accordion?

There is no one answer to "how long will it take me to play the accordion".

I can teach you how to play and sing using your accordion's bass in just one week! And that's wonderful if that is your goal! For some players, learning to play accordion means performing sing-alongs at a retirement home. For others, it means being able to hear a song and play along to it. For you, it may mean playing with feeling. I recorded a video below discussing some general guidelines. With your Accordion Love membership, I am happy to provide you with a more exact learning plan that matches your goals.

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