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At the heart of English folk


An instrument whose popularity transcends the folk world and is commonly found playing in many different musical disciplines from Jazz to Classical, although its popularity within the folk culture is probably unrivalled. Of European descent, its current design was created around the 1860’s and has spread world-wide adopting local musical styles due to its flexibility. This course aims to show the range of techniques through tunes and musical arrangements with the emphasis on the English tradition. 

This course aims to show the range of techniques through tunes and musical arrangements with the emphasis on the English tradition. Classes will be taught using music therefore the ability to read ‘the dots’ is important. This will leave more time to explore different rhythms and harmonies rather than teaching melodies. The accordion has gained a reputation for being loud and unsubtle, these courses are aimed at changing this preconception.

Accordion classes

Accordion Level 1 (Beginners)
Knowledge of the piano keyboard is useful but how to master the chords and bellows of this wonderful instrument will become apparent as the course unfolds. Tunes will be taught initially by ear, but simple sight-reading skills will be explained during the course. Expect to be able to play at least two tunes with simple accompaniments (major and minor chords) by the end of the first term.

Accordion Level 2 (Improvers)
Students on this course will already be expected to play melodies with simple accompaniments. This course will concentrate on how to enhance tunes using the counter bass rows and by using more complex harmonies.  Different styles of accompaniment will also be introduced. 

Accordion Level 3-4 (Intermediate)
Good music reading skills are advantageous at this level as the tunes are more complex. Exploring different methods to enhance, vary and develop melodies is the central part of this course. 


Pre-entry level requirements

Level 1
Knowledge of the piano keyboard is useful although you do not necessarily need to have played accordion before. This class is suitable for complete beginners.

Level 2
Some previous experience of playing the accordion is essential. Students are required to read music for this class.

Level 3-4
Students should have a good knowledge of the layout of the left hand and be able to play both hands together fluently. Students are required to read music for this class.

Who leads the course?

The accordion classes are taught by Paul Hutchinson.

Paul has a unique style of accordion playing inspired by church organs, violins, uillean pipes and melodeons. He is an experienced workshop leader and as well as being a resident tutor at Cecil Sharp House, he also teaches at Marlborough College, Benslow Music Centre, Folkworks Summer Schools and Halsway Manor. His compositions have seeped into the Belshazzar’s Feast set and his new duo with jazz clarinettist Karen Wimhurst has just recorded an album of his music which is scheduled for release this October.

Paul is one half of the renowned duo Belshazzar’s Feast, nominated for the 2010 BBC folk awards.  As a dance musician, Paul works with The Playford Liberation Front and is a regular visitor to the United States to teach and perform.


How can I take part?

Bookings are now closed


For any queries, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 020 7241 8953 


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More Information

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