Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's Going on Here?

This is a bit of an experiment. I have been thinking for awhile about how much I enjoy teaching the accordion, and that I would love to be able to help more people learn. I often hear that people can't find a teacher in their area. This blog is a first step in trying to make contact with those of you who want some help with basic questions and points of technique, or those who might like some tuition on a more regular basis, perhaps by sending me some video of themselves playing and getting help that way.

I also hope to offer some instructional material soon, as I have always used lessons and exercises that I have developed myself anyway; but rather than jump in with what I think you should learn, I hope this blog will help me get a feel for what potential students are looking for.

I will try to write regularly, basing my entries on the day to day progress and challenges that arise as I teach my local pupils. I hope that this will encourage my readers here to comment and ask questions. If you have a question about accordion playing, or would like information about trying some distance learning with me, feel free to leave a comment here, or email me if you prefer.



Chris said...

This is a great idea, Kris. I'm looking forward to your entries!

Kris Hughes said...

Thanks, Chris! Do check back in again.


Brad said...

I also look forward to future entries.
I took up keyboard accordion about 4 years ago, after 40 years on piano and 20 years of fiddle. I felt I reached my limit of what I could do on fiddle, so when I took up the accordion it almost felt like I was cheating. I already have a lot of the tunes in my head and the technique was there for my right hand, I felt like I had found my instrument (maybe 25 years late).
I play a lot of contradance tunes, balkan, waltzes but I find myself returning to the Irish tunes.
Do you have any recommendations for a good session accordion. I'm going in the direction of a smaller instrument. Those 120 button jobs are so huge and intimidating. I'd love to find a 34 key instrument that had the sweet powerful tone of a good Irish button box. Is there something like that out there?

Kris Hughes said...

Hi Brad

It's amazing how much easier it is to learn your 2nd or 3rd instrument than your first. Especially if there is overlapping repertoire.

I have an old Hohner Arietta 2 voice/34 key that I think works really well for Irish stuff. (Don't ask me what era, they made Ariettas for quite a few years...). It's had quite a lot of work done on it - including a set of Italian reeds about 15 years ago. It's very light, the wood part of the shell is relatively thin, and probably not that hard a variety of timber. I think this gives it a livelier, louder, more "open" sound. And it has those loud Hohner basses like you find on the old button boxes. Don't think much of these for Scottish music, but when I use them (sparingly!) in Irish stuff they sound good to me.

I know there are a few smaller quality piano accordions on the market now aimed at the Irish/folkie market, but I haven't played any of them. I'm afraid that once I found instruments I was happy with I sort of stopped shopping.

My other box, which I use for the Scottish stuff, is a Borsini 5 voice (no cassotto). In case anybody is wondering, I am not a fan of midi.


Angie said...

Well, I would certainly be happy to pay for some good exercises. This seems to be an area where new players (like me) fear to tread, but in my experience with other instruments, nothing pushes you along faster with technique.

I most definitely suffer from being ham-handed!

Angie in Texas, US

Kris Hughes said...

Angie - if you would like some help feel free to email me!