• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

20 best accordion book reviews 2020 (Best books to learn accordion)

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
I would like to share with you this interesting website 20 Best Accordion Book Reviews 2020 (Best Books to Learn Accordion) - CMUSE & also to ask advice which you would recommend as my next step of study.

I have completed Accordion Course Melodic Adventure in Bass Land & am currently half way into The Mighty Accordion,​

My focus is to gain understanding & knowledge rather than just to throw out a tune.

Although I have passed grade five accordion exams I have been stuck on book 4 of the Palmer Hughes book for ever; to me the books are somewhat tedious, so progress is slow.

What do you think, where should I go from here?
 

Tom

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
199
Location
USA
Hi Happy girl, thanks for sharing this list!

I think it depends entirely on your goals as a musician. Without knowing that, it is difficult to recommend further music for you. Even though you have stated that you desire to develop understanding and knowledge, what does this mean? Jazz, traditional, techniques used internationally?

Do you want to just play by yourself at home? With other musician? Busk? Play at restaurants and bars? At volunteer service gigs? Become a virtuouso or youtube influencer?

Perhaps you want to forget about sheet music and learn new songs by ear? Invent your own?

I suspect that you already have a good foundation, and I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you study transcriptions of musicians you admire rather than seek another method book. For example Frank Marocco or Clifton Chenier, etc. depending on your musical tastes. This will also enhace your understanding of advanced techniques of well seasoned players.

Good luck!!!!!
 

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
Hi Happy girl, thanks for sharing this list!

I think it depends entirely on your goals as a musician. Without knowing that, it is difficult to recommend further music for you. Even though you have stated that you desire to develop understanding and knowledge, what does this mean? Jazz, traditional, techniques used internationally?

Do you want to just play by yourself at home? With other musician? Busk? Play at restaurants and bars? At volunteer service gigs? Become a virtuouso or youtube influencer?

Perhaps you want to forget about sheet music and learn new songs by ear? Invent your own?

I suspect that you already have a good foundation, and I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you study transcriptions of musicians you admire rather than seek another method book. For example Frank Marocco or Clifton Chenier, etc. depending on your musical tastes. This will also enhace your understanding of advanced techniques of well seasoned players.

Good luck!!!!!
 

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
Hello Tom,
Thanks for your post. You are quite right: How to give advice without knowledge of the person?

Well, I am well into my 70’s & aspire to stay mentally active by studying this fascinating instrument, so, instead of doing cross-words & the like, I engage in puzzling out this fascinating instrument.
:)
My study is an exercise for the brain.; ........Weird or what? Maybe I should get out more... but this is a time when one needs to to be in isolation..........
 

JeffJetton

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
763
Reaction score
123
What do you think, where should I go from here?

Well you know I'm big fan of focusing on how I practice. That might be a way to get "unstuck" from Palmer-Hughes Book 4. Take stock of where your trouble spots are and how you're addressing them. See if anything in that approach needs to be refined or changed.

Of if it's more a matter of just being sick of the songs in there, you could just jump ahead to book 5 (or higher) and see if anything there sparks your fancy. The first three books are fairly "linear", building on the foundation of what came before. But I feel like from 4 onward, you can skip and jump around a bit more. It's mostly just harder pieces in new keys.

Some other avenues you might want to explore:
  • Music theory: Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" will keep you busy for awhile! While it is (obviously) jazz-focused, the basics of theory are universal.
  • Improving your ears: If you're not already picking out songs "by ear", you should be. Start simple if you're new at it. Doesn't necessarily mean that you listen to a song once and instantly know how to play it, merely that you learn it from a recording rather than the printed page, by hunt-and-peck/trial-and-error if need be.
  • Notation: If you've only read notation and never written it, you might be surprised at what goes into it. I first learned the old-fashioned way, with staff paper, a pencil, and a straightedge. Nowadays, of course, there's software for it. MuseScore is free and there are great YouTube tutorials to get you started with it.
  • Memorization: Pick a favorite song you've learned from Palmer-Hughes or elsewhere and work on playing it without having the notes in front of you. Keeping adding new songs until you've got a nice collection of memorized pieces. I call these "Bust Outs" because they're things you can just "bust out" whenever an occasion for playing arises. :)

What's interesting is that all four of these areas can overlap and reinforce each other. The music theory helps you pick out songs by ear, since it cuts down the possibilities of the next note or chord from "could be anything" to "probably one of these few options". Then, once you learn the song by ear, you can notate it so you can remember it later. And all of it helps with memorization.
 

knobby

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
633
Reaction score
125
Location
Derbyshire, UK
Have you considered something like this:


I'm part way through volume 1 and enjoying it more than any of the other tutor books I've tried. Much more modern and none of the awful crusty tunes you usually find in these kind of books.
 

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
Hello Tom

Thanks for your response, you are right; how can one possibly give advice without knowing a persons' goal.

As I am in my mid 70's expectations & aspirations musically are not paramount. Learning helps to keep ones brain active & in good nick.

The accordion is an endless source of fascination to me: it is quite a challenging feat to master & co-ordinate all the aspects, especially remembering the geography of those buttons !!

Making sense of it all is no easy feat so it is useful to have guidance from a good tutor book. :)
 

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
Thank you Jeff & Knobby for your replies, I hadn't seen those before my response to Tom.

I have plenty of food for thought now, so I will be giving it some.... Cheers.(y)
 

Tom

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
199
Location
USA
Good luck to you hapoy girl! I think since you are such an adventurous young woman, you will find lots to keep your mind in shape with these ideas from knobby and Jeff (well said!!).

Personally I would advise you to think about performance as this is one of the most challenging areas I can think of for your brain. It involves memory and retention, putting yourself into your music making and, best of all, communication. Of course, with covid it's difficult, but there is always youtube until it's possible to get out there.

Pick a bunch of songs you like to play snd make a repertoire!
 

Happy girl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
300
Reaction score
8
Thank you, I have printed out replies so they can be better remembered & I am very excited about the prospect of new avenues.

I have been thinking, (only thinking!) about exploring playing by ear, & may soon be ready for that adventure..

In my last post I explained that currently I am practicing without sound because, until mid March, I am unable to hold my heavy beast of accordion due to shoulder surgery. This interim time is proving to be enlightening for me as there is much I can do in the meanwhile getting to grips with other aspects, such as theory etc, which would probably have been tedious & overlooked in an impatient 'attempt to get on with playing'. This enforced time-frame is turning out to be a blessing in disguise.

Knobby recommended Play accordion Vol 2 , although it is appealing, my hesitation is that this is a volume for advanced players & would probably do my head in, my reading & co-ordination is no way near that sort of standard yet. (Any thoughts about that?)
 

dunlustin

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
76
Location
S W England
I don't think I have ever come across a book where I learnt nothing. How about Play Accordion Vol 1?
And just a thought - How many of the tunes you do play can you play from memory?
I find that definitely exercises another part of the brain.
Can you look at the sheet of a tune you play and sing/hum/whistle/hear it in your head?
During recovery this could be helpful especially if you have recordings of the tunes to help when you get stuck.
 

knobby

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
633
Reaction score
125
Location
Derbyshire, UK
Knobby recommended Play accordion Vol 2 , although it is appealing, my hesitation is that this is a volume for advanced players & would probably do my head in, my reading & co-ordination is no way near that sort of standard yet. (Any thoughts about that?)
If you have a look at the website below it gives a couple of pages from the book and a link to play the related pieces.


That may give you a better idea of whether it may suit you. You could try Vol 1 as suggested above, but I don't know how P&H Book 4 would relate in terms of complexity.
 

Tom

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
199
Location
USA
Please, please, play some tunes that you love and make you happy, whatever they are. Maybe invest in a smaller, lighter accordion? Less voices, keys and bass? Smaller format keyboard?
 

wirralaccordion

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
442
Reaction score
43
Happy girl you said

I have completed Accordion Course Melodic Adventure in Bass Land & am currently half way into The Mighty Accordion,

I assume that Accordion Course Melodic Adventure in Bass Land uses 4.3 fingering. I say this because I bought The Mighty Accordion and found out that it was 4.3 fingering when I had already used the Palmer-Hughes series books based on 3/2 fingering. Hence to me it was a waste of money. Therefore as a rule of thumb I would say before buying any tutor books that you should always check the fingering method that the book is based on first.
 

Dingo40

Prolific poster
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
1,762
Reaction score
316
Location
South Australia
Wirralaccordion,
I too have used "Adventures in Bassland" and am pretty sure it uses 3-2 fingering, like all the Palmer-Hughes material.
 

losthobos

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
1,251
Reaction score
213
Location
Essex UK
Listen to your heart.... What melody or song that touches you..... Play it, play it again, play it again, play it slowly, play it quicker, keep your heart burning, play it in a differnt rhythm, play it in a different phrasing, keep the emotion, play with chords in the right hand, play in another octave..... Keep playing till you hate the melody
Fall in love again with another tune and begin again....

What you want isn't written in a book....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom

JeffJetton

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
763
Reaction score
123
Wirralaccordion,
I too have used "Adventures in Bassland" and am pretty sure it uses 3-2 fingering, like all the Palmer-Hughes material.

IIRC, for the basic oom-pah stuff it's 3-2, but by the end of the book you're more in "whatever finger happens to be available" mode. :)

In any case, if I come across a good book that happens to use a different fingering than I do... I just ignore the book and do my own fingering. Most of the usefulness of "AIB" and "TMA" is in the notes and patterns they're having you work on anyway, regardless of what finger you plop down to execute them.

Heck, it's not uncommon for some people, due to hand size and/or flexibility differences, to wind up having to alter some fingerings here and there even when the book largely adheres to whatever fingering they've learned.

At the end of the day, all fingerings are no more than well-informed suggestions.
 

Tom

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
199
Location
USA
.....👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼what Terry said...🪗🪗🪗
 

Similar threads

Top