Watch the video above to learn how Accordion Life will help you learn the accordion.
Piano Accordion Lessons for you to:
♦ Understand how to play the bass buttons with good technique.
♦ Develop good bellow control (the most important aspect of the accordion)
♦ Eliminate the frustration of not know if you’re doing it right.
♦ Learn various bellow techniques including the bellow shakes and vibrato.
♦ Learn how to use the left arm to produce quality sound.
♦ Learn tips and tricks to coordinating both hands together.
♦ Have an easy step-by-step instruction on how to play the piano accordion.
If you want to learn how to play the piano accordion, save valuable time, and have clear step-by-step instructions with all materials included, you are in the right place!
Because with Accordion Life, you will:
Learn to Play the Accordion Using a Solid Step-by-Step Program
There are lots of “how-to” YouTube videos available but having an organized step-by-step program from an award-winning teacher will ensure you make progress quickly and accurately.
Learn Quickly with Accordion Life
Get a fully structured course of video lessons designed to work as a curriculum. You won’t get a mishmash of random lessons that leave out vital beginner techniques or knowledge. You won’t be confused about what to learn next.
Enjoy High-Quality and Professional Videos
You’ll see exactly how to do the technique correctly and hear the subtleties of how you should be sounding. All videos are professionally produced with multiple camera angles giving you up- close and personal viewing of what we are doing. You’ll never have to wonder what buttons or keys to press or how it is supposed to sound. We demonstrate everything! You’ll feel confident knowing you are taking the pathway that will enable you to play well.
Endorsements from the Pros!
This is the best place to learn how to play the accordion online.” – Gilbert Reyes, HOHNER USA
“Accordion Life is a fantastic website that gives a beginner all the necessary tools to play the accordion. The lessons are delivered in a clear, decisive manner.” – Grayson Masefield, World Champion Accordion Artist
– – – Here is How and Why Accordion Life Works! – – –
My name is Patricia Bartell and I am an accordion teacher, performer and international adjudicator.
Over the last 20+ years, I’ve helped hundreds of students learn to play the piano accordion and most importantly develop a passion for playing music. Our students are solid musicians who are able to express music beyond the written notes on the page. Learning the mechanics of music and the instrument is just the beginning.
Along my journey have I met many people couldn’t find a good accordion teacher in their area so they tried to learn the accordion on their own. As a result, they found that learning can be slow and frustrating if you learn the wrong way.
I developed Accordion Life so anyone could be able to play the accordion and have access to quality education (that is available 24/7). Accordion Life provides everything beginning to intermediate students needs to play the accordion. For advanced students, we offer private Skype lessons.
Patricia Bartell’s Credentials
♦ B.A. in Music Education & Accordion Performance.
♦ Successful International Award-winning Accordion Competitor & Concert Artist.
♦ USA Adjudicator for Trophee Mondial of the World Accordion Confederation.
♦ Owns, manages, and teaches at Bartell Music Academy.
♦ Performs with Tango Volcado, an Argentine Tango Quartet.
♦ President of Bartell Music Foundation (Non-Profit Organization)
Here’s What You Can Expect To Learn as a Member of Accordion Life
♦ Discover exactly how to get started correctly and if you have some experience you’ll be able to fill in any gaps in your learning and technique. This will make sure you have a solid foundation so you can advance quickly and further.
♦ Understand exactly how to play the keyboard of the accordion with good technique so you have control over every note and its sound. Piano technique and Accordion technique for the keyboard are two completely different techniques.
♦ Learn to play the bass buttons with a good sound and know which fingers to use.
♦ Build solid bellow control that will make your music sing.
♦ Skip past all the mistakes and obstacles that keep MOST beginning accordionist from advancing quickly and playing with accuracy. Rewind and repeat each video or section as often as you want, whenever you want!
Get it from students who are Accordion Life Members
“I love your teaching methods. I’m a 66-year old Polish boy who took accordion lessons when I was 6 for a year or two, then quit, which I have regretted all my life. Now, I really want to get as good as I can with the accordion. I’m really impressed with your program.” – Joe W.
Their online tutorials (and Skype capability for those not in range to take lessons) is unsurpassed. This program is in a class by itself and absolutely the best learning program I have ever seen.” – Dale Johnson
I would recommend Accordion Life to anyone with a desire to be or continue in music. No matter what level you are they can guide you through songs, technique, theory – everything comes together in a fun and easy to understand way.” – Kelly Corson
“I was fearful my age would hold me back. But it hasn’t! I feel like part of a family.” – Michelle Egan
“I am starting from scratch with level one at Accordion Life and absolutely loving it. I am getting the basics and tools I have never been taught before which is making a difference in the songs I already know how to play but never sounded quite right. The lessons are also giving me a new bit of self-confidence that has been lacking. It is fun being on the cutting edge of these online classes.” – Nan Peterson
“I am a young advanced piano player and just recently decided to pick up the accordion. Accordion Life’s method not only eased my worry about learning the accordion but has convinced me that the accordion is truly an instrument you can have fun with!” – Maya Phipps
“Accordion Life teaches you practice techniques so you’re practicing correctly, you’re not patterning your fingers incorrectly, how to interpret music, how to control the instrument, it isn’t just all about reading notes. I find Accordion Life comprehensive, sensible and professional.” – Marcia Lydiksen
“The improvement in my technical ability is rewarding, as I am playing music well beyond what I thought possible. Accordion Life has introduced me to aspects of playing the accordion that I had never considered before and I find myself learning not just how to play the “right notes,” but how to “express” the emotion and musicality of each piece.” – Diane Guffin
“I find the website really really easy to use. I’m not a computer person so it’s nice to be able to just click here, click there and find the lessons right in front of me. I have a right-hand instruction, a left-hand instruction, and what I’m supposed to be looking for. I find it informative and very very easy to follow. It’s awesome!” – Lynn Dwyer
– – – – How It Works – – – –
Everything you need, in one place.
As a member of Accordion Life, you will have access to an incredible suite of learning tools.
From technique lessons to video tutorials on a specific piece of music, you will be amazed at the amount and quality of material available to you.
To guide you through the lessons you will be using a step-by-step curriculum that is structured and goal oriented.
There are four levels (Preliminary Level, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3) that take you from complete beginner material through to intermediate lessons.
Learn on any device. Watch your video lessons on your computer, smartphone or your favorite tablet.
4 Levels for You To Progress
Accordion Life Curriculum
Click Each Tab Below to See Sample Videos of Curriculum
Preliminary Level • 10 Videos
For complete beginners: learn how the piano accordion works and how to handle it properly. This course prepares the absolute beginner with a working knowledge of accordion care.
Level 1 • 50 Videos
The Level 1 Course covers core techniques that are used in accordion playing. Techniques such as bellow rules, standard bass patterns and producing quality sound are all covered. In addition to technique, you will learn how to read music, get an introduction to music theory and musicianship.
Repertoire has been carefully selected to help you progress without frustration. You will have lessons on all of the repertoire in level one to further use your new found technique skills.
Level 2 • 62 Videos
Level 2 picks up where Level 1 left off and continues in a progressive and structured fashion. Learn to produce different articulations, bass rhythms and develop bellow control. You will find the same comprehensive approach which includes technique, repertoire, theory, and musicianship.
The repertoire continues to progress steadily in difficulty in Level 2.
Level 3 • 70 Videos
Level 3 is for the early intermediate accordionist and includes repertoire Dark Eyes, Tico Tico, Under Paris Skies, Boogie Sphere and more.
Learn the bellow shakes, a variety of rhythm patterns, bass development and other special effects.
Preliminary • 10 Videos
Level 1 • 50 Videos
Level 2 • 62 Videos
Level 3 • 70 Videos
So Here’s the Bottom Line as an Accordion Life Member
You’ll get access to the 4 Main Courses for Piano Accordion (192 videos)
A step-by-step program with videos that are professionally produced with multiple camera angles giving you up- close and detailed views.
Not only do we show you what to play and demonstrate every song, all the sheet music is available for downloading and printing so you can follow along easily with the videos.
The Study Sheet documents contain important elements from each lesson that will serve as a quick reference so you’ll easily remember the main components of each lesson.
Digital Sheet Music Player
All the sheet music inside the courses is digitized. This allows you to watch the notation and listen to the songs for the right or the left hand in slow or fast speeds. This digital player will loop a measure so you never have to wonder if you’re playing the correct rhythm or notes.
LIFETIME Access to the Accordion Life Community
Get access to the forums and social groups so you will never feel alone following your passion. You’ll have friends who understand your love for the accordion and support you. Getting encouragement and having your own “fans” cheering you on will make you feel inspired and excited to be a part of Accordion Life.
– – – – WHAT’S MY COST? – – – –
PIANO ACCORDION STUDENT MEMBERSHIP
(Less than a dollar a day)
Click Here to Sign Up!
– – – PLUS! You’ll Get These Other Special Bonuses as a Member! – – –
Bonus #1:Single Song Tutorials
In addition to the Main Courses, you’ll have access to another hundred videos that demonstrate and show you how to play many other types of songs giving you a variety of music to have in your repertoire. When you want to find and explore other music that keeps within your current playing “level” these single song tutorials will fulfill that desire to expand your repertoire.
Bonus #2:50% Discount on All Special Courses
After your first complete month with Accordion Life, you’ll get a discount code that will give you a 50% discount on all future “specialized” courses as a way of saying thank you for being part of the Accordion Life team. You’ll be the first to know when these special courses are ready. Even before they get announced to the public you’ll be the “first to know” about them. Staying ahead of the crowd and know being part of the Accordion Life team has its special perks.
Bonus #3:All Archives of Accordion Life Today (Digital Accordion Magazine)
Accordion Life Today is an educational digital accordion magazine that is full of articles of accordion history, technique, stories, music theory, sheet music and more! As a member, you will have access to all past archives.
Bonus #4:Personal Feedback from Our Teachers for 4 Weeks.
Submit any videos or questions of your playing for feedback from any of our experienced Accordion Life teachers. You will not feel alone or question if you’re on the right track because our Accordion Life teachers are on hand available to make sure the beginning of your journey is totally successful.
– – – Everything for $29/monthly – – –
Access to the 4 Main Courses (192 videos)
Sheet Music Inside All the Courses
Study Sheets with Every Lesson
Digital Sheet Music Player
LIFETIME Access to the Accordion Life Community
PLUS the AddedBonuses
Exclusive access to the Single Song Tutorials (100+ more videos)
Save 50% on Specialty Courses
Access to all past archives of the Digital Accordion Magazine: Accordion Life Today.
Personal feedback from our teachers for 4 weeks (To make sure the beginning of your journey is totally successful)
All for $29/Month
Click Here to Sign Up!
– – – – How Do I Become A Student? – – – –
(3 Easy Steps)
1. Create Your Student Membership Account
Fill out the information to create your account and get immediate access.
Get Started Here
2. Choose Your Curriculum Course (Grade) Level
Beginners: Start with the Preliminary Course and advance through the levels chronologically. Got experience? Jump to the area you need.
Get Started Here
3. Start Your Musical Journey with the Accordion
Learn how to play new songs, develop good technique and show off your new hot accordion skills.
Get Started Here
Click Here to Sign Up!
Frequently Asked Questions
What size of accordion do I need for these courses?
For Level 1 and Level 2 courses, you need at least an accordion with 48 buttons. For Level 3 course, you need at least a 72 bass accordion.
How much does it cost?
An Accordion Life Student membership is $29 per month. You can cancel anytime.
The same day you sign up and pay $29 will be the same day your membership will renew each month until you cancel.
What if I already have experience? Will this program work for me?
Yes! Many of our members find that even with experience they learn so many valuable lessons inside Accordion Life that they were never taught. Some will skip to Level 2 or 3 to start and some will watch through Level 1 just to make sure they have their foundation strong.
You can always jump to Level 3 Course if you find the songs too easy for where you are.
When you want more advanced technique and lessons – we offer private Skype lessons.
Are there any sample videos I can watch before I become a member?
Sample Video from the Preliminary Level
Sample Video from Level 1
Sample Video from Level 2
Sample Video from Level 3
Can I cancel my membership anytime?
Yes! You can cancel anytime. Your membership is only month to month.
What if Level 1 is too easy? Can I skip to Level 2 or 3?
Yes! If you find level 1 too easy you can start with Level 2 or begin in the middle of Level 2 or move to Level 3.
After I complete Level 3, am I ready for private Skype lessons with you?
You can do Skype lessons with us anytime regardless of what Level you are currently taking on Accordion Life. When you take Skype lessons with us, you will have still have access to all the courses.
I have a Roland FR 1X. Can I use it to learn from the course?
Yes! You can use a digital accordion or an acoustic accordion – as long as it has at least 48 bass buttons.
Click Here to Sign Up!
Need Help Signing Up or Have Questions?
If you have any questions or concerns about the course please contact us.
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How to Play the Accordion
In this Article: Article Summary Getting To Know Your Accordion Holding Your Accordion Playing Your Accordion Community Q&A 10 References
You might think that playing the accordion requires extensive knowledge of musical notation. But guess what? It actually doesn’t. So if you’re a beginner, and would like to find out more about how to play the accordion, read on to find out helpful tips.
Getting To Know Your Accordion
Get the right kind of accordion. There are variety of different accordions out there, but some are more well-suited for beginners than others. The more information you gather the better equipped you will be to successfully learn to play the accordion. Here is the most suitable option for beginners  :
Piano Accordions. These are the most popular kinds, with the power of a regular piano in a highly portable size. They have between 25 and 45 piano style treble keys on the right hand. On the left, they are equipped with a bass-chord keyboard. This accordion system is called the stradella, and typically has 120 brass buttons.
Familiarize yourself with the instrument’s structure. Your accordion is composed of several parts, all crucial to the accordion’s sounds  :
Melody Keys. These are buttons on the keyboard part of the instrument.
Bellows. These are the folds on the instrument that allow it to expand and contract.
Harmonic, Base, Air Valve. These buttons provide air to escape, adjusting the tone of sound.
Right Hand Strap. This is the main strap of the instrument that allows you to secure it onto your chest.
Use the right size. Children and teens or adults will need to start off with different sizes due to the difference in hand and general body size  .
Children should start with the lowest number of bass buttons, 12 bass and 25 treble keys.
Teens and adults should start with a 48 bass accordion. This amounts to 48 bass and 26 treble keys.
The 48 bass Piano Accordion is very light weight, and easy to use and handle. Plus, you can play lots of different music on it, which will make you want to hang on to it even if you outgrow it.
Place your accordion on your chest with the key buttons facing away from you. When you begin handling your instrument in the next section of the article, your left arm will move horizontally and vertically, while your right hand will only move vertically. For now, just hold it and see how comfortable or uncomfortable it is.
Score 0 / 0
Part 1 Quiz
How should a beginner accordion player choose their instrument?
Holding Your Accordion
Sit or stand while holding your accordion. Some people prefer to stand while playing and others like to sit with their instrument. All that matters is your sense of comfort and confidence, so try out a few different positions until you feel at ease.
Don’t slouch. Your body posture is very important when playing this instrument and slouching will cause you to be inaccurate in your balance and consequently in your performance.
Learn proper balance. The accordion is relatively large and requires a little bit of familiarity when holding it. Being able to maintain proper balance is crucial. The more evenly balanced you manage to keep the accordion’s weight, the better you’ll be able to play because of the added control. And the more control you have, the less uncomfortable the weight will feel.
Secure the instrument onto your chest. Slip your left arm under the strap of the instrument. You’ll want to hold it as if you were putting on a backpack on your chest. The piano keys should be to your right and your left hand goes underneath the bass strap – the small strap on the left side of the instrument  .
Note that there is usually a thumb wheel on the left side to adjust the strap.
Make sure that your accordion fits tightly enough not to move at all while you move.
Try a back strap. An additional strap can be very useful. The back strap keeps the shoulder straps together so that the accordion doesn’t move.
Note that if the back strap is too far down it alleviates weight from the shoulders, making the straps loose on top. This, in turn, causes your straps to move and slide.
Keep the back strap higher up, or secure it diagonally.
Remember that when the straps stay in place, so does your instrument.
Undo the safety buckles. The buckles can be found on the top and bottom of the instrument. Take care not to push or pull the accordion yet.
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Part 2 Quiz
Why is it important for musicians to maintain proper balance while playing their instruments?
Playing Your Accordion
Hold your wrist parallel to the keyboard. Don’t bend your right wrist while keeping your elbow close to your side. It’ll be a bit awkward at the beginning but you’ll be able to achieve better accuracy as your hand’s circulation won’t be impeded.
This applies the right arm only.
Slip your left hand through the strap that lies below the bass button board.You’ll be able to curl your fingers up and over the bass buttons. You right hand should be free and resting above the piano keyboard.
Push down on the lone button on the left hand side near the strap. Press the button down softly, and pull your instrument with your left arm. You’ll hear a hissing noise as the air goes into the accordion and the bellows open.
Note that it’s important to use this button when you open and close the bellows while they’re moving.
Don’t press down on the keyboard while you’re opening and closing the bellows.
Focus on playing bass first. No matter how many bass buttons your accordion has, you’ll soon notice that they produce the chords, or vamps, automatically. This is due to the accordion’s mechanism  .
The term chord refers to the sound produced by a group of notes played together.
Keep the bass buttons pressed for only a short time. Imagine they were on fire, and take your finger off quickly.
Try not to look at where your fingers are going. This will be quite difficult at first, but do your best not to look at where your fingers go, or need to go  .
Find the note C. This button is usually a bit buried or recessed, but can be found on the top rows of buttons 8,12, 16, 24, 36 of all bass instruments. If your accordion is a larger model, then look for the note C in the second row.
Don’t focus on the piano keyboard yet. For now, your only concern should be getting comfortable with your instrument, and focusing on the first two rows of bass buttons  .
Regardless of how many bass rows your accordion has, you’ll only be looking at the first two rows.
Place your index finger on the C note. Then, tuck your thumb under your index finger and push on the button right below the note C. This button will be slightly off center, but right below the button that your index finger is pressing.
Pull the bellows out. Then, press the two buttons alternately to produce a chord. You’ll generate a sort of of oom-pah sound.
Try to pull the bellows smoothly for the best sound effect.
Attempt a Waltz rhythm. The beat for the Waltz goes 1, 2, 3–1, 2, 3. Play the C note on the first beat, and push the button right below the C on the second and third beat  .
Play the corresponding two buttons on each side of the two you’ve just learned to play. This is how you can generate a simply accompaniment, or vamp.
Add the bellows. Now try to pull the bellows in as you alternately press the four buttons you just learned. Repeat this several times to practice.
Practice with little exercises. Let’s try another easy scale exercise that will help you produce your first, controlled sound sequence  :
Expand the instrument’s bellows.
Softly and evenly push it back together, and hold the 1st key down.
Keep pressing the note key while you change directions by pulling the instrument in opposite directions.
Go to the next key, push in and pull apart.
Jump to the next key, and you have now played Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La.
Try a more difficult exercise. This exercise has two chords, and you can leave your fingers on the keyboard. Place your thumb on the C, and pinky on the G: begin with the third finger on the E  .
Continue practicing. Coordination might seem a little difficult at first, so it’s important that you become very familiar with the necessary movements. Repeat the above exercise until you feel confident and can move on to more advanced practices.
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Part 3 Quiz
How would you play Do Re Mi Fa So La on the accordion?
Add New Question
How do I maintain my accordion?
Keep it in a cool place and never, never in sunlight or near high heat sources. There is a waxy substance for every key stop internally. Always keep it in its case when not in use.
Not Helpful 1 Helpful 15
How do you play the accordion?
Read the article and practice on your own.
Not Helpful 10 Helpful 24
How can I tell if my accordion is tuned correctly?
Several places online will play a specific note to aid in tuning; match the note played with that on your accordion.
Not Helpful 6 Helpful 13
As a 12 year old, should I get a button or piano accordion?
It really depends on your height and what feels right. Also, if you think you are a bit better than normal or gifted probably a keyboard accordion, but if you are new, a12 a button would be better as it is supposed to be easier.
Not Helpful 0 Helpful 2
How do I tell which buttons are which on an accordion?
In a piano accordion, the bass buttons are organised according to the circle of fifths – so for example, the button above C is G (a fifth higher), and the next one is D (another fifth higher). The button below C is F (a fifth lower). On each horizontal row, you have several different variations of the same chord (except for the first column). For example, on the C row, the second button is a plain C note, the third is a major C chord, the fourth is a minor C chord, the fifth is a dominant 7 C chord, and the sixth is a diminished 7 C chord. It goes this way for all rows.
Not Helpful 1 Helpful 3
Where can I get information on how to play the concertina?
There is some helpful information here , and you might also check YouTube for instructional videos.
Not Helpful 4 Helpful 4
How do I clean the bellows?
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Never push or pull on an accordion unless a key or the bellow-release button (a button at the top of the bass side of the accordion, where the hand strap is, that allows you to move the accordion without making sound) is pressed – this could damage the reeds making the accordion sound out of tune.
Always keep your accordion stored upright, whether it’s in a case or not.
Keep it in moderate temperatures.
There is wax in the accordion, therefore it can crack if it’s too cold and melt if it’s too hot.
Don’t keep it in the car, since the temperature can easily be boiling hot or freezing cold.
If you want to learn to play the accordion, hold the instrument against your chest with the key buttons facing away from you. Then, slip your left arm under the strap on the accordion. When you’re playing, you’ll press the piano keys, which produce the melody, with your right hand, and you’ll press the bass buttons, which produce chords, with your left hand. You’ll also use your left hand to open and close the bellows, or the folded part. This forces air in and out of the instrument, which produces its signature sound.
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In other languages:
Español: tocar acordeón , Italiano: Suonare la Fisarmonica , Português: Tocar Acordeão , Русский: играть на аккордеоне , Français: jouer de l’accordéon , Bahasa Indonesia: Bermain Akordeon , Deutsch: Akkordeon spielen
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Aug 31, 2016
“Your review was exactly what I needed. It shows pictures, has the beginning basics with short exercises and tells you to start learning the bass parts first. My blind son wants to learn how to play the accordion, and your information helped me to get him accustomed to the basics. Thank you.”…” more
Apr 7, 2017
“I took accordion lessons for 10 years, and have been playing the accordion for a very long time. I was just curious to see any difference you suggested from how I was taught. It’s a good lesson for teaching one how to play the accordion. Good job!”…” more
Dec 21, 2017
“It is very interesting and informative. An interest will come to the reader to learn and practice it when he/she reads this. A fantastic illustrative definition about a versatile and most difficult instrument. My personal compliments to the author.”…” more
Jul 7, 2017
“This article was incredible! I had recently acquired my 12 bass accordion and could only basically figure out the keys thanks for your help! Now my band and I are killing it!”…” more
Jun 6, 2016
“It helped "blow the mist away" and feel like it’s something I really can achieve. It’s brilliant because it literally starts from the very beginning. Thank you!!”…” more
Jun 6, 2016
“Accordions look very intimidating. Having an easy to read article – and pictures – helped quite a bit to teach about the basics. Thank you!”…” more
Sep 9, 2016
“This article about accordions will go a long way to help the beginners/starters of this versatile instrument. It is very useful indeed.”…” more
May 31, 2016
“Very helpful. I have not held an accordion for over 30 years or played for that long, so this was a helpful reminder of the start.”…” more
Aug 9, 2017
“The accordion has always been a mystery to me and this article has penetrated it so I feel a little more knowledgeable.”…” more
Rated this article:
Jul 19, 2016
“Excellent, since I am a beginner. It was very useful for me to know exactly how it has to be done.”
Aug 28, 2016
“Really useful. I have just been given a piano accordion and found this a useful introduction.”
Aug 31, 2017
“I already play piano but was lost with buttons on accordion. I can now find them.”
Oct 23, 2017
“It really helped because it was hard to play, but now is easy.”
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Feb 1, 2017
“Very educational. God bless you.”
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