Content of the Improver Course Button Accordion Lessons

The learning outcomes of the Improver Course will improve all aspects of accordion playing. From a box player’s rhythm to playing comfortably in different key signatures and exploring lots of ornamentation, furthering your understanding of how to play button accordion. 



The 25+ lessons of the course will: 

  1. Increase your repertoire and range of tune types 
  2. Further work on fingering and bellows control which will enhance rhythm 
  3. Increase in ornamentation 
  4. Lessons are taught at a quicker tempo 
  5. Create your own style of playing

Lesson Advantages

The Improver Course lessons have controls to suit you. Every lesson shows a clear view of the melody hand. Additionally each video can be decreased and increased in pace, repeated an infinite number of times, and looped to ensure the user has every teaching point before moving on. There are elements of the beginner course which will be useful to revisit so once a person has subscribed to the course, they have free reign of the whole site. One can go over and back between all the courses if they wish. 

Course Content of the Improver Button Accordion Lessons

Lessons 1 – 5

Title: Tuareen Derby Polka

Lesson 1 on the Improver Course teaches the user the Derby Polka which is an addition to the collection of polkas gained by the user already. The lesson is straight forward in nature to further build on previous skills gained. The entry level for the Improver Course.

Title: John Walsh’s Polka

Lesson 2 is further additions to the polka repertoire and moreover to gain further confidence in correct polka playing. User of the a higher note to use for grace notes is taught and explained.

Title: Sweet Marie

Lesson 3 now ups the difficulty level due to the longer part in the second part of the tune. The tune requires more control of the user’s bellows which facilitates a nicer way of playing the tune, the student also requires the skills of good bellows control on the push, highlighting the air button use.

Title: The Cat Rambles to the Child’s Saucepan

Repertoire building is a core value of the site. For this lesson number 4, this slide is a further example of this. Outside row use comes into focus here and the correct method to play a slide rhythm is highlighted.

Title: 223 Triplets

Lesson 5 revises an ornament which the user will have visited from the Starter Course already. The user will have to pay attention to this lesson to stay with the pace of the further lessons and ensuring competence in this ornamentation skill.

Lessons 6 – 9

Title: 343 Triplets

Lesson 6 teaches another ornamentation skill. Lesson 6 is an addition to 223 triplets and grace notes. A lesson focused on ornamentation. Use of the 4th finger is common throughout the course so increasing the amount of time one spends on using the 4th finger is necessary and keeps a lot of options open for an accordion player.

Title: Leitrim Jig

Lesson 7 increases the difficulty level considerably. Incorporating triplets learned so far along with grace notes and also using outside row notes at an advantage. Lesson 7 moves the learner towards the end of the first level on the Improver Course.

Title: Morrison’s Jig

Lesson 8 builds on the learning content taught so far whilst offering note choice for the learner. There is an alternative ending to the tune provided.

Title: Spotted Dog

Lesson 9 concludes the first stage of the Improver Course. The tune is difficult resulting in ornamentation decreased. The tune is in A major which makes the learner use different button and bellows skills thus creating a different feel for the tune. Playing in A major on the BC accordion demands different skills of the accordion player.

Lessons 10 – 15

Title: Beautiful Goldfinch

Lesson 10 begins with the first phase of the secondary level of the Improver Course. Long tunes build musical skills in addition to the ones the user has already. With the addition of a waltz to the site, a student’s repertoire type has been diversified.

Title: Cooley’s Reel

Lesson 11 teaches a student a tune which should be in everyone’s repertoire and therefore it is placed at this stage of the Improver Course. A tune in E minor can make the accordion player play on the “push” which is good exposure for anyone using this course. Use of the 232 triplet here as well.

Title: Rolls Tutorial

Lesson 12 teaches 5 note rolls especially focusing on the second finger. Rolls add heaps of colour to tunes but requires a lot of attention and patience to master.

Title: Galway Rambler

Lesson 13 builds on the student’s repertoire even further. A student will put their rolls into practise in the setting of a tune. This is a very common reel in the traditional music landscape and one which all musicians of traditional Irish music should have.

Title: Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé’s

Lesson 14 will add to the single jig collection. Previous skills are implemented resulting in the user’s comfort levels increasing due to repetition of use. The student will need to spend time at this tune as the tune setting is requiring the learner to have competence in all skills taught to this point.

Title: Off to California

Lesson 15 is a lovely hornpipe. The Improver Course has a focus on teaching the student tunes which should be in everyone’s memory vault. Triplets which use the inside to outside row are taught which is a new skill for the student. Completing the secondary level of the Improver Course.

Lessons 16 – 21

Title: The Shoemaker’s Fancy

Lesson 16 is the first lesson at the tertiary level of the Improver Course. The tune changes key and is a lesser known tune in the traditional music community. Ample opportunities to work on the skills which have been worked on to this point. The student will have to pay attention to the finger technique as this facilitates good traits like rhythm.

Title: The Sally Gardens

Lesson 17 is taught with The Sally Gardens which is a common tune. This reel is again a staple tune that everyone should have in their playing capabilities. Triplets, grace notes and teaching of alternative note use are all inherent in the lesson.

Title: Jack Coughlan’s

Lesson 18 allows the user to see common patterns in tunes, opportunities for implanting ornamentation and adding colour to tunes. As the course progresses the student will begin to see that they are using all learning content taught to this point being put to use.

Title: New Mown Meadow

Lesson 19 uses a tune which requires more skill caused by the key change of the second half. Bellows use is important to ensure a high level of playing when performing this tune. One may recognise this tune as the tune played at the “Oireachtas” sean nós dancing competition which would air in Ireland on TG4.

Title: Silver Spear

Lesson 20 uses a very common tune among traditional irish musicians. There is a lot happening in the setting of the tune so a student needs to ensure they are very comfortable with all previous lessons up to this point.

Title: The Pipe on the Hob

Lesson 21’s content uses a fantastic tune due to it’s modality. The accordion is very lucky that it can borrow skills like the uileann pipes. This is a big “piping” tune but moves well for the accordion.

Lessons 22 – 25

Title: Hanley’s

Lesson 22 is a reel in the key of C major. Again playing this tune to dance speed requires the student to be very comfortable and thoughtful in their bellows approach. Focus is turned to one row. The learner must be comfortable in skills taught previously.

Title: Chief O’Neill’s

Lesson 23 teaches a hornpipe. Due to the rhythmical difference hornpipes have, while trying to incorporate additional colour to the tune, make this quite complex for the user to learn.

Title: Pinch of Snuff

Lesson 24 increases the difficulty level. This will require time to learn adequately.

Title: Old Man Dillon

Lesson 25 is the last lesson of the highest level on the Improver Course.



Upon Completion

By the time you finish the course, you will be ready to progress onto the advanced course. The improver course is quite demanding in terms of ability levels that are expected of the user. However the initial levels of the course are easier and the focus is on playing tunes in different keys, improving your rhythm, improving your bellows control. These early lessons teach the tunes and teaching points at a quicker pace than the beginner course. 

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I look forward to welcoming you to the course.