Everyone can learn to play music from memory. Special innate “gifts,” and hundreds of rote repetitions are not required. The accordion is the most natural instrument to promote this ability by use of its Stradella bass organization and a few harmonic principles.
This workshop identifies types of memorization techniques and the means by which they are developed and applied.
One or more volunteers from the audience will be used to demonstrate the learning and memorization of pieces, proving that rational, knowledge-based thinking leads to rapid accomplishment.
The history of accordions is a history of the creative spirits of peoples of many cultures. It involves awareness of the values and aesthetics of cultures as represented in the music, song-texts, and artistic life of real people. On all continents of the earth, creative artistry is represented and delivered by accordion-family instruments. This music cannot be understood without knowledge of the instruments themselves, what they were created to accomplish, and the means given to the tasks. Preserving accordions, then, can be seen as a study of humanity. This is the goal and task of A World of Accordions Museum and Harrington ARTS Center.
Beginning with early accordions and concertinas (1829) and progressing chronologically to modern state-of-the-art examples, this session will sound, identify and explain the complex family known as bellowed free-reed aerophones through their major representatives: piano, button chromatic, button diatonic accordions, English, Anglo, Chemnitz concertinas, and Bandonions. Beautifully artistic historic examples as well as hybrids and rarities will be part of the display and demos. Audiences are usually astounded by the varieties and tunings, and the acquired knowledge base enhances appreciation.
Joseph Natoli will bring to you a workshop on "MIDI Orchestration Techniques" where he will demonstrate the best ways to exploit orchestrational possibilities available on MIDI devices, digital accordions, and sound modules.
Optimal orchestration techniques focus on getting the most out of any instruments available to the composer/arranger, whether the ensemble is a duo, quartet, octet, or full symphony orchestra. The goal should be to get the most interesting colors from the instruments available to you. It is no different in the electronic world of MIDI and reedless digital accordions. In this workshop, Joe will share with you some of the orchestrational tips and techniques he has learned in the 35 years he has been orchestrating with digital MIDI instrumentation, illustrated through examples of some of his own arrangements in this medium.

Joe makes his home in central Ohio with his wife JoAnn and has been a performer and advocate of the accordion since the age of seven. Joe started his studies with prominent Ohio accordion teacher, the late Mickey Bisilia of Youngstown, Ohio. Under Mickey’s tutelage, Joe won his age division in the American Accordionists’ Association national competitions each year until finally capturing its coveted Open Virtuoso national title at the age of 18 in Washington, D.C.. Later that year (1972), Joe became the AAA United States representative in the Coupe Mondiale world accordion competition held in Caracas, Venezuela, where he was chosen first runner up, missing the world title by 17 hundredths of a point. Joe also released an album for Giulietti Accordion Corporation that year under the Neofonic label entitled Accordion Masterworks presents Joseph Natoli and Richard Romiti, which includes many unique solo and duet arrangements and original compositions for the free bass accordion.
More recently, Joe was the winner in the first Roland US V-Accordion national competition (held in Los Angeles in September 2008). Joe subsequently represented Roland US in the Roland International V-Accordion competition held in Rome, Italy in Nov 2008. From January 2009 to June 2010, Joe became a product specialist, performing artist and clinician for Roland Corporation on the V-Accordion. Since Joe possesses Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music composition from the University of Toronto, he tries to use his orchestrational knowledge to exploit all the best coloristic and orchestrational possibilities on the FR7X. Joe’s arrangements traverse a diverse set of musical styles (including classical, light classical, jazz, and ethnic). Joe’s approach to the FR7X is to use the best orchestration possible to enhance the composition, often including accordion sounds, orchestral and percussion sounds, or all in combination.
Music That Makes Teaching Accordion Fun:
Popular Music Themes for the Fun Time Accordion Student. This workshop will expand the music selection as requested by students and parents. Gordon will have on display supplemental music books by Fabor and Hocke publishers. They each have many books with songs that are great for teaching the beginner and intermediate student. He will demonstrate the short-cuts in transcribing the left hand of the piano to accordion bass buttons. Gordon will also have an additional list of music titles which currently are available and sought after by teenagers.
The Klezmer Accordionist: Introduction to Klezmer Music. This medium is a useful tool in providing excellent examples for students wanting to learn improvisation, rhythm study and learning how to write a tune with a 16 measure progression. It also expands the minor scale understanding. Music of different folk songs will be handed out to participants to be used by professional teachers with their students. Examples will include folk waltz, dance, Frilack and fox trot march. This music is great for Jewish parties and students. This form of music is dear to the accordionist. Gypsy culture music going back to the 1820's along with music representations from Romania, Yugoslavia and Russia will be demonstrated.

Mirco Patarini, a well known personality in the world of accordion, not only performs as a soloist around the world, but also heads one of the largest accordion production companies in the tiny accordion manufacturing town of Castelfidardo, Italy.
With the brothers Leonardo and Luciano Menghini, he is co-owner and President of the firm “Menghini S.r.l.”, a society that develops, produces and distributes accordions with the brands “Scandalli”, “Paolo Soprani” and “Menghini”. From the beginning of 2003 his company Menghini srl joined the SEM accordion factory creating “SUONI srl” of which he also serves as President, and this group now is producing and distributing worldwide, accordions under the names Scandalli, Paolo Soprani, Menghini and Sem.
His workshop will take you on a voyage of how a masterpiece accordion is made, as well as give attendees some insight into the accordion production business as it stands today from a global perspective.
Avrum Levin began the study of the accordion when he was 8 years old. He was a student of Mr. Fred Boresi, in Des Moines, Iowa. At 18, he attended the University of Denver and studied accordion and music theory with Mr. Robert Davine, Department Chair Music Theory and Accordion instructor. Mr. Levin continues to perform and entertain in the Chicagoland area using the Roland Fr 7x midi accordion. He is married and the father of six children.
In his workshop, Mr. Levin will show how wonderfully one can interface the wireless midi accordion with an external sound module and auto arranger. He will be playing many musical styles. They include; disco, hora, Latin, rock, Jewish ethnic, broadway show tunes, and others.
He will also be using midi free bass playing Scarlatti and Handel. Mr. Levin hopes that the workshop be very entertaining and that the audience has a good time.
The Winner of Lithuania’s got Talent 2010 and numerous other competitions of different musical genres, Martynas will present an open conversation about building the career as a young musician, outlining the most important tools used in the modern society.
The talk will include musical examples of how to use innovative ideas through the media and attract wider audiences. The workshop will also reveal the importance of making the connection with your audience while still educating them and enhancing their musical taste.
Martynas is currently studying his 4th year at the Royal Academy of Music in London under the direction of Prof. Owen Murray. He also had a number of masterclasses with internationally recognized teachers, including prof. Friedrich Lips (Russia), prof. Matti Rantanen (Finland), Claudio Jacomucci (Italy), doc. Raimondas Sviackevicius (Lithuania), Frederic Deschamps (France) and others. Martynas has recently gained a license of professional music teaching specialized in accordion after accomplishing the LRAM course in Royal Academy of Music in London, UK.
John Simkus

John SimkusJohn Simkus is a well known Chicago accordionist who has lived here all his life.  Working with several groups he has performed at hotels and clubs throughout the city and near suburban area.
John served ten years as President of the Chicago Accordion Club and has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) and the American Accordionists Association (AAA).
Bring your accordion and let us begin improvising! Starting with the twelve bar blues, tips will be given on improvising as well as comping with other accordionists.
This will be a hands on workshop.


Nick Ballarini

Nick BallariniNick Ballarini will present a workshp 'Survival For Accordion Teachers' with his overview of how to survive in 21st Century in the accordion teaching business. His workshops will give ideas and touch bases on the following topics:

  • Where to get students
  • Group lessons
  • New markets?
  • What is working for some teachers
  • Teaching Studios/multiple locations.

All are invited to attend.


Donna Dee RayDonna Dee (Anderson) Ray will present a workshop titled: Teach Advanced Music Skills and Concepts to Young Students Through "Discovery-Learning".
In this workshop, Donna Dee will share alternative pedagogical ways to teach some advanced music skills and concepts to young students.  Very young children can learn to read, perform, and create rhythms in varied meters through the use of manipulatives and flash cards.  Through movement activities, children can feel a sense of "phrasing" which is  critical to proper use of bellows!!!  Beyond our efforts to generate young accordion students, we must also strive to KEEP them.  The uppermost goal for every teacher should be to teach to the individual student by any means that will enhance the opportunity for success.  Not all students, whether adults or children, learn at the same rate or learn similar tasks in the same way.  Donna encourages everyone to come to her workshop with an open mind and be ready to have fun learning to teach higher order skills through elementary means. 
Donna Dee (Anderson) Ray began taking accordion lessons at age six from Joan Cochran Sommers.  At age fifteen she became concert mistress of the fifty-member Accordion Orchestra at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music.  She won the American Accordionists Association Virtuoso Championship at age seventeen.  The following year, upon high school graduation, Donna Dee began touring with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians playing Cordovox as an orchestra member and featured soloist.  During her five-year stint, she met her husband, Dennis Ray, who was a singer with the group.  They discontinued touring to start their family.  Later, Donna Dee and Dennis formed a musical duo.  They also performed many years with their three children.  When The Ray Family children grew up, Donna Dee transitioned into becoming an elementary school music teacher continuing her joy of teaching music to children. 
Mrs. Ray recently retired from a twenty-eight year teaching career.  In addition to music classroom teaching, she directed outstanding extra-curricular performance groups at her school to include Chorus, Chime Choir and Orff ensembles.  She has often been a guest clinician/director for All-County groups in her county and other counties around the state of Florida.  Donna Dee earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Central Florida.  In 2002, she earned National Board Certification, the first year it opened to music teachers.  She has earned Levels I, II, and III certifications in Orff pedagogy which is an approach that uses "process-teaching", incremental steps, to achieve successful performance outcomes for young music students. 

More workshops to be announced soon! Please check back.
Lisle, (Chicago) Illinois
July 17-21, 2013

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