Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherlands

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maugein96
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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by maugein96 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:58 pm

Paul,

I'm 63 and went to school between 1958 and 1969, during which I did approximately two years musical study on the trumpet. This was classed as an extra curricular activity, and had to be undertaken in my own time at a school that was near to my own, but was a fair distance to walk. Basically, any kid who wanted to learn a musical instrument could receive free tuition, so long as it did not interfere with their core school studies! Music as a subject was not possible for me due to the type of academic courses that were selected for me by my teachers. It was more important that I could read and write in Latin than it was for me to learn music. Latin occasionally comes in handy when trying to work out the more unusual English words, but I discovered that not even the "Romans" who came to Britain spoke much Latin. They were mainly Batavian soldiers from your neck of the woods, as Scotland was probably too cold for real Romans!

The musical instruments available for the extra curricular studies I mentioned were confined to those played by the school orchestra! No accordions, guitars, pianos, xylophones, or any other "exotic" instruments. Half way through the second year of my trumpet studies one of the welds holding all of the tubing together broke, and the school refused to repair it on the basis that I had not yet applied to join the school orchestra. To cut a long story short I told them to stick the trumpet where the sun doesn't shine, and so ended my gratis music lessons. In any case, I had been getting into trouble for playing the tunes at a swing tempo and had no real regrets.

I was in my early 30s when I started to play accordion, and chose C system CBA from the outset. I never knew there were any other systems and had to go it alone, as there were no tutors anywhere near where I lived. By the time I had reached a reasonable standard I already knew I had begun the learning process too late, and was in desperate need of association with like minded players to bring me on. CBA players in Scotland who do not play Scottish music are rarer than Eskimos in the Sahara, and it turned out that there were only two of us within a reasonable distance to share the same kayak. We used to meet up and bounce ideas off each other, but the other Eskimo was a PA convert, and it turned out neither of us was much use for helping the other.

About 20 years ago a bad hand injury almost put paid to my playing altogether, and I almost gave up completely at that stage. A couple of years ago I found the forum and got going again. Maybe I'll get back to what I was like before my accident in another 20 years or so, but until then the neighbours will just need to suffer!

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by debra » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:19 pm

maugein96 wrote:Paul,

I'm 63 and went to school between 1958 and 1969, during which I did approximately two years musical study on the trumpet. ...
The musical instruments available for the extra curricular studies I mentioned were confined to those played by the school orchestra! No accordions, guitars, pianos, xylophones, or any other "exotic" instruments. ...
Well, at your age you would not have been able to enjoy accordion lessons at a Belgian music school as the instrument was an outcast.

There was also extra curricular music offered at the grade school I went to. That too was confined by the instruments used in the school band and those were just instruments played by some of the teachers. We had the recorder, banjo, accordion and drums (only a single drum, not a drum set). I actually chose the recorder and only started playing the accordion after grade school (in the band that was conducted by the grade school teacher who taught the accordion). Many years later I became the conductor of that band and did that for about 30 years, until the band folded.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by mitchnc » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:59 pm

When I wanted to learn PA back in 2004, my Googling for teachers turned up one of my previous music professors. I took lessons from him for a Summer.
(I attended music school in my 30's as an attempt at a second career.)

He's a PhD in music and I had no idea he played the accordion. He actually still plays and records professionally when he's not traveling the world lecturing on esoteric subjects.

You won't see accordion anywhere in his bio or profile. That's a shame, especially since he's from eastern Europe where the instrument is common.

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by Matt Butcher » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:53 pm

It sounds as though one effect of all this educational activity is the existence of bands with accordions. That's a good thing, I would enjoy that.

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by AccordionUprising » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:02 am

This is interesting since most of the young Belgian accordionists I'm familiar with play diatonic boxes. I'd assumed they had some kind of education support like the Finnish Sibelius Academy where folk and classical instruments seem to both be supported. Their playing seems to be at a very adventurous level, especially the jazzy stuff they're doing with what are considered folk-dance instruments. I gather they do some interesting tunings to make that possible.

Anybody know how diatonic artists like Didier Laloy http://didierlaloy.be or Annie Niepold http://www.anneniepold.be/ fit into the Belgian music education model?
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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by JerryPH » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:52 am

AccordionUprising wrote:Anybody know how diatonic artists like Didier Laloy http://didierlaloy.be or Annie Niepold http://www.anneniepold.be/ fit into the Belgian music education model?
Unusual. Those have to be 2 of the poorest designed websites around... lol
To be able to answer your question, we'd need to know where they studied and under whom. If you look at the websites of other established musicians, they will normally have an area that lists scholastic achievements a great majority of the time and neither of them has that in theirs.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by debra » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:26 am

AccordionUprising wrote:This is interesting since most of the young Belgian accordionists I'm familiar with play diatonic boxes. ...
You are into a different scene I guess... Accordion in Belgium normally "means" chromatic accordion (and CBA C or B system), not diatonic. The diatonic accordion may be something that is learned afterwards, but it is not part of the accordion curriculum.
The government-subsidised music education comes with rather strict rules as a consequence. In the Netherlands music schools are free to organise whatever they want (and what the town or city will subsidise) so there are diatonic accordion teachers, and people who like folk music will sometimes try it. In my city (Eindhoven) you can learn the diatonic accordion in the music school. In Belgium I doubt you can get lessons in music schools (but there may be exceptions).
Musicians always tend to find the instruments that best suit the music they want to play, and a lot of the skills on non-traditional instruments are either self-taught or learned abroad.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)

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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by JerryPH » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:51 pm

debra wrote:...a lot of the skills on non-traditional instruments are either self-taught or learned abroad.
I actually had that in my post just above yours that I was guessing that since they did not indicate any kind of formal education on their websites that it was probable that they were self-taught, but then just removed it, as I thought it was a bit of a reach. I see now that it wasn't all that far fetched of an idea. :)
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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by AccordionUprising » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:34 am

Returning to this topic:

I came across a lovely Annie Niepold video that had more detail about her studies.

https://youtu.be/Y2B2OHQrIUM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I'm not sure how this fits in with the rest of Belgium's academic accordion world. So many great players there.
After discovering the accordion at the age of 13, Anne studied, among others, with Bruno le Tron, Didier Laloy, Norbert Pignol, Stéphane Milleret and Philippe Thuriot. With time, she moved away from the world of traditional music and developed an interest in improvized music and jazz. In this way she turned to studying composition and jazz orchestration with Kris Defoort at the Royal Brussels Conservatoire., where she obtained her master's degree and won the prestigious "Toots Thielemans Jazz Award".
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Re: Impact of accordion education in Belgium and the Netherl

Post by debra » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:20 am

AccordionUprising wrote:Returning to this topic:

I came across a lovely Annie Niepold video that had more detail about her studies.

https://youtu.be/Y2B2OHQrIUM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I'm not sure how this fits in with the rest of Belgium's academic accordion world. So many great players there.
Great performance!
But when I see this (and not just listen) it seems that doing this on the diatonic box is more of a challenge than it is helpful.
Maybe I just do not understand most of the advantage of diatonic boxes but certainly in this example there does not seem to be any advantage. (This performance would also not require a huge accordion as the range that is used is limited.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)

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