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Joseph S In HomeHome In StudioStudio Teaches OnlineOnline
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Instruments: Accordion
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, R&B, Gospel, Musical Theater, Latin, Showtunes, Spirituals, Merengue, Latin Jazz, Swing, Samba, Bossa Nova, Soul

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Joseph S In Home Teaches Online
Instruments: Accordion
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, R&B, Gospel, Musical Theater, Latin, Showtunes, Spirituals, Merengue, Latin Jazz, Swing, Samba, Bossa Nova, Soul

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 6-76
Levels Taught:

EMAIL US OR CALL 877-687-4524

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:
St. John's University, BA English Brooklyn Law School, JD I studied with Chelso Ferrari, the most talented accordionist-musician I ever encountered
Awards:

I won first place in the St. John's University talent contest in 1967 I was in the Archbishop Molloy HS band I played professionally in New York City (weddings, barmitvahs, club dates) from 1965-1988 I was vice president of the St. John's University Glee Club

Overview:
My father was a professional trumpet player, my sister played piano and won the Miss New York contest 2nd place, my aunt, uncle and cousin played trumpet, piano, accordion, saxophone, clarinet and bass as a group for fifty years. I played with all of them on occasion. However, when I played club dates or weddings I worked through the musician's union local 802 or various bookers. I started on accordion when I was six years old and played in school, at local talent shows and learned from a number of teachers. When I was eighteen I studied with a great teacher and accordionist, Chelso Ferrari. He taught me how to play full chords from fake books utilizing jazz sequences and transposing major, minor, and seventh chords into augmented fifths, sixths, major sevenths, and primarily diminished sevenths. In my early years I studied the Palmer method and learned many classical songs which culminated in my performing Malaguena and Rondo ala Turk at various shows. When I played professionally there was no call for classical, but I still play a little classical for my own amusement. I can teach both.
EXPERIENCE
I began teaching my neighbor's kids when I was 12 years old. I taught until I was sixteen, which is when I began -playing club dates and weddings. I taught mostly classical, polkas, and european songs. I became a better musician when I played professionally, I had to amass my own 'fake book' and write some of my own music. My experience with my teacher, Chelso, taught me how to teach more complex music with relatively easy drills. Chelso's method of teaching is now my method. Since I was intermediate when he taught me, he gave a performance on the song he wanted me to play and make my own through alternate chord changes. I would do the same with intermediate and advanced students. My early teachers started me on easy songs with finger exercises, especially how to play contrapuntally on the bass side. This is how I would teach the beginner. Once you have a good 'feel' for the bass, playing both hands together is easy. It's also important to start the beginner on good bellows control. The bellows give the performer the ability to modulate the tone of the work. Accordion give you far more control of emotion than any of the other keyboard instruments.
METHODS USED
I put a lot of emphasis on scales and fingering exercises. Once fingering exercises are mastered, it is relatively easy to play classical and quick time tunes. The wonderful thing about accordion is that the bass provides upward mobility in tonic keys that go up in fifths, e.g. C G D A B F# and all tonic notes/buttons have thirds on the counter bass, e.g. C has E, G has B etc. right next to the tonic buttons so that you have incredible variety within six or seven buttons combining major, minor, seventh and diminished seventh chords within that same group of notes. Sounds daunting but a child can learn to play major and minor bass chords in a very short period of time, because you learn by feel since you can't see your bass. Where a pianist must take pains to play bass keys with chords, a beginner accordionist can play major, minor, and sevenths within three lessons. After being familiar with the bass, the accordionist can concentrate on his/her keyboard side, because the bass becomes almost second nature with the exception of more advanced and classical counterpoint studies. Pop, italian, french music etc, is much easier on the bass side.
LESSON STYLE
My teaching style is where both myself and the student have the accordion on at the same time. I will demonstrate the bass of the instrument on the left hand at first and have the student play along with me, only on the left side. After the student can play a simple C bass major I switch to the right hand playing songs like merrily we roll along. Some beginners can play both hands at the end of one lesson. When teaching intermediate students, I like to start them on right hand chord exercises and demonstrate how diminished sevenths and sixths can interplay with the bass left hand. An understanding of the right hand chord structures adds flavor to the left hand bass. It's amazing when the student plays songs that were one finger exercises and advances to the more complex chord structures. I find that most intermediate students never really learn how their classical songs are structured for the bass until they play right hand chords, especially full octave. By the way, I don't use this terminology when I teach until the student has a 'feel' for the instrument.
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