The Best books for Beginner Accordionists




Books on accordion music theory

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For accordionists looking to step up their game, finding the best book geared towards beginners can be challenging. But thanks to reviews from experienced accordion players, you can find the right accordion book for your level and needs.

These books typically cover all of the fundamentals like music theory, instrument technique, chords and intervals, scales, styles of playing as well as some etudes which aid in improving accordion skills. They may also include tips and tricks for developing basic techniques that accordionists need to master before progressing to more advanced levels.

All in all, these beginner accordion books provide invaluable guidance for aspiring players on their accordion journey.

Palmer-Hughes Prep Accordion Course– This is one of the most popular books from this series. Initially published in 1959 by Willard Palmer and Bill Hughes, this book always stays in style. With its elegant mid-century modern-looking cover and beautifully illustrated and easy-to-comprehend instructions, this gem is a reference to return to for generations to come. This book is so popular and well known amongst accordionists in English speaking world that some of accordionists even made You Tube videos, playing songs from this book so they can make learning process easier for beginners. You can see some of the videos here.

This wonderful book by Miriam Davidson, titled “Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Accordion: Everything You need to Know to Start Playing Now!” is a perfect reference to any beginner accordionists, regardless of his or her age or skill level. Beginning with the fundamentals, you will learn about the parts of the accordion, buying an accordion, preparing the instrument for use, and getting acquainted with standard musical notation. You will then learn to use your left and right hands in the proper ways, playing different notes, chords, and songs, all while continuing to increase your knowledge of reading and understanding standard musical notation. You will learn to play in an array of musical styles, including folk songs, Waltzes, Bluegrass, Polka, and more. This book comes with a DVD.

Reviews for this book speak for themselves. This is one of those quality reference books that contains everything to help you learn that first song on the accordion. It has diagrams, sketches and charts to help you grasp basics of musical theory for the accordion. It also comes with a CD and is loaded with beginner friendly accordion tunes for easy learning. Here is one customer’s comment: “Not a big book, but a lot of useful information packed into this book. This book had me playing beginner tunes in no time. I really like the fact that the author doesn’t assume that you already have a working knowledge of the keyboard, it explains both right and left hand playing, with good illustrations.”How To Play Accordion by Santorella Tony

Hal Leonard Accordion Method– This illustrated book for beginner accordionists is another quality reference book that will educate generations of accordionists. This is a comprehensive beginner’s guide written and presented in an easy to understand vocabulary.  Here, you’ll find a variety of musical styles: American folk tunes, a Calypso from Trinidad, a well-known melody by Beethoven, and folksongs from England, France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand. The online audio includes demonstrations of all the songs in the book!

Some students of the accordion describe this book as the best book for beginners. Authored by J.H Sheldon in the UK, this is a well known classic for education of young accordionists. It is intended for 12 to 120 Bass button accordions. This book presents a new and scientifically correct program for mastering finger technique, enabling the accordionist to acquire the brilliant technique of the professional player far more rapidly than by indiscriminate and haphazard practice. Included also is an easily understood course in Keyboard Harmony and its adaptation in harmonizing melodies and playing effectively from piano and violin music. accordion students describe this book as the best Finally, this method contains a series of carefully graded and edited solos embracing all forms of music from Swing-Boogie to the Classics.

3 responses to “The Best books for Beginner Accordionists”

  1. David Avatar

    Dear Mr. Dino Rossi,

    I do not have an accordion. I never played any misucal instrument before. And I cannot read the sheet music. And also, I am old (well, very old). If I buy an accordion, that definitely will be something not intimidating. Maybe a Piano Accordion with 25 Treble keys and 12 Bass buttons. Or maybe a Diatonic Button Accordion with 21 Treble keys and 8 Bass buttons. And I would like to then learn how to play accordion by a book. Which book, or books, from what you listed, or other books maybe, will be good for me to use?


  2. Dino Rossi Avatar

    Hi David, thank you so much for your question. I learned how to play an accordion by ear. I was 7 years old and my dad bought me the kid’s piano accordion which had 10 keys and 8 bass buttons. 🙂 After that accordion I got a new one at the age of 12 or so, it had 25 keys and 12 bass buttons. In your case, you could go with a 12 bass Hohner entry level accordion like this one: But !! I have a feeling that you would enjoy an intermediate level 97 keys piano accordion like this one : Why? Simply because you could get to an intermediate level fairly fast as an adult and perhaps even practice playing some songs by ear and that is where a wider range of bass notes will come handy. As for books, I recommend “How To Play Accordion” by Santorella Tony. (third from top). Adult beginners find this book very easy to follow and comprehend. Accordions are considered to be the friendliest beginner’s musical instruments and piano accordions is definitely best option if you live in the US. I hope you decide to pursue the accordion. :). It is lots of fun!!

    1. David Avatar

      Dear Mr. Dino Rossi,

      This book that you recommended, by Santorello Tony, reading it probably requires the ability to read sheet music. Correct? If yes, do you know a good book on how to read music? (I know how to read, in two languages, but not in the music language.)


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