Galliano Complete Accordion Method
This is my favorite contemporary method book for accordion, and it is usually the first method book I recommend to new students.
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Why Dallas Recommends This
This is one my of my favorite method books to use with students.
The book was written by world famous French accordionist Richard Galliano (one of my heroes!) and Richard’s father Lucien. Lucien plays piano accordion!
As far as I understand this method was primarily written by Richard Galliano’s father Lucien Galliano. I am led to believe this because while I was at CNIMA school in France for the first time I met an accordion student there who was a student of Lucien, and she told me that Lucien used pieces of the unfinished book in her lessons.
When the book first came out, it was only published in French from a French publisher. We are very lucky that Hal Leonard translated it to English and published it here in the United States for us.
This book is 114 pages long, which is not huge – but it covers a lot of ground. In the first exercises the student is learning two notes in each hand, and by the end of the book the student is playing Tangos in C minor and Boogie Woogie bass lines.
Each song introduces a new musical concept to the students, and sometimes more than one.
Unlike methods like Palmer-Huges which give many small songs to develop the same new idea, this book gives the students just one song to learn the new musical concepts. And for this reason benefits from having supplemental materials, especially as the material gets more challenging.
The first chapter introduces the idea that both hands can play individual melody notes.
The second chapter introduces the left hand bass and chords (oom-pa rhythm).
Starting in chapter three and continuing to the end of the book, the book follows a pattern of increasing rhythmic and melodic complexity.
From chapter three to the end of the book the songs the students are given a song in a new new major key (ex C major) and then a song in it’s relative minor key (ex A minor). The progression of keys follows the circle of fifths: C and A minor, G and E minor, F and D minor, etc.
Before the melody in the new key, the student is given a scale exercise to learn.
The book has two appendices which contain scale and arpeggio and chord exercises in many keys with fingerings, which is helpful for students. As well as some supplemental musical materials for the bellows shake and, a nice diagram representing how the accordion registers work and visualizing what we are hearing between different register switches.
Last but not least, the book has many very cute and fun hand drawn illustrations of animals playing the accordion and representing musical ideas.
Who I think will like this book:
Everywhere the book has fingering (which is a lot of places) fingerings are written for both for C system button accordion and the piano accordion in this book.
Beginning and advanced beginner accordionists will get a lot out of this method.
Accordionists who like French music and French culture will enjoy the style of many of the songs.
Accordion players who want some shorter but more advanced pieces that stretch them into pushing past the most basic skills; ie syncopated eighth notes, keys with more sharps and flats.
Students who like a method or reference book that covers a lot of ground and includes an appendix with some basic scales, fingerings.
Things I like about this book:
By the end of the first chapter of this method book the student has learned to play simple single-note melodies in the right and the left hands. Only after this is idea that the left hand can be an oom-pa rhythm machine taught. I think this is quite powerful and important pedagogical framework, which leads to more musicality and makes students more comfortable with the bass note buttons from the start.
The book has many learning pieces which sound more contemporary and more like the music that students hear and want to learn: French waltzes, Amelie, Tango, more syncopation in the left hand patterns.
The book has some really wonderful songs as learning pieces. My most favorite in the book is “Milonguita” which is a single page piece written in the style of the nuevo-Tango rhythm and sound.
There are recordings of all of the songs being played, which is quite useful for students who are new to reading music, or who like to learn on their own without someone to demonstrate.
I use many different method books with my students, I almost always recommend this as the first one new accordion players buy.