The melodeon (or diatonic button accordion) is an instrument that has become particularly popular in the folk music of Britain, Ireland, parts of Europe and America. It differs from the piano accordion in that it is smaller and lighter, has buttons rather than keys and the notes change when the bellows are pushed and pulled. The rhythmic effects of this push-pull action are especially well suited to the lively rhythms of dance music from various traditions; although it can also be played in the smoother cross-rowed style, which is particularly suitable for song accompaniment. These classes will focus mainly on music from the British Isles, but will also cover traditional playing styles from other parts of Europe.
Beginners (Level 1)
This course starts from absolute beginner level in the Autumn term and progresses throughout the year. We will begin with the basics, learning the layout of the buttons on both hands and exploring simple tunes. The classes will cover both one-row and cross-row styles and we will be working on right hand melodies as well as left hand accompaniments from the start. Music will be taught by ear with music notation and mp3s available after the sessions.
Please note that we only accept complete beginners during the Autumn term; there is no Level 1 class offered in the Spring term; Level 1 becomes Level 2.
Improvers (Levels 2 & 3)
This course carries on from the beginner first year. The course will continue learning tunes by ear at a moderate pace and start to explore more challenging keys, techniques and left hand rhythms as the year progresses. The classes will cover both one-row and cross-row styles. Music will be taught by ear with music notation and mp3s available after the sessions.
Intermediate/advanced (Level 4)
This course is for players who can already play both hands together with reasonable fluency. We will be exploring more unusual and challenging tunes, as well as adding more musicality to your playing - including dynamics, phrasing, and harmony - as well as tunes that require a little more right hand dexterity. There will be some self-directed tasks where students will be encouraged to develop their own chord patterns and interpretations of tunes with support from the tutor, as the year progresses. The classes will cover both one-row and cross-row styles. Music will be taught by ear with music notation and mp3s available after the sessions.
Beginners (Level 1)
The classes are progressive and will be suitable for absolute beginners at the start of the Autumn term. Students need to own or hire a melodeon in D/G with at least two rows.
Please note that we only accept complete beginners during the Autumn term - there is no Level 1 class offered in the Spring term.
Improvers (Level 2-3)
This course is for people who have already learnt the basics of the melodeon, have some knowledge of playing in different keys and are able to play two hands of the melodeon together slowly. Students need to own or hire a melodeon in D/G with at least 2 rows.
Intermediate/Advanced (Level 4)
This course is for people who have a solid understanding of playing the melodeon and are confident playing different rhythms on both hands fluently and in a range of keys. Students need to own or hire a melodeon in D/G with at least 2 rows.
Melodeon Levels 1 and 4 will be taught by Hazel Askew. The tutor for the Melodeon Level 2-3 class will be Ben Moss.
Hazel Askew is a London based singer, musician and workshop leader. She has worked as a performer on the folk scene for many years, most notably with BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated vocal trio Lady Maisery and traditional English folk duo The Askew Sisters, with whom she won Best Female Singer at the 2011 Spiral Earth Awards. Hazel grew up with the folk scene, participating in many youth folk education programmes and now frequently works as a folk educator and workshop leader. She frequently leads projects for EFDSS on adult, youth and schools projects, most recently delivering three of the London based The Full English Education projects. She has also led workshops and courses for organisations including Barbican Creative Learning, Folkworks, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Dartington Summer School, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and various festivals around the country.
Ben Moss has been morris dancing and playing folk music for almost 20 years. He performs as a solo artist, singing original and traditional songs, as well as playing and calling with several ceilidh bands, including The Diatonics, Ceilidh Tree and Ceilidh Factor. As a dancer he performs regularly with Hammersmith Morris Men and Folk Dance Remixed and has toured the UK and North America with Morris Offspring.
Autumn Term: Sept 14, 21 | Oct 5, 12 | Nov 2, 9, 23, 30 | Dec 7 (9 week term)
Spring Term: Jan 18 | Feb 1, 15, 29 | Mar 7 14, 28 | Apr 4, 18 (9 week term)
NB: Saturday Folk Music Workshops do not run during the Summer Term.
Melodeon Level 1: 11:45-13:15 (Hazel Askew)
Melodeon Level 2 & 3: 13:45-15:15 (Ben Moss)
Melodeon Level 4: 13:45-15:15 (Hazel Askew)
Annual fee: £220 | £175 concessions*
Termly fees: £118 | £95 concessions*
Advance booking required
We recommend enrolling for the whole year (Autumn and Spring term). We offer a 5% discount if you choose to pay for the whole year at the beginning of the Autumn term.
We cannot refund participants for missed classes.
Refunds are given only if your course is cancelled or closed early.
If you enrol on a course but decide after the first session but before the second class of term that it is not right for you then you can either:
- transfer your booking from one instrument to another (depending on availability). If the course of your choice is full then we can reserve a place for you on the following term.
- or have the course fees refunded to you minus an administration charge of £15 (as long as you contact us before the second class of term).
These terms and conditions apply only to Saturday Folk Music Workshops.