Are you an aspiring accordion player and want to know how long it will take you to learn how to play the accordion? It can be a daunting task taking on any new instrument, including the accordion. But with regular practice, it won’t take long to learn.
How long does it take to learn accordion? To learn how to play simple songs on the accordion, it should take about 6 or 8 weeks. This can be achieved with consistent, daily practice. It can take a year or two to become comfortable playing more advanced accordion songs.
The time it takes to learn how to play will depend on the level of proficiency you desire.
Read on to know the factors you should consider to speed up your learning process, plus learn about a few tips and tricks to make you master playing accordion faster.
Also, for an excellent accordion, take a look at our top pick, the Hohner BR48R-N 26-Key Piano Accordion:
How Long Does It Take To Learn Accordion?
I am no expert at accordion, that’s for sure, but I did learn how to play some simple songs from scratch. It took me about 6 weeks to learn these basic, beginner songs on an entry-level Hohner BR48R-N piano accordion. I’ve seen others take a similar amount of time when learning from scratch.
I did have a friend who gave me some tips which helped speed up the time it took to learn. I also have past piano experience. But it is very possible to learn in the same amount of time on your own, on a button or piano accordion. There are many video tutorials online nowadays that can teach you proper fingering and how to play simple songs.
Factors that determine how long it takes to learn the accordion are as follows:
- Past Musical Experience
- Type of Accordion
- Amount of Practice
- Taking Lessons vs. Self-Taught
Past Musical Experience
One factor that determines how long it will take you to learn an accordion is if you are musically inclined. Some people are able to grasp the basics faster than others. The truth is there are people who are musically talented, and thus it will take them less time to learn how to play the accordion.
Piano accordions are typically easier for beginners to learn than button accordions. This will take you shorter to learn especially if you already know how to play the piano or you took piano lessons.
Some guitar players who tried learning accordion find chromatic button accordion easier to play due to the basic chords and scale patterns that require almost the same fingering manner as guitar chords and scales.
If you started at an early age but never really considered yourself as a dedicated student, then it will probably take you years to learn accordion compared to when you learn it when you are a dedicated adult learner.
The opposite is true however if even at an early age you are already passionate about learning the accordion. Don’t get me wrong though because you can start learning accordion at any age.
Type of Accordion
If you’re just starting out fresh, then you should have chosen an accordion with a lower number of keys. While an accordion with a lot of keys can make you play a lot of sound, this could also be difficult for you to learn. Your priority as a beginner should be learning the basics first. Moreover, choosing an accordion with fewer number of keys also means that you’ll be able to handle that accordion comfortably because it will weigh less.
As mentioned earlier, if you have previous piano experience, then learning the piano accordion will be easier and will take less time for you. If you are starting from scratch (e.g. starting to read musical notes, etc), then it can take several weeks, about 8 weeks, to start to play simple songs on the accordion.
Button accordions, also known as Irish or Cajun accordions, are difficult to learn at first because they require you to have a mental picture of the buttons. When you memorize the buttons, accordion players find button accordions easier to play than piano accordions. This is because the buttons are smaller and closer compared to the piano keys. With button accordions, the small buttons make it easier to transition from low notes to high notes and reach different intervals faster.
Below are 4 accordions I recommend to anyone who wants to learn how to play. They are the right size with not too many buttons and keys, are lightweight and are at an affordable price. Getting the right entry-level accordion can significantly cut down the time it takes to learn.
1. Hohner BR48R-N 26-Key Piano Accordion
Hohner Accordions are very popular for their very distinct sound which musicians love. The Hohner BR48R-N 26-Key Piano Accordion weighs about 15 lbs and contains 26 keys, 48 bass buttons, two-tone colors, two treble registers, and four standard bass voices.
This is a versatile accordion that is both suited for beginners and professionals where you can play various musical styles such as Jazz, Irish Folk, Zydeco, Tejano, Conjunto, Polka, Traditional, American Folk, Tex-Mex, Norteno, Irish Folk, Traditional English music, Marches, Polka, Italian, Latin, Tango, Cajun, and more. This accordion also comes with a textile strap and your very own gig bag.
2. Hohner 3100GB Panther Diatonic Button Accordion
The Hohner company is the creator of the finest accordions available on the market today. One of its creations includes the Hohner 3100GB Panther Diatonic Button Accordion. This is an excellent entry-level beginner accordion due to it being compact and lightweight.
If you prefer a button accordion over another type of accordion, then this is the right choice for you. This accordion has 31 treble keys, 12 bass/chord buttons, two sets of treble reeds, which also allows you to play in G/F/C keys.
The Hohner 3100Gb Panther accordion is your suitable partner while you are learning and pursuing a musical career either as a solo musician or in a group. You can play conjunto and other musical styles using this button accordion.
3. Wal Front 22-key, 8 Bass Beginner Piano Accordion
The Wal Front 22-key, 8 Bass Beginner Piano Accordion weighs only about 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg) As the name suggests, it is highly suitable for beginners like you due to its flexibility and ease of play. This piano accordion features 22 keys and 8 bass buttons, is made up of maple wood, and comes in different colors such as blue, red, and green.
It contains fewer keys, so beginners will find it easier to learn the basics in a shorter amount of time. And because this accordion’s body is made up of maple wood, it will not be harmed by corrosion and will look great for a longer amount of time.
4. Hohner 3100FB Panther Diatonic Accordion
The matte black Hohner 3100FB Panther Diatonic Accordion is another masterpiece made by Hohner. It has quality features such as 31 (3 rows) treble buttons, 12 bass/chord buttons, and two sets of treble reeds that gives a rich and robust sound.
This accordion also comes with double-strap brackets to help you support its weight (9 lbs), and a Hohner diatonic method book which will help all who wish to learn how to play the diatonic accordion. Due to its size and weight, beginners will have an easier and more comfortable time learning how to play it.
Amount of Practice
Short but regular practice sessions are usually the key in learning the accordion faster. By doing short, regular practice sessions, instead of long sessions, frustration in learning a new musical instrument will be avoided.
Your practice should have these parts: warm-up, building technique, actual practice where you can work on new songs, sight-reading (read a song that’s unfamiliar to you), and cool down where you can play your favorite songs. Practicing regularly will also make you adjust better to the weight and size of your accordion, especially if you prefer to stand while playing.
Self-Taught vs. Taking Lessons
It will, of course, take you less time to learn how to play an accordion if you are taking lessons from a musical instructor, and practicing regularly. Taking lessons definitely has more benefits over teaching yourself since with an instructor you can also ask the teacher the best accordion for you depending on your height, budget, and musical style you want to play; as well as many other beginner tips.
Another benefit of taking lessons is that the lessons are usually organized and patterned depending on your skill level. However, finding an accordion instructor is very difficult nowadays even if playing an accordion is popular in many countries such as Europe and U.S. If you find an accordion instructor, make sure that they are qualified, credible, and have years of experience in playing accordion.
The below video gives great tips on learning how to play the accordion, as well as how long it takes to learn how to play accordion.
Teaching Yourself How to Play the Accordion
Most likely, teaching yourself how to play an accordion will require you to search for credible sources through the internet such as videos, books, blogs, and others, and therefore will take a lot of time, patience, as well as dedication.
As mentioned earlier, it should take about 6 to 8 weeks to learn how to play simple songs on the accordion. You can greatly shorten the time it takes to learn how to play the accordion by following these steps.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Accordion Structure
The first step that you should focus on is familiarizing yourself with your accordion’s structure.
The image below shows the layout of the buttons (standard 120 button-layout) on the left in a Stradella-bass system, and familiarizing yourself with this chart will likely make you learn accordion faster. 
Small accordions will, of course, have fewer buttons but the position will be similar to the buttons shown below. The C, A-flat, and E buttons usually have a hole or markings.
2. Practice Coordinating Your Hands First
Let your hands be familiar with the rhythm first without the accordion, followed by familiarizing your hands with notes and fingering. Try to tap the patterns while practicing as if you are a drummer. You can do this little exercise while you are eating, working, or traveling.
Try to practice your left and right hand separately with each section of a song. When you have done this part of the exercise perfectly, then try to coordinate your hands. Note that it is perfectly normal to take you a long time to coordinate your hands, longer than 8 weeks or 2 months for some beginners. With daily practice and dedication, you will get comfortable with this skill in no time.
Once you perfectly coordinate your hands with each other, then try practicing songs with your accordion. To figure out how the tunes work, watch a fellow accordion player by watching videos or your teacher.
3. Familiarize Yourself With the Accordion Bellows
Bellows are responsible for your accordion’s phrasing and dynamics. Doing the exercise I will describe will familiarize you with how your reeds respond to the air you supply your accordion through your bellow.
First, close your bellows, then start to open it slowly. At this point, carefully listen to the sound your reeds will make. While your bellow is open, try to slowly close it and observe again the sounds your reeds will make.
After this exercise, you’ll notice that the lower the pitch of a note, the more air you should supply to make your reed produce a sound while for a high pitch note, requires less air supply. Another thing that you probably noticed is that once you move the bellow, a sound will not be immediately produced.
4. Properly Care for Your Accordion
Properly taking care of your accordion will prevent you from having it fixed every time which is also time-consuming. To avoid damaging your according, follow the below tips:
Keep your accordion in a warm and dry place.
Avoid putting your accordion in a room that is extremely hot or cold. An extremely hot room temperature can melt the glue or wax that’s holding your accordion’s reeds together.
Do not let it drop or be knocked over.
One way to prevent both situations is by placing it in a flat table or surface.
Store your accordion in its case
A case is made to protect your accordion from the sudden fall. Make it a habit to store your accordion after every practice or when you are not using it.
Conclusion – How Long Does It Take to Learn Accordion?
How long does it take to learn accordion? 6 to 8 weeks is approximately how long it takes to learn how to play simple songs on the accordion. This is based on consistent, daily practice.
How long it takes you to learn the accordion are based on the following factors:
- Past Musical Experience
- Type of Accordion
- Amount of Practice
- Taking Lessons vs. Self-Taught
Remember to commit at least 2 or 3 months of daily, or at least every other day practice. There will be times when you might think of giving up, but that feeling will pass as you practice and improve.