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At the heart of English folk


An instrument whose popularity transcends the folk world and is commonly found playing in many different musical disciplines from Jazz to Classical, although its popularity within the folk culture is probably unrivalled. Of European descent, its current design was created around the 1860’s and has spread world-wide adopting local musical styles due to its flexibility. 

This course aims to show the range of techniques through tunes and musical arrangements with the emphasis on the English tradition. Classes will be taught using music therefore the ability to read ‘the dots’ is important. This will leave more time to explore different rhythms and harmonies rather than teaching melodies. The accordion has gained a reputation for being loud and unsubtle, these courses are aimed at changing this preconception.

Accordion classes

Accordion Level 2 (Beginners) Please note that there is no Level 1 Accordion
Basic sight-reading skills and an experience of the piano keyboard is essential.  How to master the chords and bellows of this wonderful instrument will become apparent as the course unfolds.  Expect to be able to play at least two tunes with simple accompaniments (major and minor chords) by the end of the first term. During the second term the course will concentrate on how to enhance tunes using the counter bass rows and by using more complex harmonies.  Different styles of accompaniment will also be introduced. 

Accordion Level 3-4 (Improvers / Intermediate)
Good music reading skills are advantageous at this level as the tunes are more complex. Exploring different methods to enhance, vary and develop melodies is the central part of this course. 


Pre-entry level requirements

Level 2
Basic sight-reading skills and an experience of the piano keyboard is essential, although you do not necessarily need to have played accordion before.  

Level 3-4
Students should have a good knowledge of the layout of the left hand and be able to play both hands together fluently. Students are required to read music for this class.

Who leads the course?

The accordion classes are taught by Paul Hutchinson.

Paul has a unique style of accordion playing inspired by church organs, violins, uillean pipes and melodeons. He is an experienced workshop leader and as well as being a resident tutor at Cecil Sharp House, he also teaches at Marlborough College, Benslow Music Centre, Folkworks Summer Schools and Halsway Manor. His compositions have seeped into the Belshazzar’s Feast set and his duo Pagoda Project with jazz clarinettist Karen Wimhurst, received 5-star reviews in both Songlines and FRoots.

Paul is one half of the renowned duo Belshazzar’s Feast, nominated for the 2010 BBC folk awards. As a dance musician Paul works with The Playford Liberation Front and is a regular visitor to the United States to teach and perform.



How can I take part?

2019-20 dates

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.



Accordion Level 2: 10.00 - 11.30

Accordion Level 3 & 4: 11.45 - 13.15



Annual fee: £220 | £175 concessions*

Termly fees: £118 | £95 concessions*

Advance booking required

Annual Enrolment
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. 

Concessions are available to people who are in full-time education; in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance; in receipt of Income-Based Benefit (such as Income Support, Housing or Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Pension Credit). For concessionary rates please call the box office on 020 7485 2206. The box office is open between 9.30 and 17.00 Monday to Friday. Evidence of concession will need to be provided before the start of term by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a copy of your supporting documentation.

Book now

 For any queries, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 020 7241 8953 


Terms and Conditions

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.

Read more about Terms and Conditions


More Information

Read more about individual class times, dates and further info