How Hard Is It to Learn the Accordion (Everything You Need to Know)

The accordion is a very interesting and melodic musical instrument to learn. It may not be as popular as guitar and piano, but if you can get over the basics, you are bound to fall in love with this instrument.

At A Glance

  • The accordion is an easy enough instrument to learn but takes time and practice just like any other instrument: Beginner level: 6 to 8 weeks, Intermediate level: 1 to 2 years, Advanced level: 3 to 5 years, Expert level: 10+ years
  • Button Accordion – Lighter in weight, great for Jazz, Classical, and Traditional Irish music (depending on if it’s a Chromatic or Diatonic button accordion).
  • Piano Accordion – Heaver in weight, great for piano players to make an easier transition.
  • Private tutoring, online courses/lessons, YouTube tutorials, and books are all good option for learning the accordion.
  • Tips to learn the Accordion: Buy a Good Quality Accordion, Understand The Fundamentals, Find a Good Source to Learn, Practice Drills and Techniques for Your Left Hand.

How Hard Is It to Learn Accordion?

The accordion is not that hard to learn. Like any other popular instrument, learning the accordion will take some time, practice, and patience to get comfortable with, and soon you will be able to enjoy playing it.

It may seem difficult to use both your hands independently to press the keys and buttons while moving the bellows at the same time. Don’t worry. Regular practice will synchronize both hands and make it easy for you.

However, the answer depends on the type of accordion you want to learn. Also, your experience of music might be a factor.

How Long Does it Take to Learn the Accordion?

To learn how to play simple songs on accordion, you may have to practice for 6 to 8 weeks. As a beginner, you should practice regularly by this time. Practicing for 20 minutes to 1 hour per day should be enough. But again there is no specific time limit when it comes to the matter of practicing.

To get comfortable with playing comparatively difficult pieces you may need one or two years. By this time you can expect to reach the intermediate level.

If you want to be an advanced accordionist, you may need 3 to 5 years approximately. By then you will be able to play very well and more genres.

It is assumed that it takes about ten years or more to become an expert in accordion. By expert, we mean that you will be able to play a wide variety of music genres with near perfection.

There is no exact time limit to mention when someone asks how long it might take to learn the accordion. It all depends on the person. It only matters how much time and effort you are giving. However, we will try to give an estimation here.

If you enjoy the journey of learning the accordion and have proper guidance, you can learn much faster than the time limits mentioned here. But if you are not following the proper way and taking long-term breaks then it will take much longer for you to learn the accordion.

Which Type of Accordion Should You Get?

There are two types of accordions, button accordions, and piano accordions. The type of accordion that you should get is based on the style of music that you want to play, personal preferences, availability of teachers in your area for that type of accordion, and past musical experience.

Button Accordion: Button accordions are usually smaller and lighter and they include round-shaped buttons. There are two types of button accordions, chromatic button accordions, which play the same note when you are pushing and pulling, and diatonic button accordions, which play a different note depending on if you are pushing or pulling.

The type of button accordion you should get depends on the style of music you’re thinking of playing. For example, chromatic button accordions are great for jazz or classical music, whereas Diatonic button accordions are great for styles such as traditional Irish music.

Piano Accordion: This is another popular type of accordion. The key part looks like a mini piano. Piano accordions have more keys. One key can play only one note. These are larger and heavier in comparison. If you know how to play piano, then piano accordions would be an easy option for you.

The Best Way to Learn Accordion

You can learn accordion in different ways. Online courses and YouTube videos might help you a lot as a beginner. There are books available in the market to enhance your knowledge. You may also take advice from someone you know who plays the accordion. But the best way would be to get a teacher for private lessons.

Getting an accordion teacher will make your path to learning the accordion a lot easier. They can practically show you the techniques and correct mistakes which is not possible with other options. One or two classes per week would be enough, and you can reduce the number of these as you become more experienced and independent at learning by yourself. You can also find an online accordion teacher that offers live classes.

But, whether you can find a teacher or not, you must have patience and practice regularly.

5 Tips to Learn the Accordion

  1. Buy a Good Quality Accordion: As we have discussed earlier, there are different types and sizes of the accordion. Get the best instrument depending on your budget. It’s better if you can take an accordionist to the shop with you to help you buy the best accordion for you.
  2. Understand The Fundamentals: Start your journey of being an accordionist by knowing every part and the roles of each part of your instrument.
  3. Find a Good Source to Learn: It’s better if you can get yourself a teacher. Otherwise, YouTube videos, pre-recorded courses, and books will help you.
  4. Practice Regularly: Learning accordion is all about practice and patience. Take short but frequent sessions. Try to practice for at least 20 minutes every day.
  5. Practice Drills and Techniques for Your Left Hand: Your left hand will be always busy grabbing melody notes and keys at the same time. Practice left-hand exercises with extra care and get used to the different shapes and hand positions from the very beginning.

How Does an Accordion Work?

An accordion is a box-shaped instrument. You have to play accordion by compressing and expanding the bellows and pressing the buttons or keys at the same time. If you don’t pull the bellows and press the keys only, it won’t produce any music.

Today’s classical or standard accordions are a result of lots of evolution starting from the 19th century. An accordion has three main parts called, the keyboard, the bellows, and the buttons. The biggest accordion may have 120 buttons and 47 keys. But there are smaller versions available which are also much easier to play.


The accordion is an awesome instrument to play. Like any other instrument, it takes time to master the fundamentals. Naturally, time and practice are crucial. If you are a beginner or just about to buy your accordion, best of luck with your journey of being an accordion player! You have made a great choice.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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