Teaching the accordion in Music Schools of Greece. In search for an identity

Τσέλιγκα Πολυξένη

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Διδακτική ευρωπαϊκών μουσικών οργάνων ( Sunday, 17-Apr-22 10:00:00 EEST )

The accordion is an instrument that-according to data collected or updated in February 2022- is taught for the academic year 2021-2022, at least in 35 out of 51 Music Schools in Greece. As there is no curriculum for the Music Schools established by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the content, the goals and the method of the instrumental teaching, falls upon the judgement and the training of the teachers. At the same time, there is confusion as to the identity, the repertoire, the technique and the role of the particular instrument, which is treated either as an instrument of folk-traditional, or classical-European music, often without interchanges and communication between these two “fortresses”, as evidenced by preliminary contacts, conversations and interviews with the teachers. Both approaches share historical and theoretical foundations, contributing significantly to the ways and means of training a musician. However, they prove inefficient, as regards both supporting a substantial, integrated and self-sufficient study on the instrument, and keeping up with the demands of modern educational and social reality—a reality defined by multiculturalism, creative coexistence and pluralism.

Music education has so far been described as “cultural imperialism” (Dunbar-Hall & Wemyss, 2000), with its overriding concern being “how to do more efficiently what we already do: not the intent with which we do it; not the ends to which such doings lead” (Bowman, 2005). However, what needs to be done instead, is organizing and communicating knowledge and skills based on students' experiences, interests and needs, providing everyone with “opportunities to connect themes and ideas to music that they are familiar with” (de Villiers,2021). This procedure naturally affects the teacher, who should reflect on, and possibly revise, recreate and redefine his/her knowledge and self-perception, thus turning "active learning" into a mutually transformative experience.

The curriculum to be developed for the accordion, apart from decisions on subject material and its categorization into themes and levels, should, according to Richardson (2007), “deal with the larger issues of ethics, cultures and values, global interdependence, human dignity and freedom, excellence and inclusion”. This could be achieved through a holistic approach to music, beyond chronological, generic or territorial disunions, as an active intrapersonal and/or interpersonal experience, whose creative implications outline the framework for one to connect and interchange with the "world".

This paper attempts to build the theoretical framework of a developing curriculum for the Music Schools, through the critical exploration of the European and the Traditional approach to teaching the accordion, with a view to merging the "barriers" and breaking down the divisions.

Thus a "new identity" emerges for the instrument, the student, the teacher and the ensemble, not necessarily in the shape of a firm and concrete term like "European" or "Traditional", but in the form of developing a consciously critical stance that will have duration and will also reinvigorate and reform the social and historical context in which the instrument and the students/teachers/performers learn/teach/perform.

  • Ταυτότητες και ετερότητες στη μουσική και τη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Πλουραλισμός και ιεραρχίες αξιών στη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Ιδεολογίες και κοινωνικές-πολιτικές αξίες στα προγράμματα σπουδών μουσικής
  • Διδακτική μουσικών οργάνων και μουσικών συνόλων: φιλοσοφία, μεθοδολογίες και καλές πρακτικές
Keywords accordion, curriculum, Music School, multicultural education, identity
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Xenia Tseligka holds a BA in Music Studies from the National and Kapodistrean University of Athens, and an MA in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield in UK. She also holds conservatory degrees in European Music Theroy, (Harmony-Counterpoint-Fugue) and the Accordion (teaching and performance). She has attended courses, seminars and master classes with renowned artists, as well as seminars in Music Therapy, Special Education and Art Therapies. She has collaborated with various orchestras, ensembles and renowned artists. She has performed in many concerts and festivals, in theatrical performances and other events. At the same time, she continues to study the "Concert Accordion" (Bayan). She has been an accordion teacher in Music High Schools since 2010. From 2005 to 2010 she worked as a music teacher in general secondary education. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Macedonia. Her thesis topic is Teaching of the Accordion.