Learn by Yourself

Contributions on learning the bandoneon were provided by many volunteers, members of the bandoneon list. Thank you for this valuable work!

NOTE: A self study can't be a substitute of a teacher. It is particularly important to have at least introductory classes. If you get used to bad habits, it is very hard to revert the situation.

General Advice

First of all, you should carefully decide the keyboard system to be learned. This depends on the music you want to play and the sheet music you will use.

The decision also depends on the instrument you have got. Basically you may use any layout as long as its tonal range is sufficient. Be aware that the fingering is different among the systems and, perhaps some chords are easier to play on one system compared with an other. However, if you are member of an ensemble with other bandoneons, it would be a huge advantage to have a common system.

After that you start learning the 4 keyboards, which is for most of us, very time demanding. It is not a surprise that students try to find ways to shorten the process. In this place contributions from people giving their experience are presented: keyboard layout, chord tables, learning tools, and also a game!

But at the same time you need some success. Besides some technical training you should start playing easy pieces with a narrow tonal range.

Beginners' exercises for piano are a good alternative if you don't have original ones.

You can learn fairly fast using only one hand. Learn all the notes for both bellow senses and by separate. The coordination of both hands simultaneously is far more difficult. While you progress learning the keys you can choose exercises with more notes. Later play simple but real pieces to learn the handling of the bellow. The bellow is not an air pump and has a prominent importance in getting the real sound. All the first exercises should be played as legato. To learn this you may play a scale holding every note as long as you can but with constant intensity. Imagine you are playing a cello. Always check if your are completely relaxed!

  1. find a comfortable sitting position and avoid a rigid body
  2. press the buttons with the finger tips deep to the bottom by moving only the lids
  3. don't press the button near the edge
  4. avoid lifting the fingers too much, they must be kept close to the keyboard
  5. work each exercise by separate hands. First learn one hand and then the other.
    Once you are sure with each part, start playing both hands together
  6. don't go to the next exercise until you are not secure with the preceding
  7. the fragment which causes the greatest difficulties has to be studied by separate
  8. every exercise has to be played in the indicated tempo. You must reach the final part with the same speed as you started
  9. since the fingers 4 and 5 are the weakest, use them more frequently to make them as strong as number 2 and 3
  10. don't work more hours as you can support and divide the time making recreation periods for the muscles and the brain

Learn the Keyboard