At the end of April, 2018, I headed to Castelfidardo, Italy for the first two tiers of accordion repair training at The Accordion Craft Academy. I arrived a few days before the repair seminars began so that I could get over any jet lag and have a little time to explore the town. Castelfidardo is considered to be the home of the accordion, with still around 40 accordion factories in the area. During the heyday of the accordion, there were hundreds. My rental apartment was just down the hill from the center of town. Not far, but all uphill. The old part of town was beautiful. Narrow ‘roads’ and lovely old buildings. All the restaurants were also quite nice. The town doesn’t get a lot of tourist traffic. People were very friendly, even if we didn’t understand each other that well. My Italian is still pretty rough at best.
By the time the repair seminars began, I was ready! The class consisted of 10 students from all over the globe. Two of us were from the US, two from Austria, one from South Korea (living in France), one from Belgium, one from Brazil, one from Canada/Sweden (half time each), and two from Italy. Class took place in Italian and English, but also slipped into German and French occasionally. It was a pretty wonderful group of people to spend 2 weeks with.
The first week focused on cleaning and general maintenance. We covered Disassembly and Assembly of our accordions as well as reed valve replacement, key adjustments, keyboard leveling, button adjustments, minor bass mechanism adjustments, bellows gasket replacement, etc. Each day was packed with 9 hours of information and skills. Nights were mostly getting some dinner and sleep. Although the academy provided us a very lovely party the last night of the seminar! Delicious food and wine amongst the bandoneon collection in the back of the Victoria accordion showroom. There was also some good accordion jamming going on after dinner.