Valentina Jotovic 5 min read

Acclaimed College Professor Joins Hunterdon Academy of the Arts!

We are thrilled to have appointed Robert McMahan to the faculty of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts!  A long-standing full-time Professor of Music at The College of New Jersey, Dr. McMahan is one of the foremost authorities on the classical accordion in the United States.  We are very fortunate to have him on board to teach what he is so passionate about: accordion lessons!

Yes, accordion lessons! Few instruments are as versatile, and historically fascinating, as the accordion, which originated in the 1820s in Europe and in various countries has since enjoyed extraordinary popularity. Even in the United States, where the instrument has led a particularly troubled existence, the accordion was at one time the instrument of choice!  From today's vantage point, it's hard to believe that, as Mark Bennett put it on, "during the Great Depression, accordions were as plentiful as electric guitars in the 21st century."  Following its heyday, however, the accordion gave way to Rock music in the 1960s and 70s, which at that time had no use for its characteristic sound.  Concurrently, a series of comedians on national TV mercilessly ridiculed the accordion and those who played it, the accordionists, all of which contributed to the steep decline of this once so vital and beloved music instrument. The accordion and its players became "un-cool" over night, but fortunately, that is now changing.

There is, finally, renewed interest in the accordion among younger generations in the U.S., and Hunterdon Academy of the Arts is very happy to be at the forefront of these developments with its newly launched accordion lesson program. 

In other parts of the world--notably, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, and South America--the accordion is as alive and well as ever.  Why would it not be, in light of its many wonderful features?  Made in an endless variety of shapes, accordions are used prominently in many different musical genres, be it folk, classical music, jazz, rock (!), or even heavy metal (!), as illustrated by the exciting YouTube clips further below.  Additionally, as a keyboard instrument, the accordion has some of the same capabilities as the piano and organ, and is extremely versatile in performance, starring as a "one-man-band" or blending seamlessly into ensembles of all sizes.  In the hands of the right musician, the accordion can be breathtakingly virtuosic! 


To schedule a Free Trial Accordion Lesson with Professor McMahan, please call our office at (908) 782-4943.