Let the Hunt Begin!

September 10, 2021

The Free Bass Accordion program has been all but disappeared at the RCM in Toronto Ontario since 2008, but the only real saving grace is that they continue to offer the exams for it, something that I am hoping to possibly take advantage of, so though the big challenge is not just learning the info needed to pass the course, but actually finding the materials themselves!

A lot of the starting materials that I found in the syllabus are already out of print for many years, and companies like Waterloo Music publishing (Founded 1921, bought off in 2004), were the main publishers for the materials that the RCM used to help supply fellow musicians have access to those materials. Well, in 2004 they were bought out by St John’s Music, but the big loss is that they stock nothing for the accordion… not the hardware, not the accessories, and not one scrap of sheet music… much less a centralized location where I could find all materials to complete an accreditation in Free Bass accordion.

I’d find a hint here and there, but nothing solid, so after finding the 2008 RCM syllabus for Accordion, I at least found a list of requirements. Let the hunt begin! So I searched over Amazon, Waterloo, St. John’s music, eBay, Archambeault, Kijiji Canada, and many more… but nothing.

It was the nice lady from the RCM gave me a hint of where one of the books I needed were… it was, of all places in an online store located in Winnipeg Manitoba, a place that basically specialized in out of print music books, and so the order was placed for these 2 beauties! Coming around October 10-ish.

Uh-oh! These two above are NOT the books I wanted/ordered… these are for Stradella… oh no! OK the hunt for the 2 proper ones continues!!

After that, I received a pleasant little surprise. After looking in the 2008 RCM syllabus. in the section on “Technical Tests” I discovered that I had access to everything there for at least the first 5 or more exams all in one book, and this was a book from my RCM days, so I already had it!

Next on the list was a book from Dmitri Kabalevsky “35 Easy Pieces” Piano Edition, op. 89 and Google was a great help there… I found this one on the Indigo book store website and placed that order then and there! Ready for pickup around October 18-ish.

Update: Well that book NEVER ended up getting in and kept getting pushed so I just cancelled it and bought this book along with a 2nd book from the same author with 24 songs for me to additionally play with! They are to come within a few months… sometime in late December 2021… I hope.

There were only two more things needed to complete the list for Grade 1… and after sleuthing around through pages of google searches, I found the right combination of key words (again from the syllabus), and at the CMC as a paid download in PDF… format bonus!!

The one near impossible book to find was the required studies from Boris Borgstrom’s Graded Studies for Free-Bass Accordion, Grades 1-5 (this book also holds the Stradella versions but to grades 1-6). I just about gave up on it, but finally found a place that had it in digital format, so I paid for it and they sent it to me in an email… with the promise that when it comes out in print, I will be notified and can order the full book from them. Oh my goodness what a relief it was to finally be able to get this one, I had so many people searching for it and I must have spent 400-500 hours scouring the internet without success and had made the decision to just give up on the examination process all together… until now!!

And with that, I had rounded up everything that I needed for the first exam (once they all arrive!)

More to come as the books arrive… enjoy!