The Finnish Association for Accordion Teachers was founded in 1975. Its purpose is to make accordion music better known among citizens of all kinds, to promote and develop the playing and especially teaching of the accordion in Finland and to maintain and develop intercommunication with both domestic and foreign organisations for music teachers.
The association’s activities include organising various courses and seminars, concert activities, liaising with associations and organisations promoting accordion playing and music teaching in general, acting as an expert on issues concerning the teaching of accordion playing and updating its members about its activities.
At the moment, the association’s most important and most visible job is to organise the annual “Minä soitan harmonikkaa…” nationwide accordion competition for children and youth in collaboration with the Finnish Accordion Institute and Finland’s Accordion Association (Suomen Harmonikkaliitto). This event is organised in a different town every year, and local parents’ associations and other volunteers are involved in its organisation. Every year there are over 100 participants and the skill level in the higher series is extremely high, even internationally. The ages of the participants range from 5-6 to young people of 15-16 who have almost reached professional level.
The association’s training activities for members include the weekend-long Autumn Seminar.
The association has been publishing the Free Reed magazine, but currently communication, dialogue and the exchange of ideas take place via its website and mailing list.
The ordinary members accepted into the Association for Accordion Teachers are people who have completed an accordion teacher qualification, and student members accepted are students studying the accordion at a university or university of applied sciences. The association also has honorary and supporting members.
In addition to its other activities, the association has published works composed for pedagogic purposes. Most of these were originally published as compulsory pieces for the “Minä soitan harmonikkaa…“ competition, and thus have been premiered by numerous talented young musicians.
The association’s chairpersons through the ages:
1975 – 1982 Matti Rantanen
1982 – 1986 Sirkka Kelopuro
1986 – 1990 Helka Kymäläinen
1990 – 1994 Ari-Matti Saira
1994 – 1996 Reijo Ahonen
1996 – 1998 Anne-Marie Sillanpää
1998 – 2002 Seppo Valkeajoki
2003 – 2009 Sanna Saarinen
2009 – 2015 Eero Nissinen
2015 – Raimo Vertainen