During the Bulgarian Folk Music and Dance seminar in Plovdiv in the summer of 2018 I had the opportunity to study accordion with Borislav Zgurovski. Normally I would attend the singing classes at the seminar, and just for fun take a couple of accordion lessons, because this is the instrument I learned to play as a child. But although I’ve been an admirer of Bulgarian accordion music ever since I was 14, I had never been able to come to a point of understanding how to play this music myself. This changed when I became Borislav’s student. He is not only a brilliant musician, but also a dedicated, inspiring, adaptive and patient teacher, who obviously likes teaching a lot and creates a nice atmosphere in the group, so that you feel at ease at once. Borislav has great knowledge of the Bulgarian and Balkan music and is an admirer of the old masters and founders of the Bulgarian folklore like Boris Karlov. In his lessons you come close to the roots of the Bulgarian folk music, which is very nice, because nowadays the Bulgarian music is influenced by many other styles. Unlike what I was used to, he was teaching many of the pieces by ear. For me this was a new, but very effective way of learning music. You are able to benefit from both hearing and watching him playing, and thereby train your listening and playing skills very well, while playing along with the master. Borislav chooses the pieces he’s teaching very carefully, so that you don’t study too many difficulties at the same time, and you can exercise a lot on the specifics of the piece and style. He gives clear instructions about the ornamentations, and is very precise in the fingering, which is essential in this style of music, especially when the tempi become higher. What I liked a lot is that his lessons were very lively and intense. Because of his excellent didactics, you’re working ‘time on task’ 60 minutes in a hour, which was very motivating and made it a real musical experience. At the end of the week I counted 25 hours of instructions and exercising, and learned and understood many of the basics of the Bulgarian folklore. I was also highly motivated and inspired to improve my skills at home. During the seminar Borislav referred to his website for accordionists and after a few months I decided to download my first lesson. Each lesson contains an instruction video in which he plays the piece very slowly and part by part. This is filmed at close range so that you can both see and hear exactly what he’s doing. Borislav made unique and detailed scores in which he worked out all the ornaments and the fingering which you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Borislav is also a professional sound engineer and made high quality mp3 recordings of the pieces on which he is playing the pieces himself. Of course there are many ways in which you can study with this material. For me studying with the Forscore app on the Ipad turned out to be very effective. In this app you can upload the score as a pdf file and attach the mp3 so that you can play along with the recording. You can adjust the tempo to your instruction level, and also select parts of the piece. Also difficult bars can be studied by creating a loop. This gives you a lot of possibilities to exercise and challenge yourself to improve you skills. It will also help you to learn and understand the amazing left hand skills he’s demonstrating. I can highly recommend Borislav as a teacher. He is offering Skype lessons at the moment, which I would advise you to start with if you’re not yet familiar with Bulgarian music. For more advanced students, both Skype lessons and the scores of BG accordion are helpful, depending on what you want to learn. Last but not least. Borislav is fluent in English .
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