As a professional accordionist Katheryn Petersen is a contemporary game changer. She enjoys and has studied traditional forms on the accordion including Tango, Roma, Blues, Classical, Americana music and more, but she has also devoted countless hours to developing and mastering a useable system for playing jazz chords in both hands. She has worked as a session player for indy artists as well as for Theatre, Film and TV. She enjoys teaching a range of students and is an active board member of the Accordion Noir Society of Vancouver.

As a teacher she respects and encourages her students to find their own way of relating to the instrument, while still passing along the priceless fundamentals that she learned while studying full time for three years with Croatian classical virtuoso Jelena Milojevic. As a teacher, player and yogi, Katheryn is fascinated by the importance of body and mind awareness in the process of learning and of creating.

Katheryn offers private lessons throughout the year.

She also offers group workshops at through Jam Camp and the moveable music school SONGBIRDS.

Katheryn will be facilitating at JAM CAMP BY THE SEA this summer, between August 19 and 24th. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to immerse themselves in a week long celebration of music and community.

Workshops offered through Songbirds are listed below.

If you would like to contact Katheryn’s about her lessons or workshops please go to the contact page at this website where you will find a form to send a message.

Testimonial for Katheryn Petersen:

“It is difficult to get away with doing something different on the accordion, but every time you see her she is breaking in a different ‘different’.” – Rowan Lipkovitz, Accordion Noir Festival, Vancouver

“Her cohesive act included the visual aspect of her costume and engaged the audience with a wide variety of music, maintaining a nostalgic and magical mood well suited to the tone of the event.  I, as event organizer, as well as the audience, enjoyed her act immensely.” – Susan Marczak, Eastside Culture Crawl Organizer

“Her professionalism was valued and she brought a special touch to the material that gave it real life for the audiences. The flair she brings to her performances, both through costume and presence, are a great asset to have on board.” – Joanna Chapman-Smith

“My favorite performer of the evening.” – Penelope Mulligan, Discorder


Workshop #1 – Accordion Technique Basics: Bellows and Beyond

Beginner to Intermediate Level – 75 minutes, $20/person, min. 5 people.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the piano accordion is that you play the keys like piano keys. Despite the common appearance of the keyboard, there is a huge difference in the mechanic and technique used to create the sound. With the accordion the bellows are the heart of the instrument, giving shape, volume and quality to the sound which is created by air pressure. As such accordion keys are pressed, not hit, like a piano. To make music with the accordion the bellows are the first and last thing that you pay attention to. Learning to play with good pressure, to phrase well, and to end notes well are technique basics that will provide a solid foundation for you to develop as an accordionist. Beginner to Intermediate Players. 75 minutes, $20/person, min. 5 people.

Workshop #2 – Standard Jazz Chords and Comping Accordion

Intermediate to Advanced Level – 75 minutes, $20/person, min. 5 people.

Contemporary music is highly influenced by jazz and as a contemporary accordionist it is critical to have a solid working knowledge of standard jazz chords in both hands. Playing in an ensemble one of your jobs will be comping as part of the rhythm section. In addition to being able to play through standard jazz chords, it is important to have a good repertoire of comping styles. This workshop will give you exercises and ideas that will help you bump up your game to include fluency with jazz chords and to solidify your comping patterns. We will examine the role of the body in having solid time.

Workshop #3 – Soloing on the Accordion: Blues, Roma and Jazz

Intermediate to Advanced Level – 75 minutes, $20/person, min. 5 people.

This workshop will address the basic theoretical aspects of soloing on the accordion in several genres. It will also look at the importance of how listening can connect the mind, body and instrument in song. To make a solo that moves people involves an act of innocence and letting go that is difficult to arrive at especially if you are worried about hitting the right notes and your accordion bellows are stretched to the limit. We will talk about strategies and real life situations and explore ways to get closer to the source while still keeping it together.

Workshop #4 – Yoga and Asana for Musicians

45-75 minutes (depending on participants needs), financed by donation.

Vedic text explains that the beginning of the universe was the sound of Ohm. As musicians we have a special relationship to sound and the focus it takes to control that amazing power. I endeavor to offer asana to musicians to help alleviate overuse issues and to build strength and alignment in mind and body. I endeavor to offer a playful and safe environment to connect more deeply to the source of the sound within.

These workshops are offered through the SONGBIRDS TRAVELLING MUSIC SCHOOL.