Imagine a place where hearts learn to sing. Where music floats through hallways, and where young and old alike join forces to discover and develop their creativity through the arts.

New York City offers that place, and now accordionists can join the ranks of the other musicians at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

Founded in 1897, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has been serving the New York musical community for over a century. Through their long-standing commitment to the highest quality in arts education, the Conservatory has the distinction of being one of the oldest and largest community music schools in the nation.

The Conservatory's Jazz Division, which was created in 1981, is the largest of any community school of the arts in the country. It offers private instruction, instrumental and vocal workshops, courses in jazz theory, jazz history, and improvisational skills, with classes geared for both the budding artist or the amateur enthusiast.

The accordion now joins the ranks of the other instruments being offered and students can now get a professional diploma in jazz accordion performance.

The accordion now belongs to the Keyboard department at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music under the direction of Victor Prieto, pictured above.

Program Information:

Programs: The Diploma Program offers a program of undergraduate study leading to the Professional Diploma, and a program of graduate study leading to the Graduate Diploma.

The Professional Diploma requires four years of full-time study. The prerequisite for entry into this program is a high school diploma or equivalent degree. Students are eligible to enter this program after having had appreciable musical training in the past.

The Graduate Diploma requires two years of full-time study. This program is open to students who have earned the Professional Diploma at the Brooklyn Conservatory or a comparable baccalaureate-level music degree or diploma from another recognized school, university, or conservatory.

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music is approved by the United States Department of Justice for the training of nonimmigrant foreign students. Since its establishment in 1959, the Diploma Program has welcomed students from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas for study at both the undergraduate (Professional) and graduate levels.

For answers to specific questions, please call the Conservatory at (718) 461-8910, or send e-mail to

Sample of Jazz Courses
  • Improvisational Skills I-II.
  • Private accordion instruction
  • Jazz Ensembles.
  • Jazz Comp and Arranging.
  • Ear TiningI-III.
  • Ensemble Performance Workshop
  • Chord scales
  • Orchestration etc.

For further information about the classes, please visit

Here is an example of the Jazz Major Diploma Program.
  • Private Lessons (accordion)
  • **Piano minor second instrument
  • Improvisational Skills
  • Jazz Composition & Arranging
  • Jazz Ear Training
  • Advanced Musicianship
  • Jazz History
  • Music History
  • Jazz Theory
  • Instrumental Workshop
  • Counterpoint
  • Harmony III
  • Orchestration III
  • Recital Preparation

    ** this means: That the piano is taken as a second instrument or you can change it for another subject.
Auditions and Placement
An audition is required. Applicants will perform for a faculty jury; the audition program must be specified on the Application Form and must satisfy the requirements as detailed below. Changes may be made only if the substituted work is at least equal in difficulty and scope to the one originally listed.

Following the audition, all applicants will take a placement test to determine their knowledge of harmony, counterpoint, sightsinging/ear training, and music history. An English proficiency exam will be given to those whose native language is not English. Students who do not satisfy the English proficiency requirements will be required to attend English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, which are offered at the Conservatory at no additional expense.

The results of the audition will be available at the time and date of registration, which is usually two days after the audition.

Students who do not meet all of the requirements for admission may be accepted on a provisional basis pending completion of remedial courses within a specified number of semesters. These additional courses may be taken within the Conservatory's Adult Division.

For both admitted and provisionally admitted students, credit may be granted for courses taken previously. If, however, the student's level of skill in any area is below that required for the comparable course at the Conservatory, the student will be required to take the course, regardless of previous study.

Should an application be rejected, the student may register in the Conservatory's Adult Division, where the level of skills may be brought up to that required for admission to the Professional Division. The Adult Division teachers will recommend admission to the Professional Division when the student demonstrates satisfactory proficiency in the requisite skills. A second audition will be scheduled on the next date that auditions for incoming students are to be held. A fee will not be required.

Foreign students holding a form I-20 are permitted to study in the Adult Division, provided such study is full-time.

If any additional course work beyond the normal diploma curriculum is required, every effort will be made to advise the student of the expense involved, and the amount of extra time necessary to complete the course of study.

Note: Those studying in the Conservatory's Adult Division who wish to study within the Professional Division, but who have not previously applied, must complete the application process, including payment of the application fee, as described above.
Audition Requirements for Jazz Performers on All instruments

Jazz Performers All instruments (Professional/Undergraduate): Jazz Performance applicants will be asked to play the "head" and to improvise several choruses of the following:

  • A standard ballad, such as In a Sentimental Mood, etc.
  • A medium-tempo bebop tune, such as Ornithology or Moose the Mooch
  • Technical material such as chord scales, arpeggio patterns etc.
How Do I Get Accepted?

A: There is an Information/Application Packet available at the front office, by mail, or by e-mail

This includes all the necessary forms and information, as well as the Diploma Programs Catalog. This is the best place to start.

You will need to submit

  • A completed Application Form
  • a recording of your work (audiocassette or CD)
  • a $25 application fee (nonrefundable)
  • a complete transcript of you previous college or high school records
  • School graduation certificate from either high school or college. All applicants for the Undergraduate (Professional Diploma) program must be high school graduates; all applicants for the Graduate Diploma program must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent in MUSIC.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

This material will be evaluated by the Admissions Committee and you will be notified of their decision within two weeks of your application. If you are accepted, you will need to appear for an Audition and Placement session; this will allow us to put you with the right teachers and course levels. The audition/placement sessions are held in late August and mid-late January.

For answers to specific questions, please call the Conservatory at (718) 461-8910, or send e-mail to

Victor Prieto - Accordion Faculty Teacher
Accordionist Victor Prieto, a recent addition to the New York music scene is keeping very busy and has gained a tremendous and popular following in Brooklyn and Manhattan and beyond. His varied repertoire is currently based in Original, Popular Standards and Jazz Tango.

Victor Prieto started his musical career at the age of nine, encouraged by his mother to concentrate studies into the accordion,Victor has now come a long way. Victor earned his classical music diploma earned in the Professional Classical Music Conservatory of Orense. (Conservatorio Profesional de Musica de Orense).

Although this accordion background focused on classical training, Victor always aimed for the contemporary freedom in the Jazz idiom. He studied Jazz at Estudio Escola de Musica in Santiago de Compostela.

As the accordion faculty teacher of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Victor is available to accordion players who apply to assist in any way is possible to make the application process as easy as possible.

Victor points out that students of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music will have an exciting opportunity to live in New York, where they will be immersed into the biggest musical environment in the world. On any given day, there are more than 30 jam sessions and countless concerts and master classes that will help students to improve musical skills while networking into the exciting musical world found in the Big Apple.

What they are saying about Victor:
"The Accordion at its best.......... All the musicians are the cream of the crop, such as Spanish accordion great Victor Prieto" reports the New York Post.

It is always amazing when musicians connect on a higher level than notes and rhythms, when they can combine the best of their past experience with an openness to the new. Such is the case with this formation. A duo formed of Carlo DA Rosa on bass and Victor Prieto on accordion. The two have found an unlikely chemistry, and have created a vibrant sound in a way that no body would have expected.
For more information please contact Victor Prieto:
Cell Phone: 917-535-6855