Letter from the AGQ to AMEB Head Office

Dear Sir,

The Accompanists Guild of Queensland has recently become aware of a surprising and misjudged policy adopted by the AMEB, of introducing recorded accompaniments for use in practical music exams “as an alternative to accompanists”.  As an association of professional accompanists, we are very concerned by this worrying initiative, and wish to strongly voice our disapproval of this decision.

While we recognise that recorded accompaniments may benefit students in the preparation and practice of pieces in some cases, the use of recorded “backing” in the actual examination can only provide a disservice to the young musicians.  For one thing, we do not believe that “the availability of accompanists has become an issue”, at least in the major centres.  All our members are competent and experienced musicians, and always help the soloists to perform at their best.

The AMEB should, on the contrary, encourage the use of accompanists in the examination room by not making it simply optional.  How can a nervous young student doing an exam for the first time for instance, feel that he/she is safe and secure when following a tape which will play “at the 100% tempo” without regard for tonal balance, and unresponsive to the candidate’s stage of technical development?  In more advanced cases, works which require good musical rapport between solo part and accompaniment can only be compromised and devoid of character and creative interpretation.

There are many other aspects of performance that can be affected without a real, live person, sensitive to nuances of interpretation, and supporting the solo candidate with commitment and sincerity.

We sincerely hope that the AMEB will reconsider their ill-advised decision and disregard this policy to demonstrate a more intelligent and understanding attitude towards ensemble playing, and to maintain some fundamental principles of good music-making in performance presentations.

Yours sincerely,

Regis Danillon

President

Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland, Inc.

Download and print the above letter penned by our President, Mr Regis Danillon

AGQ Youth Protection Policy

AGQ Youth Protection Policy

Statement of Commitment

The Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland Inc. is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people, including those who use our services. The Guild expects its members to always provide a safe and supportive environment, and our members are expected to treat children and young people with respect and understanding and aim to address their concerns at all times.
Members are advised to be aware of legal requirements for “Working with Children Check” (Blue Card).

Code of Conduct
Members of the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland agree that they will:
Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person, regardless of their abilities, gender, religion or cultural background;
Provide a safe and supportive environment for young people;
Refrain from using abusive, derogatory or offensive language; and
Impart knowledge and skills in a respectful and encouraging manner.

Masterclass for Young Accompanists 2014

Master Class for Young Accompanists August 2014
Words by Juanita Simmonds

On a Saturday afternoon in Brisbane, seven school-aged musicians took a turn at the piano to perform and rehearse live with a professional flautist in a Masterclass organised by the Accompanists Guild of Queensland.

The participants, aged between 12 and 18, are currently studying solo piano but have an interest in making music with others as piano accompanists or associate artists.

The soloist and instructor in this Masterclass was Mrs Janine Grantham, known in Queensland as an orchestral flautist, teacher and AMEB Senior Examiner with many years experience.

The event was open to members of the public, accompanists, and parents of the participants.  The audience observed Janine encouraging and shaping the musical ensemble.  She provided tips on how to work with a flute soloist on issues such as intonation, timing and entries in repertoire as varied as Schumann, Faure and “Blues at Eleven”.

Accompaniment masterclasses and workshops often are run by pianists and can tend to focus ultimately on piano technique.  This Masterclass was innovative in being facilitated by a soloist who can advise the pianist on typical balance problems with their solo instrument while helping to bring the duo together in an artistic and musically satisfying way.

The session was organised by the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland in response to interest from young pianists wanting to develop their skills of accompaniment.  President of the Guild, Mr Regis Danillon, said that the participants were keen and engaged with Mrs Grantham’s instruction and music making.

“The first accompaniment Masterclass was held in 2013 and was quite successful so we ran it again this year.  I think there is enough of a demand to continue this as a regular event in Brisbane’s musical calendar,” said Mr Danillon.

You can register your interest for the next Masterclass by emailing the Secretary of the Accompanists’ Guild of Qld, secretaryagq@gmail.com

Accompanists Guild of Queensland Inc.
http://www.accompanistsguildofqld.org