Some Tips for Piano Accompanists

SOME TIPS FOR PIANO ACCOMPANISTS
By STEPHEN CHIN
• Always attempt to get your music well ahead of time.  Reference to a recording can be most helpful.

• Development of good sight reading skills is extremely important yet fun!

• Do lots of “easy” pieces when starting out to boost your confidence.

• Check bars numbers, rehearsal figures and repeats – they can vary between editions

• Never be afraid to edit.  Accompaniments fit roughly into three categories – good, difficult and impossible.

• Try to devise musical cuts for long introductions or interludes. Be sure that the phrasing and harmony makes sense.

• Maintain good eye contact with your associate artist.

• If your associate artist gets lost, try to play their line with your bass line part until a recovery is made.

• If YOU get lost, try to maintain one hand – usually the bass line.

• Always follow the solo part and be as familiar with it as you can.

• Endeavour to match phrasing where possible.

• Be wary of fluctuating rhythms – easier sections for the solo part tend to rush and more difficult ones can slow down considerably.

• From time to time, it may be beneficial for you to help your associate artist pitch their notes.  This can take time but must not dominate the rehearsal.

• Practise faster pieces faster than the required tempo just in case your associate artist wishes to go at a brighter pace.
• Be prepared for bars, lines or even pages that are skipped.

• Read at least one bar ahead – the more the merrier!

• It is important to note that instrumentalists especially string players use a different tuning system to the piano’s equal temperament tuning.  The lowest string on an instrument will usually have to be sharpened a little.

• A D Minor chord is standard for an instrumentalist to tune to.  However, violins and basses may tune to a DEGA cluster, whilst cellists and violists may like a CDGA cluster.

• Dynamics must be carefully observed but be aware of tonal balance at all times.  For instance a piece may be marked forte in both parts but if you are accompanying an eighth size violin, adjustments obviously have to be made.

• Page turns need to be addressed – it is fine to make a copy of a page if the turn is difficult.  There are some electronic tablets that can display an image by tapping the foot on a pedal.

• Try to develop good transposition skills.  Often singers like to try pieces in different keys.  Baroque instrumentalists will usually play down a semitone.
• Beginnings and endings of pieces need to be thoroughly rehearsed.

• Regular practise with a metronome is essential.  The keyboard part is like the foundations of a building and needs to be solidly supportive.

• Familiarise yourself with a wide range of styles – e.g. Contrapuntal, Rock, Latin, Jazz, etc

• Observe proper etiquette – your associate artist should acknowledge you and the conclusion of a work.  If you are playing a sonata with musically equal parts, then you should take a bow together.
PRINT – SOME TIPS FOR PIANO ACCOMPANISTS – By Mr Stephen Chin

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Please download our Membership Form for renewal and to join as a new member.

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Scan and email or post to the Guild Secretary at

secretaryagq@gmail.com

Accompanists’ Guild of Qld Inc.

P.O. Box  3323

Newmarket Q  4051

Call the Guild President – Mr Regis Danillon on 07 3399 7998

AGQ Workshops

Workshops for Budding Piano Accompanists


An initiative of the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland Inc

Seize the moment! Come and enjoy a fun-filled workshop with Lynne Sterling Jordan, President of the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland. Perfect for Secondary School students with a burgeoning piano department.

Her work spans many genres, including solo/orchestral/associate artist recitals, with national and international musicians, opera, operetta, music theatre, ballet, teaching, adjudicating and examining – even playing dinner music in her student days!!

She has many tales to share with you and enjoys encouraging the young accompanists of the future.

See you there, and look forward to meeting you all.

Lynne Sterling Jordan.

Minimum of three students required for the class to take place

Masterclass of 1 hr 30 mins

Please contact Lynne to book a class

Tel: 3398 4407   Email: secretaryagq@gmail.com