Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1254237 - 08/22/09 08:14 PM school accompanist questions
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Anyone teaching choir in the schools? Do you accompany your group(s) or do you have an accompanist?
I posted something like this in the Corner as well but would like teachers'/directors' perpectives very much please.

What do you expect from your accompanist:
1. do you expect him to sightread?
2. Do you expect him to play all vocal parts plus the accompaniment at the same time during rehearsals? Or do you teach the parts a capella, then add the accompaniment in?
I have accompanied choirs for several years and put in a ton of practice work before rehearsals, learning the vocal parts with the accompaniment, which is very hard for me.
Any advice/suggestions? Thank you!
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#1254245 - 08/22/09 08:32 PM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: Barb860]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I prefer to make a midi file and conduct, at least for rehearsals. I also place backing tracks on the internet for students to download.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1254332 - 08/22/09 11:47 PM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: keyboardklutz]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I prefer to make a midi file and conduct, at least for rehearsals. I also place backing tracks on the internet for students to download.


Interesting. Did you know there are conductor programs like Tapper, that take a midi file and let you advance it at your own tempo by tapping one key?
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1254365 - 08/23/09 01:14 AM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: TimR]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think the idea is always to get the best artistic result from the available resources.

Ideally, we'd all have a fantastic pianist who can read accompaniment and parts at sight on a nice grand piano; and the pianist would also be a vocalist and conductor who really knows the ins and outs of choral work. (I know someone like this, and he's fantastic.)

Unfortunately, those people are in very short supply, so when you don't have a swiss-army-knife pianist available, you work with your pianist's strengths. If they're not strong readers, just have them play LH or work with the choir a capella (they need to learn how to sing in tune anyway, without the accompaniment as a crutch!)

That being said, as a pianist, I've developed a bit of a hierarchy as to what works best. The indispensables are:

1) The bass line - without this, the rehearsal will be a disaster. The singers tune to it, and it provides the foundation for the harmony. If a pianist can't give you a strong bass line, it's better to have no pianist at all.

2) Individual vocal lines - you'll need parts. Contrary to popular opinion, I've never found it necessary to be able to read all 4 parts open score - if you can catch the bass part and the other parts' entrances, that's usually enough. It's particularly important to play the tenor and alto parts, as the sopranos can usually figure things out on their own. It's also extremely helpful if you can predict where the problems are going to be. 7th leaps, close intervals, suspensions, odd harmonies, etc... Singers need help with the funny stuff; the obvious stuff usually takes care of itself.

3) Full accompaniment - for performance, this is all you really need. The better you play, the better the choir sounds. The idea is firm support - you have to follow without being ahead, and you have to be loud enough to hold them up without overpowering them.

So if you can cover those three things, you're in good shape.

And a word about conductors - the best conductors are the ones who care about tone and intonation. They know about vowel shaping, how to place consonants, good diction, and breath support.

A quick story:

I worked regularly with a conductor who was VERY good, and we got along very well. One day I show up to rehearsal and he had chosen a complicated baroque work with an extremely difficult piano part. I had no time to prepare and knew that it wasn't sight-reading material. I simply told him "this isn't reading material, but I can catch parts one or two at a time." He said "okay," and proceeded to rehearse the group with a variety of techniques that did NOT rely on the piano.

I mention this because a good choral conductor doesn't need a pianist to carry the rehearsal. A good choral conductor could manage a good rehearsal with no pianist, 25 sopranos, 4 altos, 9 basses, no tenors, one arm, no lights, and a sore throat. In my experience, the conductors who rely on accompaniment the most in rehearsal are the ones who need it the most and are lost without it. The worst conductor I ever worked with demanded I play all the parts because he himself couldn't sight-sing the bass line or hear when the sopranos were singing the wrong note. (The choir eventually asked him to step down - thank goodness!)

Bottom line - regardless of what a conductor expects from an accompanist and vice-versa, you're rarely going to get exactly what you want. The best musicians play off each others' strengths and know how to adapt. When that doesn't happen, you just put on your professional game face, do the job as best you can, take your money and run.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#1254371 - 08/23/09 01:25 AM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: Kreisler]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Thanks, Kreisler, great comments and helpful to me. I guess I would be in the category of playing for a conductor who does not sight-sing well, and freely admits that. It's a school situation and the director is a band director who was asked to take on the choir as well. I have to play all parts to keep the kids on pitch.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1254373 - 08/23/09 01:36 AM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: Barb860]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Barb860
I guess I would be in the category of playing for a conductor who does not sight-sing well, and freely admits that. It's a school situation and the director is a band director who was asked to take on the choir as well. I have to play all parts to keep the kids on pitch.
In that case I wouldn't lose any more sleep over trying to play parts and accompaniment. Play the parts until they're fairly secure and gradually wean them off it. And the choir director should be very grateful he has you!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1254420 - 08/23/09 06:46 AM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: TimR]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I prefer to make a midi file and conduct, at least for rehearsals. I also place backing tracks on the internet for students to download.


Interesting. Did you know there are conductor programs like Tapper, that take a midi file and let you advance it at your own tempo by tapping one key?
Thanks, I'll check it out.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1254452 - 08/23/09 09:11 AM Re: school accompanist questions [Re: keyboardklutz]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
I recommend a youtube performance of the Bach Fugue in G Minor by smalin.

It appears to be a piano performance with graphics. But if you read the fine print, it's actually a midi controlled by Tapper.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
134 registered (Alkanaut, 36251, accordeur, Almaviva, ando, 42 invisible), 1428 Guests and 49 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74256 Members
42 Forums
153602 Topics
2251232 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Action regulating
by pater57
04/20/14 08:59 AM
Kurzweil SP5-8 as main studio keyboard/stage piano
by Barty
04/20/14 08:33 AM
Greg Pauley in Concert June 1st, Sunday 3:30pm
by Larry Buck
04/20/14 07:58 AM
Happy Easter!
by Marko in Boston
04/20/14 06:58 AM
Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95
by wolferblade
04/20/14 04:55 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission