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Five top tips on how to work with your accompanist

3 years ago
Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson is an internationally renowned Performance Coach with an expertise in moving musicians through issues with performance anxiety & physical tension.

A good working relationship with your accompanist can make a huge difference to the success of your exam, so here are some top tips to consider:

Give the accompanist the piano parts well in advance

Your accompanist may be very busy, playing for lots of different people in exams or concerts, so giving them advance notice is doing them a real service, enabling them to plan and to practise, especially if you are taking one of the higher grades or diplomas. It is good for you too, because you want your accompanist to be on top of their part so that they can support you as well.

Get to know what’s happening musically

Look at the piano part in detail so you know what the accompanist is playing. If you play the piano, give it a go and see how much you can play yourself. Or, listen to a recording if you have access to one, so you hear both parts. Try playing or singing from the piano part so you have a sense and a feel for what they will be playing. This will speed up your learning and make your rehearsals very much more efficient.

Make sure you create enough time to rehearse

Even if you are comfortable with your own part, putting it together with the piano will feel different and less familiar. Rehearsing will give you the chance to know the music well and start feeling more comfortable in your new duo.

Make sure you rehearse well in advance

This will give you security and confidence which will help you with your nerves on the day of the exam. It will also ensure you are on top of your part well in advance and that can only be good.

Your accompanist is there to support you!

They may be your teacher or your head of department, so you might already know them and that can help. But even if you don’t know them in advance, rehearsing with them will give you great security. They can also be a great support to you on the day – you will be going into the exam room with someone else on your side!



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