Here's a post on one of my promised topics. The voice recital I accompanied for. *Cue cool announcement music or whatever it's called*
First of all, I want to say that it went awesome. Every single student did a fantastic job and blew me away with their beautiful performance. And I loved every minute of it. Well, come to think of it there might have been a few couple-second intervals of mild panic on my part but that doesn't matter right now and I didn't really need to tell you that.
And next, I'm going to say something that you've probably already heard if you're familiar with any kind of musical instrument. Merely playing the piano and accompanying are two totally and completely different things. When you're playing the piano, you are responsible for the music that is in front of you, or in some cases, in your head. Right? You can concentrate your full attention solely on your fingers and you don't have any other distractions (hopefully).
On the other hand, when you are accompanying a singer, you can't concentrate solely on yourself or you can be sure that you will be fired. Immediately. You see, when a singer comes on the scene, the center of attention shifts from you, the pianist, to them, the vocalist. Therefore, you must concentrate your full attention on the singer.
Okay, okay, you're saying to yourself. I get it. So what?
Well, I haven't gotten to the good part yet. Concentrating completely on the singer involves many things, including the following:
You must always be super-alert in case the singer decides to do something interesting, such as:
Making up notes that you are fairly certain were not the music. Changing the rhythm until it isn't even a rhythm anymore, or at least, not one you've ever heard of. Using dynamics that are the exact opposite of what they did at the practice dates. Forgetting the words and skipping to completely different part of the song while you scramble madly to figure out where on earth they're going to land. Or worst of all, stopping singing completely, leaving you to wonder frantically if you should stop or keep going.
Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. Just the things I could come up with at the moment.
Anyway, to make a long story short, accompanying is certainly a skill. One that you can only obtain with experience and PRACTICE. But let me tell you, once you get it, it's amazing. It's one of my most favorite things to do in the whole world.
I should probably stop talking now. Thanks for reading my scribbles.