Many pro pianists are also seen singing soles on their pianos and keyboards. They find it more fun and engaging to play and sing by themselves. However when you consider accompanying a singer with your piano playing skills, it would be much easier. Keeping in to account the fact that you will be playing with someone else, you should have certain qualities in order to become a better accompaniment for the singer. Accompanying a singer is surely a beneficial skill that includes a set of fundamentals that you must take in to account. The tips that we have shared here will prepare you for playing with a singer and would give you strength of being a good accompanist.
Some Simple Tips to Follow:
Accompanying a singer is not something that just needs you to be a good pianist but it needs some special skills and tricks to be successful.
1. Do not try to lead all the doors:
When it comes to accompanying a singer, pianists often make the mistake of thinking the show as their own. The responsibility of an accompanist is not to win over the audiences of the show but his aim should be to make the singer sound beautiful with the music of his piano. Do not ever let your ego come in between. You are not supposed to be the center of attention of the show but the singer is and should be prime attention of audiences. Remember that and half of the problems will be solved!
2. Prior Practices with Singer:
It is always a good idea to practice well before the show with your singer. Let the singer voice the melody with words as you play it over your piano. Solo singer would have some preferences for emphasis on slow and faster tones according to requirement of song and thus you need to set the tempo according to his/her preferences. A rhythm must be decided and note that decision of adopting a style of singing must be confined with singer only and you do not need to interfere in that. Ask questions related to tempo, rhythm, style and other aspects that you need to know in order to deliver best work for him.
3. Sight Reading is Crucial:
In order to do well with being an accompanist to a singer, you should be proficient in sight reading. Pickup various sheets and exercises to practice sight reading on regular basis if you wish to enhance your skills as an accompanist.Practice a number of different songs with varied beats, themes, styles and signatures. With practice, you will become familiar with these aspects of most of the songs and it will be easier for you.
4. Practice Chords Well:
Learning to play chords and their functioning is pivotal for good piano practices. An accompanist must be good at chords and its symbols. He should be well acquainted with chord shifting and inversion so that he could play well with both hands swiftly without breaking in between a song. It is okay to have some voicing that wouldn’t reach the part and every day is not a Sunday; so don’t be discouraged. Every time try to learn as you work out with something new while accompanying and that is how you will be able to learn more and improvise your skills.
5. Don’t Stress Out as it will show:
As said earlier, many a times you will be sight reading some pieces for the first time and you may not have the chance of practicing with singer before. In such cases it is okay if you are not able to hit each and every note. You can leave some challenging parts that you feel that may break the drive of the song. Do not take chances while singer is performing on stage. If you are able to play all the rhythmic cues at once swiftly without taking chances, you surely are an expert but it may not be the case every time. So when that is the case, follow the rhythmic section and give correct baseline for singer.
6. You should be following your Singer:
A singer is not supposed to follow you but it is the job of the pianist to follow him. Be committed and willing to follow your solo singer. You might not have heard a piece of song ever before in your life and seriously listening to your singer would prove beneficial for both of you. Follow the interpretation of the song that your singer is carrying along and following.
In order to avoid problems during performance or at any later stage, it is best to act proactively and ask all the queries that you have in mind related to a performance of accompanying a singer. If you are unsure of some challenging parts, if you are not clear about interpretation or anything related to the song for that matter; clarify your queries by asking and singer will surely appreciate your interest and dedication towards his show. Following these simple tips and with practice for improvement on a regular basis, you will be able to make things move smoothly for you and your singer.