Managing Individual Accompaniment Projects
Found in: Accompaniment
Mark M., New York
At what point do you starting allowing students within a group to be working on different accompaniment projects from each other, i.e., one’s they’ve chosen for themselves and that not everyone is required to learn? How do you manage the process of students working on different pieces?
Sheri R., California
Students can start working on their own pieces as soon as they feel ready, depending on the complexity of the outside projects. Sometimes I bring in other songs right away that give them more variety with consolidating the I, IV, and V. Once they can play Amazing Grace with C, F, and G, they can play other songs with just those three chords as well, so that is an example of bringing in outside material almost immediately.
Once students understand the concept of inheriting, after learning the minor chords, they can be encouraged to find songs they like. Even if they have not completed the Accompaniment program, if they love to sing and love to play accompaniments but the class may not be ready to move along at the same speed, they can learn more songs on their own, with help as needed. Students involved in musical theatre already know a lot of songs they can accompany themselves with.
Whenever students are working on outside material I ask them to bring the song or book to class and we’ll look at the song together. If there is an unknown chord we’ll talk about it as a class. It helps reinforce the concepts for everyone.
Get America Singing is a book I often use as a supplement to the Accompaniments program, and usually before they are done with the Accompaniments book. This way they can see right away some practical applications, namely, how they can play on their own just about anything because they know the foundation of chords.
Nicole O., California
I have students start bringing in their own pieces when they start learning Danny Boy in Db. Because most accompaniment pieces have only 3 to 5 different chords in them, we’ll talk about the chords, where they are on the piano, the shape, etc. and everyone will learn the chords, BUT only the student who brought the piece in, will go home and process it. Because my classes have usually 2 to 3 students in them, we’ll cover everyone’s chords one week, then the next week, we’ll get into the ratio. I’ll usually only assign each student a small section of their piece. It takes time to actually complete one “outside” accompaniment piece, but by the time they get to singing it, they usually have it memorized and look forward to playing it at the next performance.