When to start Accompaniment 2

Jaclyn O., Tennessee

When is too early to incorporate Accompaniment 2? I have a student (my lead student) who has just finished Accompaniment 1. He has done a phenomenal job with it and has loved the challenge of the final Danny Boy. We have also done some Accompaniment Variations along the way. He’s currently in Foundation Level 4 and we’re a good way through Reading Notes. He LOVES accompaniment. and I really think he’s ready to be more challenged by it, using inversions, etc. But when reviewing the Accompaniment 2 materials I see that we should start Jazz before Accompaniment 2. Jazz is the only special program I haven’t purchased, as I haven’t had anyone reach that point yet. So I don’t know what all it involves.

My question is, how essential is it to start Jazz before Accompaniment 2? With this particular student, do you think it would be okay to go ahead and start Accompaniment 2 and pick up Jazz a little later? If not, any ideas as to how we can keep Accompaniment alive with new projects? I’ve pulled a few chord charts from the web of some modern worship songs that he likes. I can certainly keep doing that, finding things in a variety of keys.

I’m just wondering what others do during that large gap between Accompaniment 1 and 2 besides just Accompaniment Variations. And if you have any favorite materials/online sources for chord charts, preferably free ones, but I’m open to any and all suggestions.

Laurie Richards, Nebraska

I recommend waiting to introduce Acc 2 and spend time with a variety of accompaniment projects in the meantime. Students can choose songs they like as projects. Also, I have all my students purchase a fake book to work from. They typically have a wide range of difficulty levels and a LOT of songs. Here are some that I use regularly:

  • Disney Fake Book
  • The Ultimate Broadway Fake Book
  • The Ultimate Fake Book for C Instruments
  • Beatles Fake Book
  • The Ultimate Pop Rock Fake Book (1955-2000)

I’m sure there are Christian fake books as well.

Try to find YouTube videos in the same key as the chart for students to play along with. Some songs have more challenging rhythms that your student can try. He can try to learn intros, incorporate the Accompaniment Variations – especially the last several if he wants more of a challenge, try some different styles like playing broken chords or experimenting with extra notes. Also, if there is a singer he can actually accompany, that is quite valuable.

Regarding Jazz Clues, I always begin it first before Acc 2, but some do begin Acc 2 first. They do have some common concepts – ‘dropping in’ with accompaniment and rhythm tracks. I would caution against diving into inversions so soon after completing Acc 1. It typically serves the student much more to gain a lot of accompaniment experience in root position first, which is why I utilize fake books.

Also, don’t forget about Elizabeth Gaikwad’s series of accompaniment books available in the Supplemental Programs. Songs for Children, Songs for Everyone, Songs for Christmas. All great accompaniment resources!

Missy M., Iowa

To me, Acc 2 makes more sense before Jazz. I feel like Jazz is such a big jump, especially in the reading.