The Coach’s Corner: Part 5 – Tempo & the Accompanist

BY JOSHUA FINKEL

Here are a few pieces of advice regarding you and your accompanist at an audition. Remember to always tell the accompanist everything you need him or her to know before you start. There should be no regrets wishing you had said something and didn’t. Lay your music out so there is no page turn for the last page, so you can finish strong in the room and the accompanist does not have to flip the page for your last measure or two. Set your tempo by lightly tapping on your chest. If you just sing or tap somewhere else, it does not drop into your ‘center’ to really feel the groove of your tempo; this is great especially if you’re nervous and might rush they tempo you set. Remember that the tempo you set will be the tempo the accompanist will play, so be clear. Sing between two and four bars quietly while tapping on your chest so the accompanist will have no doubt about the tempo you want. Similarly, walk them through the piece and lightly sing any tempo changes or written-in endings so they are not only looking at it but hearing it as they see your music. The last thing you want to let the accompanist know is when to start. You can say something like “I’ll nod to you when I’m ready” or ‘I’ll look up when I’m ready” so they don’t start too soon are too late. Above all, ALWAYS thank the accompanist on your way out. Accompanists are your best friends and your teammates in the room. Treat them as such, regardless of the outcome of the audition.

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