Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chord playing and Vocalists

My latest vocalist crush

Recently a parent contacted me about teaching her daughter to play by chords in order to accompany herself while singing.  I was excited to get back to this parent to say, yes, I would be delighted to teach that.  Playing by chords really enhances a vocalist's performing ability and versatility, not to mention pure enjoyment.  For one thing, the ability to transpose an accompaniment to your vocal range in a matter of minutes.  Also, how it accelerates learning any music- useful for anyone!

Many musicians will tell you accompanying a singer is a labor of sheer love - a lot of love.  Honestly I believe being an accompanist for a singer is one of the most harrowing jobs of an instrumentalist.  Not so when a vocalist accompanies himself.  And not so much when a vocalist is also a proficient instrumentalist.  The latter person is the best equipped to be a vocalist's accompanist. 

As I talk to prospective students and their parents, I think more about explaining why I teach playing by chords and ear, not just by note reading like most teachers, and how remarkably effective this teaching method is - after all, it's old as Bach.   More on this next time....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Bach!

"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul."
-- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)