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....

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