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Accompanist is the word used to describe an individual who supports a singer, choir or an instrumentalist, by playing a subsiduary part otherwise known as musical accompaniment. This does not mean that they are necessarily in the background or that they are not as important as the singer!

There are many types of accompanist, which include musicians and teachers to backing vocalists. A singing teacher who plays the piano for their pupil whilst they are vocalising is providing 'accompaniment' just as a band or full orchestra do, when they and a singer perform a song.

Any instrument can be used to accompany the voice - including other voices. The most usual combinations are piano and voice, guitar and voice, organ and voices (choral), but other combinations like violin and voice, saxophone and voice or percussion and voice can be equally successful.

A singer can hire an accompanist for an individual performance or series of shows if no other accompaniment is available, which is why the accompanist needs to be a bit of a juggler! As well as sight reading the music, they have to listen to the singers intonation and phrasing in order to adapt their playing to each singers unique style of performing.

The most rewarding associations with an accompanist comes when they and the singer have time to build up a rapport. Working together on an arrangement by rehearsing and discussing ideas allows both parties to produce a well thought out and exciting program of music. This is why some singing teachers also provide accompanist services for pupils during examinations and auditions, who better to perform with than someone who is already aware of your strengths & foibles!

Finding an accompanist
We have provided a few links to accompanists with sites available on the internet plus sites providing listings for your convenience, but there are several options you can try listed below.

Ask your singing teacher for their recommendations.
Read or place classified ads in trade newspapers and magazines.
Look in the Yellow Pages or other Business Directory.
Visit local music shops and check out their noticeboard.
Browse musicians wanted/available and music teachers listings sites.
Search on the internet by inputting the keyword 'accompanist' in any search engine.

Related Educational Articles & Sites

Accompanist Listings
at Vocalist.org.uk Music Directory - List your services free or browse the accompanists listings.

Accompanists Rates
approximate rate suggestions available at Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Accompanists Register
plus Teacher Finder available at Brittens Music.

Aspects of the Art of Accompaniment
Reflections on the historical perspective.

EntsWeb
entertainment directory provides links and contract addresses for everything from accompanists to agents and other related services.

Impulse Classical Music Website
provides listings for Composers and Accompanists (latter listed under 'Performers').

Keyboard Accompaniment
aims to provide useful and interesting information to pianists/keyboardists, their teachers and students about providing/creating accompaniments to melodies without relying on the sight reading or memorization of arranged accompaniment.

Music Angels
provides musicians for recording work and live engagements plus collaborate with a number of established composers, music arrangers and studios.

Paul Plummer
freelance accompanist and vocal coach based in South Kensington, London. Rates 25.00 per hour.

Piano Accompanists
listings of piano, singers, violinists and other accompanists in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales at UK Piano website.

What the Accompanist Needs & Expects from the Choir Director
by Nancy Larson Allred in Jay Williams Choral Press.