and another thing

Approaching the end of a ridiculous week of accompanying, some miscellaneous considerations.

Singers. Imagine your lesson. There are three people involved: you, your teacher, and me. I am involved in your lesson. Therefore, when you cancel your lesson, regardless of when or why, you have to contact me. Otherwise, I will show up at your teacher’s door at the appointed time, get annoyed, and charge you for wasting my time. I may be the third wheel, but I am a wheel nonetheless.

When you give me a new piece, don’t hand me the first three pages with the promise of the other five at your lesson. I need the entire thing – all the pages. With no tops, bottoms, and sides cut off. Also, it needs to be a piano part, not the full score. I won’t learn it until then.

When you get up to sing in studio, introduce me too. This is a collaboration, after all. If you wonder why I’m taking an awful long time starting after you’ve clearly already introduced yourself and your piece, it’s because you forgot me and now I’m going to make you fidget.

Write down when we’re meeting. It’s confusing when you cancel something we never scheduled.

Try to find out when I need to be at studio. I know that this is sometimes difficult, but if I’m coming to studio, and you know I can’t go until last, don’t have me show up when it starts.

Just because I go by “Liz,” and nobody ever calls me anything else, and my bank has even started accepting checks made out to “Liz Remizowski,” do ask me how I want to be billed on your recital program. Not because it makes me feel loved and warm and fuzzy inside, but because I prefer my given name, Elizabeth, on official things. Also it’s just more professional not to assume.

Composers, arrangers, etc. Please, please. When making a reduction of an orchestral part for the pianist to finagle, think about these things. First, after you’ve written down what you want, go to a piano and play chord by chord. Please make sure all the notes can simultaneously fit in the hand, comfortably. A ninth is considered universally acceptable. A tenth is stretching it. Be considerate. We can only work so many wonders.

Secondly, please, no more than four notes per hand unless a) the top and bottom notes are an octave doubling, b) two of the notes can be smushed by one finger (preferably the thumb), c) it’s slow, or d) it’s classically tonal. Absolutely no more than five notes per hand simultaneously. NO MORE. You are not a concert pianist, you do not have the necessary expertise to manage six.

Third, once you’ve determined what you’ve written is in fact playable, please try to play it up to tempo. It is incredibly unlikely we can play five-part counterpoint in constant running eighths, including a jumping bass, at halfnote = 116, even after practicing it for six months. If you yourself are unsure of your piano skills, find a pianist. Ask them if this piece is learnable within a month. If not, start getting rid of notes. Prioritize. Is the piano doubling the soloist? at two different octaves? Is that really necessary? Or are those necessary and maybe the three inner voices are less necessary? How about those stupid runs?

Finally, try to schedule your page turns somewhere other than the middle of a huge run. Maybe during some rests. I’m just saying.


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Filed under adventures in accompanying, this actually happened

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