Piano player accompanist job description

Written by missy shelton belote
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  • Introduction

    Piano player accompanist job description

    Piano player accompanist jobs require musicians who have a broad repertoire, are flexible and can work odd hours. It's a rewarding job where pianists combine their talent with the music of singers or other instrumentalists to create a beautiful performance. Piano player accompanists work with local schools, places of worship or community groups.

    Piano accompanists play an essential role with choral groups. (piano image by Sergey Goruppa from Fotolia.com)

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    Piano accompanists provide the musical support for performing soloists and groups. Creating piano music that complements the sound of the main performer is the primary function of accompanists. You may be required to work with other instrumentalists as you accompany a choir or soloist.

    Piano accompanists enhance musical performances. (piano image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

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    Piano accompanists may play for vocal and instrumental soloists, choirs, choruses and instrumental ensembles. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, musicians such as pianists work in a variety of settings from bars to churches to theatrical venues. Versatility in playing different kinds of keyboards is an important component of being a good accompanist. While some types of accompanists hammer out raucous tunes on electric keyboards for punk singers, others create sweet melodies on grand pianos for choral singers. Virtually all genres of music incorporate the piano as an accompanying instrument. Some types of accompanists rehearse for weeks or months, but not all pianists have this luxury. In some cases, pianists provide impromptu accompaniment with little or no rehearsal.

    Being able to play on electric keyboards will increase your chances of getting piano accompanist jobs. (keyboard image by bright from Fotolia.com)

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    Finding work as a piano player is highly competitive, according to Central Michigan University, which offers training for pianists. Those pianists who get the most jobs as accompanists play with consistent note accuracy and can keep a steady tempo. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, following directions and working well with other musicians are important considerations for aspiring musicians such as piano accompanists. A music director or conductor often collaborates with the pianist to determine the particular style, the appropriate dynamics and the best tempo for the piece of music.

    Being comfortable working with conductors ensures you'll create beautiful music. (notes of music image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

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    Some piano accompanists study playing techniques, music theory and musical styles for years at universities or conservatories. Advanced degrees in piano studies are available from a variety of institutions. Other piano accompanists have little or no professional training. Instead, they rely on natural talent to replicate music they hear. In the middle of the spectrum are piano accompanists who have had some specialised training such as private lessons and may be skilled at reading music and providing accompaniment in limited settings.

    Piano accompanists have varied levels of training. (old piano image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com)

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    One of the many benefits of being a piano accompanist is having nontraditional work hours. You may have free time during the normal work week. However, the trade off is that you may have to work late evenings and weekends. Piano accompanists can choose between jobs that keep them in one location and jobs that involve significant travel. Because piano accompanists possess considerable skill and specialisation, the pay can be quite good. According to the Occupational Employment Statistics from the U.S. government, the mean hourly wage for musicians is just over £18.

    Working as a piano accompanist provides flexibility and good pay. (photo de concert de harpe image by vanessa martineau from Fotolia.com)

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