Self Accompaniment

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When new students first approach me about learning piano or guitar, my first point of enquiry is to establish whether they are interested in playing their instrument as a soloist or as an accompaniment to something else. Customers broadly fall into one of three camps: 1, I’m only interested in playing on my own. 2, I want to play and sing at the same time. 3, I haven’t really thought about it.

Case (1) is a simple one: if you are only interested in playing on your own then it’s likely that you’ll be learning the melody line of a song as well as any ‘background’ music such as chords / bass etc. Case (2), though, offers a much wider scope because it allows your instrument to be one part of a larger texture of sound. Sometimes this will be, for example, a guitar playing chords or riffs as part of a rock band. But more often than not, it will be about self-accompaniment – singing a vocal melody line while providing the accompanying harmony, rhythm, chords etc on guitar or piano, as I demonstrate below:

In the case of playing piano and singing, this takes a considerable degree of coordination; it’s quite often the case that you will play a bass line with your left hand, some type of chordal and/or melodic accompaniment with your right hand, control the tone with your right foot, AND sing the melody all at the same time. In most cases, it’s best to learn each individual part of that jigsaw and slowly combine them until all the elements can run smoothly together at the same time. And, of course, the more complicated any of the elements are, the more difficult it is to combine them into one fluent piece of music. But, I find that the work I put into being able to sing and play is always worth it because my voice brings a lot to the party: the finished result is more than the sum of its parts.

In any case, I hope that listening to the video above (and other similar performances that many people have recorded and posted on YouTube) will inspire you to give it a go.


Lesson slots for the coming week are nearly all booked up, but there are a few vacant times should you wish to get a session booked in with me:

  • Monday 24th August
    • 09:30 (30 mins)
  • Wednesday 26th August
    • 16:00 (2 x 30 mins)
  • Friday 28th August
    • 10:30 (30 mins)
  • Saturday 29th August
    • 11:00 (2 x 30 mins)

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