Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear Soloist -- From the Accompanist

I discovered a new Facebook page yesterday called "People for the Ethical Treatment of Accompanists."

Oh my gosh. I love that name.

Someone posted something that they got from someone who got it from somewhere else, and I thought I'd post it here. It might not mean much to my usual audience (although I encourage you to read it anyway; it's funny), but maybe other accompanists out there will stumble upon it through some sort of Google search.

Oh yes, and please do note the section stating that we are now called "Collaborative Artists," and not Accompanists. Very Cool.

Here we go. Again, I am not the author of this:



Dear Sir/Madam,

It is not my intention to be rude, offensive or ugly. On the
contrary, I simply would like to take this opportunity to
express my concerns for your future well-being.

Where do I begin? Ah, yes. If you are responsible, you will
not have to resort to destroying friendships in order to
have an accompanist for juries. This is something you should
have thought about before midterms. It is not my obligation
as a pianist or your friend to accept any amount of music
after the first month of a semester. This includes
desperately and pathetically imploring me to learn your
music two hours before your jury. I will not name names, but
you know who you are.

If you so choose to employ me as your accompanist, better
yet, if I agree to be your accompanist, there are a few
things to keep in mind:

1) If it takes you a semester to perfect your piece, it will
take me the same amount of time. Therefore, if you want it
to be exceptional (like Jan Grimes), then provide me with a
copy of the score months in advance. If you don't care what
it sounds like, or if you just suck as a musician in general
, then don't ask me to do it; my performance will reflect on
you, and more importantly, yours will reflect on me. So if
you suck don't even bother asking.

2) Submitting your music to me does not mean that I am
forevermore bonded into unconditional slavery. I am a kind
person, but pulling me aside in the School of Music lobby,
practice room, stairwell, or lavatory and asking me to sight
read your **** is just unacceptable. I am more than happy
and willing to set aside numerous practice times at your
convenience. But do not take advantage of me. Other
accompanists may not be so accommodating. Oh, and for your
411, the job title is no longer "Piano Accompanist." It is
"Collaborative Artist." It just sounds better, so get used
to it.

3) In your scheduled practice times, or at any time that you
are requiring me to exercise my sight-reading ability,
please understand that I am human, not a machine. Contrary
to popular belief, I cannot sight-read perfectly. I will
probably miss many notes. If you cannot even manage one note
at a time, chances are I cannot sight-read flawlessly twelve
notes to every one of yours. Notes do not instantaneously
register in my brain through osmosis, travel down my arm,
into my fingers, and play themselves upon your command. If I
make a mistake, deal with it. You make mistakes, too (and

4) Furthermore, practice sessions are not a time for me to
help you learn your part. Being a music major at LSU should
mean that you can read music on your own. Learn your part
before rehearsing with me. Please. = )

5) Do not EVER turn around and snap your finger at me to
change tempo. I will follow your tempo. It is not my
responsibility to make sure that you don't slow down. If you
slow down, I will simply follow you and let you suffocate. I
will not push the tempo. That's your job. If you are
egotistical enough to think that you can be my metronome,
stick your head in the commode and flush it.

6) One thing to keep in mind is that I am a music major just
like yourself and I have my own personal repertoire to
practice. My music comes first, just like yours comes first
for you. Everyone seems to expect 200% from me, which is
just plain dumb. I will do my best, which is more than most
accompanists will do for you. So be appreciative.

7) All of you are aware of how few accompanists there are
available. Just for your information, there are five
undergraduate pianists at LSU. If you continue to treat us
in the same manner, you can expect things to get worse, not
better. So be nice. Otherwise, get used to singing by

8) One last note, I am a poor college student. I am not
doing this for ****s and giggles, but because I need the
money. Even though we are friends, I need to keep this part
of my life as business. Please respect this, and do not
expect free favors, or ask for them. If I were a millionaire
and had nothing but time on my hands, I would be more than
happy to extend my accompanying services to you free of
charge at anytime. This is not the case, however. So I need
you to treat this as you would any business. Such is life.

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for
taking time out of your busy life to read this short note. I
sincerely hope that you will heed my advice so that you will
not end up missing fingers like Mr. Mozart in the lobby. I
love you all dearly, and hope we can all work together to
make the School of Music an environment of true harmony.
Have a blessed day!

Your humble servant-only not,
The pianist.

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