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How do I Become an Accompanist?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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In order to become an accompanist, a high degree of musical skill and aptitude are required. The role of an accompanist is to play a musical instrument to support a soloist or group of singers. In addition to musical skills, accompanists usually are required to have some formal musical training and performance skills. The use of accompanists is an old tradition and often is required based on the musical composition that has been selected.

An accompanist is often required for performance examinations, on-stage performances and audio recordings. He or she often plays a variety of instruments at a consistent level of quality. Many performers work as accompanists while aspiring to soloist careers.

Someone who wants to become an accompanist usually plays the piano, guitar or another instrument. Universities and musical schools in almost every country have certification or training programs that provide a series of courses and examinations designed to provide a specific level of musical skill in a variety of instruments. On average, it takes eight to 10 years to reach a professional level of skill in a musical instrument.

The level of musical skill should be weighted against the formal training. In most cases, people who are looking for an accompanist are trained musicians or performers. Anyone who wants to become an accompanist must be prepared for auditions as part of the hiring process.

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Performance skills are an important part of being an accompanist. Someone with stage fright is not suitable for this career. Personal maturity often is required for a skilled and trained performer to work in the background. The experience gained working as an accompanist is a great way to develop performance skills and is recommended for anyone who wants to become a soloist performer.

As an accompanist, opportunities are found through a network of performers, musicians and sound recording engineers. Developing a business network is essential for anyone who wants to become an accompanist. Payment is based on each individual contract and typically includes practices, meetings and the actual performance.

Many people who work in the music industry as accompanists create their own businesses and manage employment contracts on a more professional basis. A professional reputation is very important, because most work is through referral from performers and instrumental teachers. Punctuality, skills and professionalism is very important for anyone who wants to work full-time in this career.

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