Teaching Tips

Benefits of Background Accompaniments

Background accompaniments can be a wonderful teaching tool both in the studio and at home, conveying a sonic world of rhythm, melody, and harmony that educates and motivates. The accompaniments can be used throughout the life cycle of a piece, from first listening to final performance.

Introduction and Exploration

Ask students to listen to the accompaniment one week before introducing the piece in the lesson. This orients the ear to the general character, tempo, and rhythms. At the next lesson, demonstrate the piece by playing with the accompaniment at full performance speed. Next, get the student involved by clapping, pointing to each note in time with the recording, or by singing the lyrics, note names, or finger numbers. This can be done at any tempo that is comfortable for the student.

Rhythmic Practice

In Normal Play-Along Mode, playing with a background accompaniment demands correct rhythm. Students learn to feel the meter, sense the forward musical flow of the time signature, and understand the need to “keep on going.” The rhythmic encouragement can make home practice more productive. Some students will benefit from playing hands separately, and then together.

Musical Growth

The musical vignettes in these recordings introduce the student to a variety of sounds and ensembles. Exposure to these orchestrated interpretations not only makes the student more musically literate, but inspires performance with rhythmic vitality, forward motion, and musical expression.

Repetition and Review

Review past repertoire by playing along with the accompaniments for extra motivation.