Appcompanist – This is HUGE

When I go to exhibits at conferences (vocal or otherwise), I stop at booths (especially if they are offering something free, preferably of the food nature) and I have several standard responses to the things they’re selling:

  • That’s really interesting! I’m about to go to [insert title of session here] now. But I’ll be back later to look at this a little further. Thank you!
  • This looks terrific. But I’ve made a pact not to buy any more books until I’ve read the ones I have. Thank you for this, though!
  • Looks like you’ve put a lot of work into this. Wow.
  • Huh. Interesting. 
  • These cookies are really good!
  • [Smile through a mouthful of cookies and run when the exhibitor’s back is turned]
I went to the Appcompanist booth and saw a friend of mine standing there slack-jawed, watching the pitch of founder Darin Adams. That’s not his usual look. I came in on the end of it and my friend asked a few more questions and then he left. Darin started his pitch from the beginning and I became slack-jawed. And then I responded with a phrase I’ve never used at a exhibit before:

HOLY CRAP THIS IS 
LIFE-CHANGING!
And then the next day, I went to Darin’s presentation on the final day of the conference. And my mind was blown again.
Appcompanist is not intended to replace a pianist. Despite Will Zellhofer’s dejected response to my FB post of, “I saw Terminator. I know how this ends,” it is intended as a tool. 
Appcompanist has done pretty much what I’ve been doing in the studio when people need accompaniments for practice or auditions when there’s no pianist – recording on my Clavinova onto a flash drive inserted into the USB, usually while the singer is singing, so the accompaniment is timed perfectly to their desired tempo, their breaths, and whatever rubato (or lack thereof) they plan to take. The difference is that the accompaniment recording can be manipulated to your future needs.

Want it faster? Slower? Do you need it in a different key? Do you want to take a fermata somewhere? Bring out the melody while you’re practicing? Create a cut for an audition? Open that cut up? Do you want to create playlists for different purposes (mine are “student repertoire” and “songs for MEEEEE”)? You can do all that.

There are thousands and thousands of songs available in both classical and musical theater (not sure about pop yet). You can subscribe on a monthly basis to either library at $11.99 or to both for $14.99 or do what I did and spring for a yearly membership ($149). Yeah, it sounds pricey, but it’s working for me. I’ve got an audition in a few weeks and I’m rehearsing with a couple of pieces and it’s really making practicing easy. (I am going to write to them about the end of “O rest in the Lord.” There’s a mistake that I can work around, but they should fix it.)

At the very least, I’m going to be using it in lessons from time to time. Especially when we’re working on pieces that are ready to go out so you can hear all of the notes, and not only the ones I can play.

Check it out. The technology is amazing! (And no, I’m not getting any kind of kickback from them. Dammit.)

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