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
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.)
Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio
Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass.
As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination.
Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.
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