Classical singers, listen up! Here’s a resource you absolutely shouldn’t miss, reviewed by voice teacher Molly R…
If you teach classical voice, you are probably aware that one of the biggest challenges is accompaniment! We can fake our way through standards and simpler Disney tunes for our other students, but this is not usually the case when it comes to Mozart or Verdi.
And if you are a classical soloist, it’s every bit as frustrating. It can get very costly to hire an accompanist whenever you need to run through your arias and songs. It can also be time-consuming to find someone and schedule rehearsals, find a space, and so on.
So, what’s a classical singer to do?
My Online Resource Recommendation
This is where Your Accompanist comes in. This amazing resource is the classical singer’s dream come true, allowing you to download accompaniment tracks for practically everything you need. I had the opportunity to check out the site, and after spending some time browsing with a few of my voice students, I wondered where this site has been all my life (and my students are asking the same thing!).
How I Use the Site in My Lessons
Your Accompanist has downloadable piano accompaniment to almost every aria and art song you can think of! Even better still: many of the art songs are available in various keys to suit a wider variety of voices.
Here’s how I used the tracks in my lessons:
- I needed a particular French song for a young soprano student, and we were both so pleased to see they offered it in a key suitable for her higher voice! This is already coming in handy for her as she prepares for a big contest. We were also able to find a large number of other things she’d be needing in future lessons, including art songs in German and English.
- Oratorio is also available, and thank goodness for that! A young countertenor I work with was able to get the aria from “Messiah” he needed instantly, so we could polish it for his upcoming performances.
- A mezzo student of mine was relieved to finally find the Barber opera aria she needed. I also found several “staples” (classic beginner Italian arias) to download that I knew I’d be using for students later on. And I’ll admit it: I got a few things for me to sing along with, too! In fact, I had a hard time narrowing it down. I wanted to get every mezzo-soprano aria on there!
Since this site is based out of the United Kingdom, old music hall and parlor song favorites are on the site, too — certainly not something you see every day! I was delighted to see such a variety. A student also noticed that the site offered holiday classics. Right away, I knew I needed a few, as December concert time will be here before you know it!
There are a few art songs that I could use, but did not see on the site. However, there’s an option to request that they record what you don’t see. After discovering this option, my students and I started getting together a brief list of songs we may ask for in the future.
Downloading Tracks from Your Accompanist
Downloading and paying for your chosen songs is extremely easy, and playing them back is just as simple. When we found the Faure art song that we needed, all I had to do was press a few buttons and it was in my iTunes library and ready to play for my soprano to sing along to!
My countertenor was a bit worried that his oratorio aria was going to be either too fast or too slow — but before we downloaded we were able to listen to a very helpful sound sample. Now he can rehearse with confidence: with me in the studio, or at home on his own!
As for the accompaniment tracks themselves? Absolutely beautiful! All of the tracks I have used have been sensitively phrased and played most musically. Sound quality is top notch. As my students were singing along, I felt that they were supported by the playing, and not at all overpowered. It’s also so incredibly nice to be able to focus on my students’ singing instead of worrying about my piano playing abilities.
Why This is a Must-Have Resource
One singer of mine told me that she felt that using the Your Accompanist tracks is as close as you can get to having a live accompanist right there with you. How right she is. As I tried some of the accompaniments myself, I felt like I was in my very own recital hall!
So again we ask: where has Your Accompanist been all our lives? Thanks to the Internet, we classical singers and teachers have a tremendous resource available to us. Check it out and see what you think!
Readers, what other websites and singing resources do you use to download accompaniment tracks? Leave a comment below and let us know!