Accompanist’s Analogy from the Olympics

(NOTE: This article was first published during the 2010 Winter Olympics.)

Last night, Olympic history was set in the pairs figure skating competition. I watched as gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to the best figure skaters in the world. During the competition, however, something else caught my attention.

The couples had four minutes or so to combine technical skills with artistic grace and make it look easy in the process. Of course, they all had music to help them accomplish this task. One couple fell on a jump; another lost hold of a lift; even another just slipped on the ice. But the music kept going. Just because a mishap occurred on the ice did not mean that the music paused while they regained their composure. All of the skaters had to catch up or keep up with the music. However, every couple finished their routine strong.

The same is true with accompanying. How many of us have made mistakes during a song? We all have to some degree. But the song continues on. We do not pause in the middle of the song or go back and play a section again. Our job is to keep up with the singer, even if we have to skip measures or catch back up.

Don’t let a mistake fluster you during a song. Keep going, support the singer, and finish strong!

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