Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Looking for an accordionist in the Denver area?

There's been a growing interest in the accordion. The popularity of the instrument has really gained a lot of momentum with younger audiences and we're finding more interest from people in Colorado looking for an accompanist with the ability to read and/or arrange accordion music. The music notation is similar to a piano, but there are a lot of differences too.

The right-hand manual is notated the same way as piano music, but the treble clef is used almost exclusively for piano accordions since the written range extends no lower the three ledger lines below the staff. On the other hand (no pun intended), the Stradella system is always written in the bass clef. Single notes are written in the lower half while the chordal buttons are notated in the upper half. This is in accordance with the official AAA notation notation standard adopted around the world.

April Alsup Accordion Accompanist
April Alsup
Accordion Accompanist
Finding an accompanist with the ability to read and arrange on and for the accordion using universal notation and is familiar with the subtleties of playing in a pit orchestra can be difficult. Please let us know if your latest score requires someone with this skill set. We'd be happy to help.

Monday, May 24, 2021

What is a Sitzprobe rehearsal?

In musical theatre, a sitzprobe (from the German for seated rehearsal) is a rehearsal where the actors sing with the orchestra, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. It is often the first rehearsal where the orchestra and singers rehearse together. It really is a milestone for any Musical production since the entire team is involved. In the early stage of a production the actors usually work  with only an accompanist, who plays a simplified (Piano/Conductor) score with the singers. During the sitzprobe the music director takes over and works with the team as a whole to tweak various parts of the show.

April Alsup working with Sisyphus Music Director

Sisyphus Rehearsal with ensemble

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Working on an online musical production?

April Alsup
Verified Spotify Artist
Accompanist.com is a small group of professional accompanists and music production experts based in and around Denver, Colorado. Our specialty is contemporary musical theatre, but we are involved with all sorts of musical production projects. We have embraced online technology and adapted to working remotely in the Age of COVID. We can work with your singers to perfect their skills and/or act as a music director for your productions. 

You can see several examples of a music theatre "radio mix" on April Alsup's Spotify Page, she has lived in Colorado for over 30 years and has long history of working with the various aspects of music production. In 2018, she received 12 award nominations for music theatre excellence including; five off-Broadway awards and seven regional Broadway World Awards.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Looking for an accompanist to tweak your favorite song?

We get asked if we can supply standard music theater rehearsal tracks for music theatre works all the time, but what if you're looking for a custom arrangement? It's really not that uncommon for a singer to transpose a song up or down a few keys or adjust tempo markings for an audition. Directors are always looking to explore creative alternatives if the music calls for it.

2018 WYSIWYG Cast
Director reviewing vocal parts with performers
That's where accompanist.com can help! We are a group of performing arts professionals eager to help you get the most out of on your music theater rehearsal music and we can connect with you remotely using the latest technology and collaboration tools too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Welcome to the Accompanist website!

April Alsup
April Alsup 
"Book Musical Basics"
Musical Theatre Series Author

We provide accompanists to the music theater industry.

What is an accompanist? ac·com·pa·nist /əˈkəmpənəst/ a person who provides a musical accompaniment to another musician or to a singer.

We enjoy all types of music, but our specialty is contemporary musical theatre. We can work with your singers to perfect their skills and/or act as a music director for your productions.

Our team is lead by April Alsup, in 2018 she was nominated "Best Music Director" by her Colorado theater peers for the area's regional Broadway World awards.

Please let us know how we can help!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A strong case for digital sheet music

Every accompanist has scars associated to the task of turning pages. "There are all sorts of funny stories of students called upon to turn pages for a visiting artist or faculty member that went astray" said April Alsup, one of Denver's most popular music theater composers. "It seems like everyone has their eyes focused on different places on the page and there's just not a best moment for one person to turn the page for another." Clearly, the margin of error is small, but the audience seldom notices.

An electronic Bluetooth foot pad
turning Isle of Eigg (pdf) sheet music

What the artist really wants is for the page to turn with as little distraction as possible and it appears that some instruments are better suited than others. The good news for the accordionist is that your feet aren't considered part of the instrument and are free to turn the sheet music page at just the right moment. This is particularly helpful since the instrument is between the artist and the music stand and the instrument's keyboards are not easily seen at a glance.

Friday, April 24, 2020

An accompanist in the new COVID Age

2020 has been brutal for the theater community and professional accompanists are not immune. We've all been forced into a whole new way of thinking. Many of us were reluctant to embrace technology; after all, we often get our sheet music physically handed to us by an artist who is auditioning for a role and the casting experts expect us to play the parts flawlessly. I'm always glad when I know the song, but I'm easily annoyed when someone asks me to play it in a different key or speed-up the tempo...yikes!

April Alsup uses technology in the COVID age
April Alsup uses technology in the new COVID age

At least with teleconferencing the participants don't expect us to synchronize our parts with everyone in real-time and we usually get some time to deliver the instrumental accompaniments. I guess someday it'll all be done online, but for now the latency between the connections prohibits that and there seems to be a lot more planning involved in the musical development stages of new online theater productions. Perhaps it should have been that way all along, my guess is we'll be using teleconferencing a lot more even after the pandemic, it really is very convenient and allows us to deliver a better product for everyone involved.