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What does an Accompanist do?

Learn all about Accompanist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Accompanist.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

An accompanist is a person who plays an instrument along with a singer or musician.

Accompanist job duties include:

  • Play musical accompaniment for soloists, instrumentalists, vocalists, choirs, and other groups.
  • Read and interpret musical scores and parts.
  • Transpose music to different keys, as requested.
  • Select appropriate music that matches the abilities of the performers and the nature of the performance.
  • Rehearse with performers prior to performances.
  • Attend rehearsals and performances to provide musical support.
  • Make adjustments to tempo, volume, and phrasing based on the performer’s interpretation and cues from the conductor or other leader.
  • Balance the sound of the accompaniment with the performer or group.
  • Play with expression and feeling to create a pleasing sound.

Accompanist Job Requirements

An accompanist is a musician who plays an instrument or sings along with another performer. There are no formal education requirements to be an accompanist, but most have at least a high school diploma. Many accompanists have taken some college-level music courses, but it is not required. There are no certification or licensure requirements to be an accompanist. However, many employers prefer candidates who have experience playing with other performers.

Accompanist Skills

  • Listening
  • Sight-reading
  • Accuracy
  • Finger dexterity
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Musicianship
  • The ability to improvise
  • A good sense of rhythm
  • An understanding of harmony
  • The ability to play in a variety of styles

Related: Top Accompanist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Accompanist

An accompanist is a musician who plays an instrument or sings along with another performer. The accompanist provides support to the main performer and helps to create a more complete sound. Many accompanists are skilled at improvising and creating their own parts, which adds to the overall performance.

Becoming an accompanist requires a high level of skill on your chosen instrument or voice. You must be able to keep up with the main performer, while also adding your own touch to the music. In addition, you must be able to sight-read music quickly and accurately. This means being able to read and understand sheet music so that you can play or sing the correct notes without any prior preparation.

If you are interested in becoming an accompanist, it is important to take lessons on your chosen instrument or voice. You should also try to play or sing along with recordings of other performers as often as possible. This will help you develop your skills and become more comfortable with playing or singing in front of others. In addition, performing in front of an audience regularly will help you build confidence and learn how to control your nerves.

Once you have developed your skills, you can start auditioning for accompanying roles. To increase your chances of being selected for an audition, it is helpful to have a demo reel or recording that showcases your abilities. You can also look for opportunities to accompany local performers at small venues or events. If you are successful in landing accompanying gigs, be sure to arrive well-prepared and ready to give a great performance.

Related: Accompanist Resume Example

Related: Accompanist Interview Questions (With Example Answers)