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Staff Accompanist Policies

Staff Accompanist Policies

Matt Yount - Collaborative Piano Studio
Southeast Missouri State University
Recital Protocols and Procedures


    The Southeast Department of Music provides a collaborative pianist (accompanist) for all recitals performed in fulfillment of requirements for the B.A., B.M.E., B.M., or M.M.E. degrees. The purpose of this document is to outline the procedure of planning, preparing and performing these recitals from the beginning of the process to its end. (This is not a change in policy, but merely a consolidation and explanation of existing policies.) According to the department handbook, the duration of the music performed on these recitals is to be as follows:

    B.A.: 12-15 minutes
    B.M.E.: 25-30 minutes
    B.M. (junior): 25-30 minutes
    B.M. (senior): 45-60 minutes

    As repertoire is selected for your recital, it is your obligation to help in ensuring that these time requirements are met. Timings for masters recitals are variable.


    Recital dates should be reserved by the end of the semester preceding your recital. Do not wait until the first week (or later) of the semester in which you plan to perform your recital to claim a date. This is necessary to accommodate the ever-increasing number of student recitals that must be scheduled against ensemble performances, faculty recitals, and other HSVPA events in order to ensure the availability of the recital hall. To claim your date, obtain from Bev or myself a "recital date request" form. This will require the signature of your applied instructor, myself, and any other collaborating performers, and serves to reserve the recital hall and to put your recital date on the department calendar. Any changes to the date or time of your recital must be cleared by everyone who signed your recital date request form.


    You should also make every possible effort to finalize your recital repertoire with your applied instructor before the end of the semester preceding your recital. (Vocalists may wait until their first lesson or two of the semester of the recital.) The reasons for this are varied, but the most relevant is so that I may plan ahead to practice the scores I need to prepare in advance. Because of the tremendous amount of playing I do every semester, I must insist on having your recital repertoire solidified as soon as possible. I will ask you to supply me with scores I do not already have. You must make arrangements to pass along scores to me or have your applied instructor to do so in advance of rehearsals together. I reserve the right to refuse to sight-read any of your music that I have not received in advance.


    Once the semester of your recital is under way, you may schedule rehearsals/coachings with me at any time. I work via an open-schedule policy. I post my weekly schedule in spreadsheet form on the bulletin board outside my office door. Sign-up sheets are posted about two weeks at a time and are first-come, first-serve. You're welcome to any available time slot, except when I must be at Brandt Hall to teach class and from 8:00-10:00 a.m. every morning which I reserve for my own practice. Weekly time allowances for rehearsals/coachings with me are as follows:

    B.A. students: Two half-hour slots (1 hour per week)
    B.M.E. students: Three half-hour slots (1.5 hours per week)
    Junior B.M. students: Three half-hour slots (1.5 hours per week)
    Senior B.M. students: Four half-hour slots (2 hours per week)


    You should have your repertoire prepared before rehearsals are scheduled. It is not my role to "teach" your pieces to you. While I am not obligated to perform for studio classes, master classes, common hour recitals, etc., I generally will do so depending on my availability and in lieu of time spent in rehearsals or lessons that week. Students who miss previously scheduled rehearsal times will forfeit that time and it will not be made up. Also, you should not put off getting together too long into the semester. With so many people to be working with, I will be unable to accommodate everyone who waits too long to begin putting his/her music together and then must do so hastily. Approach this process the right way, with plenty of allowance for time for everything to come together, with respect to both ensemble security and musicality.


    I request that everyone must schedule at least two rehearsals with me and obtain my permission before involving your teacher in the rehearsal process. This alleviates the need for wasting your teacher's time (and ours) with ensemble matters and lets you focus on the more important issues in your lessons after the pieces are put together. This will serve to maximize the efficiency of our time, which is at a premium. What takes place in my studio is chamber music. As such it is a collaborative endeavor and I do think of my role as being more a collaborator and coach rather than an accompanist. My role is to rehearse your music with you and give you general advice related to chamber playing, ensemble, musicality, etc. and the reasons for doing things a certain way. The benefit of having your teacher present at a rehearsal in my studio is to offer additional comments, address instrument-specific concerns, or even suggest alternative ideas about the collaborative product. However, I am not obligated to sit at the piano for a lesson at which you are working through the groundwork of your music with your studio teacher's help.


    Before being approved to perform your recital, you must perform a recital hearing or preview (sometimes previously called a "recital jury"). What this means is that you will perform your recital program in front of a panel of three faculty members (plus myself for a total of four voting members) which will deliberate and vote on whether your recital is prepared well enough to proceed as planned. According to the department handbook, recital hearings need to be scheduled two weeks before your recital date, in order to give you time to incorporate any suggestions the committee may make into your performance. In the case that the committee finds that you are not adequately prepared for your recital, it will most likely be postponed and you will have to schedule a second hearing. B.A. students alone are exempt from the recital hearing requirement.


    Scheduling a recital hearing is your responsibility, so consider the personnel for your committee and their schedules well enough in advance to find a mutually convenient time. Be sure that they are able to attend your recital. You are encouraged to invite any faculty member to participate, even faculty members outside your area (woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboard, strings, voice, composition, music education). Instrumentalists should provide copies of their music to the committee members.


    Hearings are recorded as a general rule so that the product offered to the committee is preserved. Aside from the benefit of having a CD that you and your teacher can cross-reference against the jury's comments, the CD also serves the purpose of seeking out other input from the department chair in the event that the committee is not in agreement. The recording also checks the timing of your repertoire if the minimum requirement is in question. You should be prepared to perform all of your recital program for the committee. Take your hearing seriously and prepare accordingly.


    Students have sometimes asked what aspect of the hearing and/or recital is graded. It is important to note that the recital hearing is not graded; the recital itself is what is evaluated for a letter grade. The hearing may be thought of as pass/fail for zero credit, but it must be passed successfully in order to be granted permission for the recital to take place. Understand that there are several scenarios in which it is possible to pass your hearing but earn an unsatisfactory or even failing grade on your recital. Refer to the department handbook for more detailed policies on recital grades.


    Be aware in advance that I will probably ask you to find a page turner for me at your own recital. Consider it a courtesy and have someone at the ready in advance. Know that you can count on whomever you ask to be there and be on time.


    After your recital I will give you an evaluation form to fill out for me as your collaborative pianist, much like the one you would ordinarily complete for your applied teacher at the end of the semester. They are to be completed anonymously and submitted to Bev; she keeps them all on file in the music department office until grades are submitted after finals week.


    Lastly, recitals are generally recorded using the in-house microphones and equipment in the recital hall. This often results in a CD on which the entire program is recorded on one continuous track. At your request, I will edit your recital CD to include track markers, fade in and out on applause, delete empty noise, etc. I will usually have any requested CD editing completed in the couple of days following your recital.


River Campus Seminary 254
Department of Music
One University Plaza, MS 7800
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701