A collaborative pianist is a professional accompanist
Presenting: Diane Carter, "Tips for Working in the Pandemic"
The CPGU held its regular bimonthly meeting in the home of Jayne Galloway with some members gathering physically and others attending by Zoom. The presentation and discussion covered topics related to collaborative piano and COVID-19. As much as we want the piano world to return to its status BC (Before COVID-19), we need to accept the fact that we need technology to keep us in the game. For those rehearsing in person, safe strategies include the use of masks and plexiglass screens. Jayne shared an example made from a large sheet of plexiglass hung from a garment rack. For those rehearsing remotely, the free app JamKazam offers an alternative to Zoom and other video calling apps by streaming without latency.
For those recording tracks, a variety of technical, business, and legal issues were discussed. High-end digital pianos such as Jayne’s Kawai CS99 will record directly to a USB drive, creating a file which can then be emailed to the recipient. However, the downside to this approach is that it requires a mistake-free take. As an alternative, Mac users can record directly to GarageBand, which offers the ability to edit mistakes. It is also possible to create MP3 files using the voice recorder of a smart phone or tablet; files can then be edited using a variety of MP3 apps with tutorials available on YouTube. When creating accompaniment tracks, pianists are strongly cautioned to avoid copyright infringement. A recorded accompaniment track should be offered as a service, not a product. It should be limited to a single use, and pianists should bill for their time rather than for the track.
For example, Juliet Preston explained that she starts the clock when she first begins studying the score and includes time spent learning the music as well as preparing the recording. The final cost, at a standard accompanist’s rate of $30 per hour, is usually about $100. This may sound like a lot for a single track when commercial tracks can be downloaded from iTunes for under a dollar. But this is the wrong comparison. Billed time for live rehearsals, lessons, and a final performance often runs in the neighborhood of $150-$25