One of the most common issues singers have when they perform is how best to find accompaniment; that is, what kind of backing they will be singing against. Sometimes you don’t have a choice in accompaniment: a pianist, band, or backing track, for example, is arranged by the venue. But if you’re in charge of finding your own backing and don’t want to rock on up there and sing a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment), you might need some guidance. Here’s how to find accompaniment for your singing.
Play an Instrument
Okay, if you’re reading this post, it’s a long shot that you’re going to be able to learn an accompaniment instrument before an upcoming performance, but on the off-chance you know one, just realize that this can be a great option. If you tried classical piano lessons as a kid and have no desire to look back, realize that there are much easier ways to learn to accompany. Learning a few piano, guitar, or ukulele chords may not make you Mozart, but it should be plenty to entertain an audience on “Riptide.”
Find an Accompanist
If you have any friends or family who play an accompaniment instrument, now might be the perfect time to ingratiate yourself. Make sure you practice with them ahead of time and don’t just rely on them to sound the way you envision your music, because every accompanist and every instrument will sound different. If you find a pianist, make sure that they either bring a keyboard to the venue or that the venue has a piano.
Find a Band
If you want longer-term musicians to collaborate with, consider finding band members. You can try looking on ReverbNation, asking around your school or work, or even posting an ad on Craigslist (just be careful and meet in a public place if you go with the latter option). Make sure that you find a band that’s interested in the style of singing you want to do. If you’re a soft jazz singer, you may not want to find rock musicians.
Bring a Karaoke Track
You can make this happen by asking someone who plays an instrument to record you a backing track, or you can simply buy a track from iTunes (try typing in “[name of song] karaoke,” with [name of song], of course, being the title of your song), and you should have options. Karaoke-version.com is also a wonderful resource. You can even choose your key and customize which instruments to include! Good karaoke tracks can be a great option sometimes, because you know exactly what it will sound like ahead of time and have something unchanging to practice with. Before you choose to use a karaoke track, confirm with your venue that there will be a way to play it, or bring your own system. It doesn’t take much: just a smartphone and a bluetooth speaker to connect it to will do the trick.
Karaoke Track Pro Tip
If you download the Amazing Slow Downer app, you can alter both the key and the tempo on your track so that it’s perfect for you.