NEC's new GD program,?Collaborative Piano with Vocal Specialization (Opera Emphasis),?is a 2-year course of study designed to cultivate and hone the skills and techniques that a pianist needs for a career as a vocal collaborator and opera pianist. Enrolled students will have weekly studio lessons in song and opera, language and diction courses, seminars in vocal coaching, orchestral reduction and playing techniques, and?hands-on experience working with the NEC Opera department.
The existing graduate program in Collaborative Piano already provides a rich curriculum in vocal?accompanying, and this new course?of study builds?upon that foundation and addresses the vast set of skills that a?pianist needs while working?in a professional opera house.? Going beyond the demands of a one-on-one collaborative performance situation, these skills include:
- The ability to modify piano/vocal reductions to the pianist’s own ease of playability while emulating orchestral colors and providing support and necessary cues to singers;
- The ability to follow a conductor in rehearsals and performances, as well as the ability to conduct from the piano as needed;
- Familiarity with all major languages of the operatic repertoire, and the ability to speak and sing the text of a libretto with fluency and clarity;
- The ability to sing and play simultaneously, sing cues in rehearsals and coachings, and give timely prompting to a singer as needed;
- The ability to sing and coach recitatives;
- Techniques of realizing continuo parts for performance of recitatives;
- Familiarity with other keyboard instruments that may be needed in an orchestra;
- Fluency in reading orchestral scores and the ability to assist conductors in orchestral rehearsals;
- Finely honed sight-reading skills and the ability to collaborate with unfamiliar singers in audition situations.