actually play any part of the piece we were to rehearse, she was telling me what we needed to do, and where and when these things would happen. This wonderfully positive, confident, and aggressive approach to the art of accompanying was evident throughout the hour-long presentation she gave at the Perkinson Recital Hall. Ms. Wilt engaged the audience in a fast-paced, open, and interactive conversation about the responsibilities and needs of both accompanists and soloists. This was one of the most enjoyable clinics that I have come across in the four conferences I have attended.
The first section of her presentation focused on the ways that educators, primarily collegiate, can encourage their departments to greater facilitate the role between accompanists and studios. Wilt relayed the strategies she implemented at Central Michigan University that have increased the number of competent accompanists available to the various studios there, and the rules that protect both soloists and accompanists alike. Individual items she referred to include the scheduling and cancellation of rehearsals, school degree requirements, music submission schedules, and fees. She also spoke of the role that the supervising teacher could fill to further encourage interaction between the parties involved.
The second area of the lecture dealt with the issue of rehearsal expectations, again for both the soloist and accompanist. Greatly emphasized was the need for both persons to already be well prepared before they actually rehearse together. This pre-rehearsal preparation extends to knowing each other's part, as well as their own. Wilt also spoke about what kinds of goals for each rehearsal should be planned and executed by both members.
The next area touched on by Wilt was the use of the SmartMusic System by Coda Software. This is an interactive computer program (for Mac or Windows) in which the computer will play pre-programmed piano accompaniments to solo literature for virtually all acoustic instruments. Wilt very strongly stressed that this program is to only be used as a rehearsal tool, and noted that it is an excellent way for the performer to learn the accompaniment part.
After this, Ms. Wilt gave a brief talk on the approach to short and limited rehearsals. She emphasized that a pre-planned charting of starts and stops, transitions, and any physical problem spots (mute changes, page turns, etc.) should be talked over before starting. If time allows, then work on musically similar areas before simply running the work. Wilt was then joined by Chad Winkler (West Virginia University), performing excerpts from the first movement of the Halsey Stevens Sonata. She also advises the soloist to give the accompanist any pertinent information that will make their rehearsal time together more smooth and enjoyable. The idea of the players being a team was encouraged.
For the close of the presentation, a quick look at the first movement of the Peter Maxwell Davies Sonata, a work fraught with melodic and rhythmic dangers for both the soloist and accompanist, was analyzed. According to Ms. Wilt, the key ingredient to learning this work is to listen to recordings of it - over and over again. She then gave her ideas on how the players should group the rhythmic materials according to their own needs, and then try to line up the parts at a few key moments. The movement was then performed by Wilt and Josh Thompson, a recent University of Kentucky trumpet graduate.