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Piano in assembly

(13 Posts)
Oakmaiden Wed 29-Oct-14 22:47:33

Does anyone here play the piano in assembly? I am applying for a job which specifies "ability to play the piano would be an advantage".

I can play the piano - to about grade 4 standard. But what they are really looking for is someone to play the piano in assembly/for school concerts. I don't know if I am good enough for that. How difficult are the accompaniments to the songs they generally sing in assembly?

PurpleAlert Thu 30-Oct-14 00:26:41

Yes I play piano in assembly.
I have grade 6 but don't read music that well. I suppose I read to about grade 4 level.
I can accompany though and think that is a skill in itself. I can busk pretty well and play by ear so can work out most songs without too much reference to the music ( I use the guitar chords above the music mostly.)

Some assembly songs are pretty straight forward (Come and Praise books are around grade3/4) but some of the ones in the more popular assembly books these days (Songs for every series) can be quite complicated rhythmically.

Most assembly song books now have backing track CDs so a pianist isn't really necessary.

BackforGood Thu 30-Oct-14 00:55:57

I think most people who do, are more able than that, but if they haven't got another pianist, and you are willing, then they'll bite your hand off (metaphorically, of course wink). You just need to insist that you are told the songs they want to sing first, so you can practice them. IME a lot of school assembly songs are from things like Tinderbox or Carol Gaily Carol, which I can play, and my shaky grade 4 was taken probably 35 yrs ago and I've not played much since. The point being, you would be the most knowledgeable person on the staff, so you can dictate the songs that the school sing.

Oakmaiden Thu 30-Oct-14 10:35:51

Thank you - food for thought. I guess I can just be honest in the interview - I can play the piano, and am willing to give it a try, but I am not capable of complex pieces and I would not be able to play something which is just put in front of me without time to practise.

PrivateJourney Thu 30-Oct-14 10:45:28

IME, many primary schools don't have a pianist these days and even those that do find it easier to use CDs, so children can sing/practise with any teacher (and save the cost of regular piano tuning). Your grade 4 ability will tick the box for them and be an extra string to your bow if the contest is close but I don't think it will be a major deciding factor in the appointment.

Theas18 Thu 30-Oct-14 11:06:44

Honestly? I think grade 4 isn't going to work. Yes you'll be able to play the accompaniments after a decent practice but can you busk if things go wrong? Cb you chop down more complex stuff so you can play a basic supporting line to sing too? You can't just stop and restart .you have to keep going. Weak accompaniment is a real negative I'm afraid for this sort of thing.
DH for instance often stands at the piano and leads the singing as well. Unless you have someone taking that role for you?
Maybe they would bite your hand off if they haven't another pianist I agree and if you are a confident performer within your abilities then it could be that you'll upskill fast and all will be well but check what they really want.

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 30-Oct-14 11:29:40

At primary schools many many DCs are just starting learning their instruments. They know it's hard. If you have to start again when chopping and changing places, rehearsing for the school play most DCs are going to be very fair.

The thing that has to be slick is songs in assembly. It doesn't matter if you use the simplest arrangement, but you do need to practice.

It was obvious our woodwind playing music master didn't bother. We didn't expect him to be as slick as the teacher, who's first instrument was piano, but we did judge obvious duff notes.

We judged particularly because he was strict and expected us to be perfect.

2kidsintow Thu 30-Oct-14 11:33:35

I'm going to contradict, I'm afraid.
I went in to my teaching career having learnt the piano but having no grades at all as my teacher didn't put pupils in for grades. Grade 4 is plenty. Just get old of a copy of Come and Praise and Junior Praise and start practising.

As the pianist, for over 17 years now, I get to choose what to play and I've not had any occasions when I've been required to improvise or play anything too complex. If I can't play it, we don't do it. And for concerts etc we still use the cd supported productions as they provide better variety just a pianist.

Playing the piano got me my job, no question.

Oakmaiden Thu 30-Oct-14 12:07:54

Thank you again for all the opinions. I think I am going to phone my daughter's piano teacher (who does play for their school assemblies) and have a chat about it. In the end I am not going to over sell my piano skills in interview, because I don't want to end up with a job that expects more from me than I am able to do, but since they have mentioned piano it would be useful to be able to offer some sort of statement of competence.

aJumpedUpPustulatingBoil Thu 30-Oct-14 14:58:00

I think willingness to play is the key.

Three of the last six teachers employed in our school all put down piano playing on their application form.

When push comes to shove not one of them is willing to play. It really annoys me because in one case it came down to two candidates and her musical ability was the decider.

As resident pianist I play, but as others have said I get to choose the music, and the pupils are very forgiving of my mistakes!

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 30-Oct-14 16:03:26

Honestly, if you can only pick out the melody line with one hand, or as a nursery mum did, play a few cords on the guitar. It's still far easier to rehearse the nativity play without constantly finding the place on the CD.

aJumpedUpPustulatingBoil Thu 30-Oct-14 16:49:23

If it's a tricky piece I usually go for melody line plus chords in initial rehearsals.
I also practise like mad, so as the children become familiar with the tune and ready to move on I've usually reached a degree of competence with my playing

theposterformallyknownas Thu 30-Oct-14 16:55:46

I think you should go for it and not worry.
The lack of music as a major part of school was one of the reasons we chose to take dd out of school and H.ed
I think its so sad that so many schools don't have any staff who can play, I'm sure you will manage well.
Good luck thanks

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