Accompanying Pianist - Live Simulation Challenge

Comping Pianist

Hello! This is so exciting.
Below you’ll find a link to a new exercise for Autumn Leaves. It is an exercise for Accompanying a Singer with a Band and it can be used to simulate a live music setting; such as a jam or performance.

What Hayden and I have created is a track where I sing along to Bass and Drums (from ireal Pro). You are invited to fill that sweet space left open for the comping pianist!

By comping, you will be giving harmonic support to my singing. So…

  • You won’t need to cover the roots since the bassist has got that!

  • You won’t need cover the melody, because I’ve got that covered.

Rootless vs. Rooted

So what will you play? Rootless voicings split over two handed is a great way to go! If you already have some ii V I voicings down in this vein - than you are ready to proceed to the challenge!

If not yet mastered, than one video that can get you up to speed quickly on this is Hayden’ s video on Rootless Open Position voicings.

For more options and more help, check out this forum post:

One note I’d like to make here is that rootless voicings are preferred by Jazz Cats universally in a band situation when there is a bassist covering the low end.

But if you are much more comfortable with rooted voicings, then you can use this play along to see how it sounds to have a bassist play roots while you double in the roots in your voicings. I will admit that depending on your singer, there are times, when it’s best for the pianist to lay out the harmony very clearly which will mean using rooted voicings. Sometimes it’s even needed to get the band back on track. (this just happened at a jam recently, bassist got lost)

Personally, I think it’s important to be able to do both. The past 6 months, I’ve been playing mostly as a solo pianist either accompanying myself, or one other instrument. This is just what opportunities came to me, and from them I got so much better at my walking bass! But then suddenly in the past month, I’ve been getting more dates for my trio, so I’m back on top of my rootless, using these new opportunities to make progress in this direction.

FYI: Hayden will be releasing a video soon where you can accompany my singing with out the bass. For that version, you can work on rooted voicings and/or walking bass comping.

A Map before you Start

To give you a map before you start;

  • I start direct, singing thru the form once.

  • Then you can solo on the form once.

  • Then I sing the form in French for the last time, with a tag ending.

  • So 3x’s though in total.

For a reminder of good accompanying practices, Hayden has laid out the highlights from my course on this very skill. You can find them on the same page as this very exercise listed below.
Or you can go back to the Course Videos for more in-depth study…

For the Live Simulation Challenge…

I would recommend you really know the Tune, the changes and the rootless voicings you will use BEFORE you play along for the first time.

You see, that very first time you play along can simulate a live situation - where you truly don’t know what your singer and band will do next! So fun.
Each time you play along after that will still be very valuable for additional practice accompanying a singer in a band setting; but with a diminishing return. As you get to know this particular version, slowly but surely it will no longer give you as much of a challenge. Nor will it train you for live playing the way the first few times can.

Also, I’d recommend you record that first time you play along. Listen back to how you did and get ideas for what you’d like to do different next time. If you are feeling up for it, please post it here.

For Inspiration

For inspiration… Here’s a lovely rendition of a band doing Autumn Leaves. It is in C major (Amin), so whole step up from the key I’m singing in - Bbmajor (Gmin).

But one of the coolest things I like about this version is how they go into doubletime feel during the solos, and how that works out when the singer comes back in…

Growing Musical Conversation

I hope you enjoy playing along with this. There are more exercises like this to come; not only tracks with out bass, so you can work on rooted voicings, but also more standards to work on!

I know it’s tough these days to get to play in live settings, so I hope you’ll find these useful in getting ready for those opportunities that will come knocking. NO matter how big or small the setting; no matter for rehearsals, jams or performances, there’s something so wonderful about being in the moment, really in the moment with other musicians, riding the waves of improvisation.

As Michael Vitali, a jazz drummer on the scene here in NYC, once told me… “jam sessions are just conversations amongst jazz musicians.” So let’s talk~


this will be a FUN challenge, thank you Lyndol !
(… wow this is really difficult!! I’m stepping all over your lovely voice! LOL! )

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Right on Lori! Enjoy!

Thanks for all these great tips Lyndol :+1:

I’m playing around with the second version without the drums/bass backing track.

I think it may be nice to include a metronome click as a guide - particularly for the solo section. I’ll experiment and see what works best.

Really interesting and the summertime version without metronome really challenging … but comping a singer is often challenging in real life too . We need to anticipate what could happen … thanks !

@Hayden could it be possible to have the autumn leaves with and without drums in MP3 to put it in a DAW , for sharing our playing ; maybe i miss it somewhere on the site … but cant find it. Bravo for all this great work !! Pianogroove is so much Growing !!!

Yes no problem Pierre, I will create a version without the drums and add to the “How To Accompany Singer Course”. Leave it with me.

cool :sunglasses:
the version with drums exist in MP3 ? I only see the version in the video

Yes here is the MP3 version Pierre:

If you click on the 3 dots in the audio player you will see the option to download it.

I am creating the version without drums and these will be available in the lesson page downloads shortly.

The above backing track is at 126bpm.


Thanks Hayden
sorry but the file is not mp3 but mp4
It takes me 10 minutes to realize why it doesnt want to be inserted in my DAW :slight_smile: , changing the files extension as mp4 resolve the problem.

Just to let you know .


Thanks to Pierre for resurrecting this 2 year-old thread! I’ve been lurking in the background and trying to accompany Lyndol myself, which is great fun.

I would really enjoy listening to what others come up with in the exercise, and sharing my own attempts. Is this the best thread to do so, or would it make more sense to have this as a subgroup of the “practice inspiration/sharing” thread?

In fact, if Lyndol has more examples, it would be really fun to try those as well. I love the idea of playing with a singer and working on my accompanying ability, but there’s no way I would join the current workshop because I don’t even sing in the shower.


Ye i think we could get further in this thread of comping vocalist .
Lets see if others are insterested too .
Its really interesting but the bass line too uniform and busy to have the place for a nice comping.
Having multiple tracks with vocal drums and bass … so maybe some of us could add their own bass playing or drums maybe … for even more flexibility .

I think it could be a nice workshop too with combining mutliple teachers with exercices around a vocal tracks so we can hear multiple version and our masters could give us realistic comping and ideas .
Comping ourself singing and comping a singer is for me too different exercices not ?

OK i put a record done on the fly for beginning the thread


Thanks for letting me know @Pierrot - I was wondering why I couldn’t upload the file to the main website :grin: I exported the audio from my video editing software which I presume to be the cause.

Upon further research I found another export setting “ACC - Audio Only” which I believe is well supported in most programs that support MP3. Here is the ACC file:

I tested this file type and it works fine for me in Logic, so I will export like this and upload to the sing-a-long lesson pages.


Awesome comping and solo @Pierrot - nicely done!

Yes nice idea, I will create some variations with more realistic backing tracks. The current ones are all from iRealPro which can sound a little repetitive.

Also, here is the original audio file if you’d like to create your own one:


Yes great idea Greg!

It would be cool to create a subcategory for this, perhaps underneath the main “Vocal Accompaniment”.

I will create the below backing track files and then figure out the best way to structure this.

Yes we recorded 6 different songs in a variety of tempos back in 2019.

We have the following tunes and tempos:

  • Summertime - 80 bpm
  • Summertime - 115 bpm
  • Summertime - freely sung

  • The Nearness Of You - 60 bpm
  • The Nearness Of You - 80 bpm
  • The Nearness Of You - freely sung

  • Georgia On My Mind - 80 bpm
  • Georgia On My Mind - 100 bpm
  • Georgia On My Mind - freely sung

  • Autumn Leaves - 126 bpm
  • Autumn Leaves - 134 bpm
  • Autumn Leaves - freely sung

  • My Funny Valentine - 60 bpm
  • My Funny Valentine - 80 bpm
  • My Funny Valentine - freely sung

  • There Will Never be Another You - 120 bpm
  • There Will Never be Another You - 130 bpm


This definitely sounds like an interesting challenge. I’ve downloaded the “Autumn Leaves” tracks to see if I can come up with something. And @gregb, I think you have a great idea, and I’m with you when you say:

In fact, if Lyndol has more examples, it would be really fun to try those as well. I love the idea of playing with a singer and working on my accompanying ability, but there’s no way I would join the current workshop because I don’t even sing in the shower.

Though I do sing from time to time. :grinning:

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Thanks @Hayden

heres a bass line i record in sync with @Lyndol singing

but the thing, is we are playing with a click , and we can hear that
next step will be to do it without a click … another big challenge for comping (even more a live simulation )

heres piano and bass

a first one without working or thinking about it ( interesting to hear ourself on this non preparing exercice)

ps i will try to put some more interesting bass and piano later


Yay! This is so fun and such perfect timing! I had 2 students in the Singing Pianist Workshop who are solely interested in accompanying. And yes, it is very different to accompany yourself, verses a singer. (Though if you do sing a little bit, it can give you good insight.)

These tracks are a great place to work on accompanying. It’d be awesome if you guys shared your recordings as Pierrot did. Either just add piano, or if you want to build out your own tracks with bass and instrumentation. Seems we have quite a few pre-recorded songs to work through. And it’s possible to do them in a variety of ways - with metronome, with out. With drums but with out bass (you play the bass line). I recorded some versions rubato for an uber challenge. You really have to be in the moment with me, following my cues. If you decided to do one, record it on the first take. See how well you can listen and follow me. It means being totally present with me, as well as super flexible in your playing. Each time you attempt it, you’ll get better and better at it, as well as more and more comfortable.

BTW - Just beautiful Pierrot - your playing was so delicate and creative from your ‘on the fly version’. And the bass line you added is super cool. I’m going to reverse the exercise and practice singing along with it.

And I’m SO thrilled to record more. Happy to take requests for that.

Also, a student from the Workshop had the best idea; he’s posting particular moments from performances when he felt an accompanist did an excellent job. He’s wondering how and why. He would love help analyzing + feedback on what techniques are being used and why it’s working so well.
I’d love to invite the same from anyone else who might want to analyze a comping performance + add your ideas and opinions + your own references for successful comping.

Right now, we are working through those on the Vocal Workshop Group Thread, but it’d be good to combine here I think. I’ll work with Hayden on figuring out the best way to go forward.

Super excited about this! Happy to try to organize and facilitate in whatever way I can.


Seems the time to put them out :slight_smile: Yeah plz

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I love this enthusiastic team !!! :heart_eyes_cat: :star_struck: :star_struck: :ok_hand: :facepunch: :postal_horn: :saxophone: :musical_keyboard: :musical_keyboard: :musical_keyboard: :tada:

:1st_place_medal: :1st_place_medal: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: Bravo for the all teacher team From @Lyndol @Jovino @Hayden @Tuomo and all others

Thanks a lot!

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I am pretty sure you are whistling in the shower :slight_smile: . I post my recording before you do it … after yours always hard to post any :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: .

:sweat_smile: But now i am waiting yours eagerly