Program Overview

Piano and Vocal Accompanying

The Piano and Vocal Accompanying Program is part of the Division of Keyboard Studies. Oberlin piano students may audition for this as part of a double major with Piano Performance. Vocal accompanying focuses on the specialized field of collaborative work with singers. Pianists receive individualized instruction and coaching from Oberlin's keyboard and vocal accompanying faculty, as well as visiting artists in master class settings. Students prepare and accompany vocalists for student recitals, theater and opera productions, and vocal ensembles. They also take courses in opera, art song, and languages.

conservatory student accompanist playing with a vocalist
Conservatory piano students pursuing a major in Vocal Accompanying gain valuable performing experience in student recitals and master classes with vocal performance majors.
Photo credit: Scott Shaw

Program Facts

Program Director

James Howsmon,
Professor of Instrumental Accompanying

two men sitting at the piano with a student vocalist standing on stage
Guest pianist and vocal coach Gerald Martin Moore works with student pianist and vocalist in a master class in Kulas Recital Hall.
Photo credit: Julie Gulenko

Master Classes

A cornerstone of a musician’s training, master classes are opportunities for students to perform for and learn from a noted expert, or “master,” of an instrument, repertoire, or musical style. Each year, Oberlin Conservatory hosts dozens of artist teachers who give master classes across a comprehensive variety of instruments, repertoire, and styles.

Master Classes at Oberlin

Performance Ensembles

Preparation and performance of major works with the Oberlin College Choir and Musical Union are a required part of the vocal accompanying program. Opportunities to study and perform pieces of vocal chamber music are recommended elective courses.

Oberlin College Choir and instrumental ensemble in performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Four Oberlin student pianists performed with the Oberlin College Choir in Stravinsky's "Les Noces" at Carnegie Hall in 2019.
Photo credit: Fadi Kheir

Piano and Vocal Accompanying Faculty

Conservatory faculty maintain active performance schedules while remaining accessible and committed to their students. Individual instruction is paramount to helping students develop their mechanical, technical, stylistic, psychological, and musical skills.

“My job as much as this is possible is to get two people to play together as if they were one musical mind.”

James Howsmon, Professor of Instrumental Accompanying

See Profile

Piano and Vocal Accompanying News