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How To Accompany Singers
with Pete Churchill

Includes over 5hrs of video lessons and PDF downloads

Sign up now with a one-off payment of £80 and get immediate access to the entire course. You can watch, pause, rewind and rewatch all of the videos as often as you like, allowing you to learn at your own pace. 

This practical video course is packed with an incredible amount of material that will keep you going for years! It not only offers an explanation of how to accompany singers, but also gives you lots of useful skills to practice and develop your own playing. 

Widely regarded as a leading expert in jazz studies, Pete Churchill is a highly inspiring educator. Winner of the UK Parliamentary award for jazz education and with decades of experience teaching in the finest conservatoires of music, he also has a unique talent for explaining the theory whilst also giving you highly practical exercises to put everything into context. Alongside this, for several decades he has worked as the preferred accompanist for some of the best jazz singers in the world.

Backed up by an encyclopaedic knowledge in all areas of jazz, Pete has a great way of stripping away the layers and getting to the essence of the material, while at the same time giving you very practical methods of how to assimilate it into your own playing. 

Current and past posts include; Professor of jazz studies at The Royal Academy of Music, The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, Senior Lecturer at Leeds College of Music and Middlesex University.


He has also given seminars and master classes at various conservatoires and academies in Finland, Bulgaria, Holland, Italy, France, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Australia. He was also recently invited to lecture at Jazz at The Lincoln Centre, in New York City. 

As a performer Pete has featured at many international festivals working as a singer, pianist and conductor. He has been a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s vocal projects, travelled extensively as Mark Murphy’s accompanist and has collaborated with, amongst others, Jon Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Norma Winstone, Stan Sulzmann, John Taylor, Cleveland Watkiss, Julian Arguelles, Bobby Wellins and Tina May. He has also released several critically acclaimed jazz albums under his own name. 

How To Accompany Singers
Course Contents

Video 1  - What to play (harmony) and When to play (rhythm section)


Rubato and Colla Voce

Working with a  lead sheet

The essentials of how to support the singer

The top note of the voicing

Chord Extensions

Layering the placement of the notes

Separating the bass line

Video 2 - Finding Space and Responding to the Melody

"Open" intros

Turnarounds to the starting chord 

Working in common keys

Leading the harmony 

Play-along with Pete singing

Walking ballad tempo vs jazz ballad tempo

Finding the spaces in the melody for the harmony

Thinking like a backing singer

Maintaining a musical gesture throughout the tune

Using 2nds in the voicing for rhythmic bite

Playing in 3/4 time signature

Video 3 - Medium Swing

Great accompanists to check out

Using numbers to help think in different keys

Walking bass lines

RH close voicings for rhythmic placement

Half diminished voicings

Using inversions to stay in the "Golden Zone"

Practice routines for when to place the chords

What is the correct version of the chord changes?

Using sus chords and letting the bass player do the work! 

Play-alongs with Pete singing

Solutions for diminished chords

Approach notes

Combining walking bass with chords

Video 4 - Consolidating Your Skills and Moving Forward

Abstraction of usage

The interaction between the pianist and singer

Expanding and Contracting the harmony

Shaping the arrangement and moving the music forward

Using texture and gestures

Practicing turnarounds to the starting chord

Finding motifs in the tune to use 

Paraphrasing the melody to ease your way into a solo

The three types of count in

Defining the last two bars of the intro

Diminished chord options

How to deal with doubling the root or third in the right hand

Layering your sound

Pete's secret voicings! 

How to bring the tempo in from a colla voce intro

BONUS 1hr video: Intros and Endings

Voicings template

Voice leadings help the music swing

"Thumbs" exercises

Three handed piano playing

Open and closed voicings

Turnarounds to the starting chord

Four chord turnarounds

Using the same turnaround to land on different chords

The relationship of the first chord to the key

Pedal intros with turnarounds on top

Tonic and Dominant Pedals

Using motifs in the intro

Using the turnaround as a cue when vamping on an intro

How to extend the cadence for a better ending

Three options to avoid the tonic at the end

Harmonically decorating the last note (tonic, maj 7 or maj9)


Here's what our students have to say...

"Pete is an extraordinary teacher and musician and in the 4 sessions he managed to cover a lot of ground. It was very helpful to have recordings of the sessions to go back over the detail. The content really suited the delivery." - Peter H

"Pete is such a great knowledgeable musician that even though sax is my instrument and a little piano I learnt a lot - and so much jazz tradition thrown in the mix." - Arnon B

"I really like the idea of recorded lectures as sometimes the times don't line up nicely in Australia so I can watch things back later. Overall great course - please do more!" - John G

"Pete Churchill is so thoughtful and knowledgeable. I love his approach and analysis of how music works. He is a great communicator including humour in his explanations. I am interested in any further courses he is running. It is great that playback is available. I need to watch 3 or 4 times making notes to try to take it all in." - Mike O

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