Suzuki Accompany shutting down

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Shelley Weiss said: May 16, 2020
 Viola
3 posts

Since COVID-19 forced the world’s teachers online, my students and I have relied on a great website called Suzuki Accompany, where violin, viola and cello students can play along with beautiful-sounding piano accompaniments at any tempo. This valuable resource helps my students put the final level of polish on their pieces.

Imagine my dismay when my students and I recently logged onto the Suzuki Accompany website and saw the following banner:

“Dear Subscribers,

Alfred Publishing and the International Suzuki Association are not renewing our licensing contract. Sadly, this means that we can no longer offer Suzuki content on this website. We will be shutting down suzuki.accompanymusic.com on May 31st, 2020.”

Do you know what happened here?

What alternatives to Suzuki Accompany does Alfred Publishing and the International Suzuki Association have or recommend for teachers and students? I certainly hope there is a ready alternative, especially during this exceptionally challenging time.

P.S. I know there’s Suzuki content on SmartMusic, but unfortunately it is quite bad.

Betsy Stocksdale said: May 17, 2020
Betsy Stocksdale
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Baltimore, MD
13 posts

Alfred is undergoing a huge shake-up, and completely eliminating its piano division. This is quite shocking for the music world, indeed.

Alan Duncan said: May 17, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
81 posts

As an alternative, is it possible to use the accompaniment tracks on the CD’s and if the tempi aren’t suitable, load the mp3’s into Amazing Slow Downer (or similar)? It does introduce just a little distortion; but if the tempo is close to performance tempo, it shouldn’t be all that much. The process of getting from CD to mobile device to Amazing Slow Downer is a little cumbersome, but no too bad.

Shelley Weiss said: May 17, 2020
 Viola
3 posts

Betsy Stocksdale: Wow. Can you say more about this? If not publicly, can you please message me?

Alan Duncan: The technology you speak of is about 20 years out of date. None of my student’s parents would be willing or able to do this, and compared with Suzuki Accompany the results would sound terrible.

I am mourning the loss of the Suzuki Accompany website and am at a loss as to what to do for my sweet, hard-working students.

Alfred Publishing and the International Suzuki Association have taken this option away. I want to know what newer, easier, better technology they have to replace it with. If they have nothing, SHAME on them for taking away this valuable, easy-to-use resource. Our students deserve better!!!

By the way, if I find something, I will be sure to post it here. Thank you, everyone.

Alan Duncan said: May 18, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
81 posts

“The technology you speak of is about 20 years out of date. None of my student’s parents would be willing or able to do this, and compared with Suzuki Accompany the results would sound terrible.”

I’m not meaning to imply that the process I described is ideal or as convenient in comparison the soon-to-be-defunct Suzuki Accompany website, only that it’s both workable and acceptable if there’s a gap in availability. As an experiment, on my iPhone, I downloaded the accompaniment track for a piece from the Suzuki violin repertoire and loaded it into the ASD app. It took at most 5 minutes. I was able to adjust the tempo with minimal distortion down to 60% of performance tempo. If I can do it, practically any parent could also. It doesn’t sound terrible, and as a collaborative pianist myself, I’m pretty picky.

It would surprise me if Suzuki Accompany didn’t also employ fast Fourier transform to achieve tempo adjustment; but of course I have no way of knowing for certain.

Actually, I just read the notification on Suzuki Accompany website. It doesn’t sound discouraging at all. They are migrating paid accounts to a new site (one that removes the name “Suzuki” from their branding—presumably at the request of the ISA.) They have already migrated the violin rep with plans to move the viola and cello content shortly. My guess is that once migration is complete, the user experience will the same.

Anyway, just trying to help. Cheers.

Shelley Weiss said: May 18, 2020
 Viola
3 posts

Thank you for trying to help, Alan.

Most of my students are violists, and there is no separate piano-only accompaniment on the viola CDs I have (they panned mostly viola in the right speaker and mostly piano in the left).

Accompany Music is an existing website for traditional classical violin repertoire (Concertos, Sonatas, Short Pieces and Etudes). There’s nothing on there yet for viola or cello, and when they decide to add it, it will not be the Suzuki repertoire.

For now, I’m going to have my students play along in SmartMusic, even though it is a step down in terms of quality.

Alicia said: May 18, 2020
Alicia Randisi-Hooker
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
9 posts

I am wondering if we wrote letters to all the parties if some agreement could be reached? I just found out about this resource for my students in this time of online everything, and it’s a terrible loss for all of us. I am thinking out loud here, and don’t know the contractual agreement details, or the financial reasons which might play into this decision, but I am hoping that, if enough people voice their disappointment that this website will close down, perhaps a solution can be found.

Alicia

DeAnn Spencer said: May 27, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Rochester, MN
2 posts

I really like the YouTube Channel called “Art of Accompaniment”. They have created piano accompaniments for Suzuki Violin Books 1-4. These are really musical accompaniments with a piano introduction for each piece so students don’t have use the annoying “click beats” to figure out when to start playing.

Carol Dallinger said: May 28, 2020
Carol DallingerTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
12 posts

Thanks for this recommendation. I didn’t know anything about it. Looks very useful.

Carol Dallinger said: May 28, 2020
Carol DallingerTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
12 posts

Thanks for this recommendation. I knew nothing about this You Tube site. It looks really useful.

Barbara Eadie said: May 28, 2020
Barbara Eadie
Suzuki Association Member
Flute
Victoria, BC
39 posts

Has anyone doe this for the flute books? My piano skills take me as far as Lightly Row and then I’m done!

DeAnn Spencer said: May 28, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Rochester, MN
2 posts

If you contact the pianist doing “Art of Accompaniment” he/she may be willing to record the flute books for you. You would need to send him/her a copy of the music. I’m not sure about remuneration.

Angelica said: Jun 22, 2020
Angelica Plass
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Albuquerque, NM
15 posts

My daughter is doing her book 3 flute recital. I can record the accompaniment for you if you wish. I teach Suzuki piano and have taken training till book 5 piano.

AngelicaP

Sarah Cote said: Jun 23, 2020
Sarah Cote
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Nashville, TN
11 posts

I say this every time I see these comments. Many collaborative pianists are out of work during the pandemic. If we could take the opportunity to have our studio support one such person, we would be doing our bit to keep music and musicians alive during this time. It’s easy to have the accompanist record at whatever tempo you need!

Sarah Cote

Kelly Williamson said: Jun 23, 2020
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
311 posts

Hi Barb—I assume you mean past book 1? The new book 1 recording with Lorna McGhee has piano-alone recordings following the reference recording, complete with introductions. We plan for book 2 to have the same, but are waiting for Alfred to move ahead with the book 2 manuscript draft. We submitted it in December (2019).

Kelly

Barbara Eadie said: Jun 24, 2020
Barbara Eadie
Suzuki Association Member
Flute
Victoria, BC
39 posts

That is good news. I did find a CD of Bk 2 accompaniments but the flute is “ghosted” in so that there is no recording of just the piano. It is better than nothing! I will look forward to the new book. I’m glad Nel Cor Piu is being put back in.

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