September 13, 2023
Story by Joe Vinduska
Photo by Courtney Liebl
Barton Community College is excited to announce its groundbreaking Music Accompaniment Program, which empowers aspiring musicians to enter the workforce in the music industry after only two years of dedicated study, which will be led by world-renowned pianist and Barton Keyboard Instructor Dr. Alejandro Avila.
Avila’s love of music and enthusiasm for mentoring is what brought this program to life. He said a main goal was to create a curriculum designed to be both diverse and enriching.
“I often think about all of the mentors I have had throughout my career, and I wanted to be able to offer a program where I could share all of the things I learned from them over the years but transformed into a useful and practical package that can help any music student find a career that they are passionate about,” he said.
Avila said there are multiple career paths for an accompanist and Barton’s program touches on them with enhanced focus so that students are competent and capable no matter what path they choose to take.
“We cater to a wide array of musical genres and contexts,” he said. “Students learn hymn interpretation and improvisation techniques suitable for church services, practical knowledge of musical theatre, and other insights to help prepare them for the grand stages across the country up to and including Broadway.”
The education sector is another large employer of accompanists and Avila said the program is designed to get students up to speed to succeed in these jobs as well.
“Understanding the nuances between vocal and instrumental music is crucial for aspiring accompanists,” he said. “Barton’s program equips students with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel in these roles, enhancing their versatility and employability.”
Avila said a focus on opera and orchestra will also be part of the curriculum.
“Students will acquire an understanding of language diction in Italian, French, and German, which is vital for a future opera coach,” he said. “On the orchestra side, we will teach how to replicate an orchestra when reducing a score for musical rehearsals and concerts and of course many other things related to this unique musical setting.”
Avila said like all of Barton’s classes, transferability is key for courses in this program.
“Many music students wish to pursue additional education to really master their craft, and we want to provide a seamless transition for those students,” he said. “Credits earned in this program are transferable to any four-year music program across the United States. This flexibility opens doors to countless opportunities for further education and specialization in music.”
For more information or to enroll, visit playpiano.bartonccc.edu.