Playing for Singers
by Mike Greensill


Playing For Singers explores, in depth, the art of accompaniment for the jazz or cabaret pianist.


In a world deeply populated with music books, this a special one that teaches how to accompany in an insightful and approachable way. Thanks to Mike's musical wisdom and experience, it fills a gap that finally addresses how to really do it!”
— Michael Feinstein


Playing for Singers covers all the fundamentals of playing for vocalists. A comprehensive resource for everyone — from the beginning jazz pianist, to the crusty old pro needing a tune-up for his/her next accompanying gig!









In Playing for Singers veteran Mike Greensill brings his many years of accompanying experience to bear in exploring, in detail, the in's and out's of the accompanist's art as it applies to the performance of the “Great American Songbook”.

Topics Covered Include:

  • How to accompany singers as a solo pianist.
  • Duo and Trio accompaniment - What happens when we add bass and drums?
  • The art of “out of tempo” accompaniment
  • The accompanist as arranger/composer, including the skills needed to put together readable, good looking charts.
  • The accompanist as music director - A survey of all the myriad duties of a musical director, from conducting the band, to running rehearsals, to helping write and organize vocalist's shows.
  • Nuggets of wisdom from the great accompanists - accompaniment philosophies and tricks of the trade from Norman Simmons, Jimmy Rowles, Bill Charlap, Christian Jacob, Tedd Firth, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, and more.
  • A useful book for singers, as well as pianists, since it sheds much light on the intimate relationship between the two!
  • 121 pages, including numerous musical examples. $25 list price.


Sample Pages

Pages 44-46

Pages 66-67



More Endorsements


Mike Greensill's Playing for Singers is a most valuable and thorough resource and reference, a welcome addition to every accompanist's library. . . Bravo Mike!”
— Lee Musiker (accompanist to Tony Bennett)

Mr. Greensill has drawn on his many years of experience backing vocalists to write this invaluable exploration of the various skills necessary to become an accomplished and in-demand vocal accompanist. This book sheds a bright light into an often shadowy corner of musical techniques, inadequately explored until now. Highly recommended.”
— Larry Dunlap (accompanist to Dame Cleo Lane, Mark Murphy, Bobbe Norris)

Mike Greensill has written the book that should've been written a long time ago to open up the world of vocal accompanying to pianists of all styles and ability levels. Mike's decades of experience as a top- shelf accompanist and arranger make him the perfect person to have written this book.”
— Ted Firth (accompanist to Maureen McGovern, Tom Wopat, Carol Sloane, Hillary Kole, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marilyn Maye)

Mike has done the impossible — he has examined and dissected just about every aspect of collaboration with an artist, and done it mightily well. His singular, friendly and terribly humorous voice guides you through well-thought out how-to chapters, and he manages to pepper in quotes from some of the finest accompanists in the business. A must-read for any budding music director, arranger and pianist — this is a terrific book!”
— John McDaniel (Broadway musical director, conductor and arranger. Band leader for the Rosie O'Donnell TV show)

Mike Greensill's Playing for Singers is a first — a unique addition to the now rich catalog of pedagogical materials directed to the jazz musician. Secrets of the great accompanists are revealed herein. Mike and his wife, vocalist Wesla Whitfield, have long been in the front rank of interpreters of the Great American Song Book.”
— Gary Foster (jazz recording artist)

Playing for Singers is an easy-to-follow, artistically-presented and friendly introduction to the world of the Great American Songbook for pianists making music with vocalists. It is filled with musical examples and gems of wisdom.”
— Tamir Hendelman (accompanist to Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Tierney Sutton)