There is so much more to Accompaniment I than just accompaniment! If "scale" is the skeleton of music, then chords are the "meat." In my opinion, chords are where everything begins so a thorough understanding of chords opens the doors to improvisation and composition, enables students to interpret any piece of music (such as how the treble and bass clef are related and the musical the progression of the piece).
Students who learn the chords actually learn what notes belong together (scale). For example, if you learn the I-IV-V of any key, you know what notes belong in that note family. If you play the I chord in the key of D, then the IV and V and name the notes, you now know what notes are played in the key of D Major. Pretty cool--and totally painless.
When students object to Accompaniment, I let them know that knowing chords is going to have a huge impact on their ability to play music, understand music, read music, improvise and compose in addition to knowing how to sightread chords and play with others. Without exception, when I explain my position and the benefits, students get on board. I've had some students that don't especially enjoy accompaniment, so this where it is critical to provide a singing voice or even better, an opportunity to play with a band.
It is amazing for students and parents alike. Hearing your child play The Beatles or Coldplay, Adele or a favorite praise and worship song with a band, and do it well is very exciting and highly motivational. Every time we do this, I see the lights go on for students.
Finally, knowing chords really aids in improvisation... I love having students discover a chord progression and build pieces or improvise on it. It is such a key to successful improv and comp.
Accompaniment is never option in my studio.
WHAT ARE STREAMS?
The "streams" are all the projects that run along side of the Foundation Level pieces. The "streams" to which we refer are initially Comp and Improv, Arrangements and Accompaniment. As you progress into Levels 4-6, those "streams" also include Reading Rhythm, Reading Notes, Time for More Music, Accompaniment Variations (rhythmic in nature), the Christmas Accompaniment Program, etc... I used to call them "Special Programs" but they are each an integral part of the curriculum.
The value and importance of teaching/learning Comp and Improv, Arrangements and Accompaniment is invaluable. You will see that these components provide you/your children with a well-rounded, comprehensive music education that is going to develop you/them into capable, confident musicians who can do anything.