Duets and ensemble playing

Discuss the pros and cons of various "methods" with other teachers

Postby Beckywy » Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:48 pm

I want to encourage my students to participate in duets and ensemble playing, but having a hard time trying to match them up and arrange times to have them practice together. Has anybody been successful in promoting and teaching duets and ensemble work?
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:49 pm

That's exactly the big problem I always had with duo-piano classes at NMSU: if the class is not very big, it can be really difficult to find appropriate matches of technical level, musical experience, and even personality (that can be a problem as well sometimes).

In a private studio, it wouldn't be amiss for the teacher herself to play a duet with early grade students (that's one thing we like about Frances Clark's "The Music Tree"), even on recitals. It's also helpful to ask the students who they would like to play together with--often two friends would prefer being together even if they're not perfectly matched pianistically.

You can also mix duets, ensembles and solos on the same recital--people would very much enjoy the variety. Work with what you have, and others will get interested as ensemble assignments become more common and familiar.

Dr. B.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby Tranquillo » Sat May 24, 2008 7:46 pm

Had this idea a while ago, with people that play piano and other instruments. I was singing Edelweiss at a school concert last year, the piece is very easy technically for the singer and pianist. We added the violin to do a solo for some interest and color. When we would practice every so often we would swap places (take the violin, the pianist takes my play the violinist takes the piano ...etc) just to muck around and understand what each one is doing. ... So if you have students that play other instruments maybe organizing a switch around.

A friend of mine sings and plays, she picks a song to sing and I would accompany her, then I would pick a song to sing and she would accompany me. It is a lot of fun!

They are just a few ideas
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