Do you use ensemble music & why? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

What are some technics you use to apply to piano duets and duos. I think they are very valuable to include in the repertoire. How can we maximize the usage of duets.

-- Carol Burggraaf, NCTM (, May 29, 2002


Ensembles are a must in my studio! I personally have always loved the ensemble experience, so why wouldn't my students? I have 2 pianos side by side in my studio, and play some sort of accompaniment with every piece my students learn right from the very beginning. It helps BIG TIME with listening skills as well as counting skills. I use Get Ready for Major Scales Duets books by Wynn-Anne Rossi and Victoria McArthur. Published by FJH Music. There are also books for Pentascale Duets as well as Minor Scales. The kids LOVE them and can't wait to start their lessons off with scales! What a treat! Every December I have an Ensemble Recital in which I play with each student. I use ALL CLASSICAL Duet materials as well as Duo piano music for the more intermediate/advanced and advanced students. Instead of playing the duets on one piano, I split the pieces off onto two pianos- giving even the very young children the experience of the duo. They learn teamwork, listening skills go way up, after all nothing fits together the right way unless it's counted correctly............they love it and so do the parents! It looks very classy - professional and motivates students in a great way. It also addresses a question that was posted earlier about playing for your student recitals. There is not a doubt in the minds of my students parents that I can play the instrument that I am teaching to their children. They always tell me that they look forward to the recital and so do I - because I love an ensemble and have SO MUCH FUN preparing for the event. I NEVER have anyone complain about having to play "classical music", as we all sometimes seem to hear. It has been of favorite of all for the past 20 years.

PS: Some other great materials for lessons as well as recitals come from the Favorite Classics Books 1 and 2 by EL Lancaster and Kenon Renfrow. They are published by Alfred. Each solo book has an accompaniment book. These books are filled with many of the standard classics that every student should learn and can also be used as duos. Great material - everyone in my studio uses them.

-- Karen Medved (, June 14, 2003.

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