Delightfully Easy Piano Duets

Piano Duets are amongst the most enjoyable of all chamber music, both for performers and listeners. All pianists, irrespective of standard, can benefit from getting together with a fellow player for some piano fun. They can also be very educational, because they are an excellent method of practising sight-reading. Reading will become so much quicker as pianists learn to keep the pulse (crucial in sight-reading), as hesitation is not an option when working with other musicians. They also provide the perfect opportunity to create music with another person as opposed to playing alone, which in itself encourages players to listen and become more aware of their own playing.

Advanced players are able to explore some of the most beautiful music ever written for four hands, but less experienced players are not so fortunate, as pertinent and interesting material is more difficult to find.

Delightfully Easy Piano Duets certainly fill a gap in this market. Designed for absolute beginners (as the title suggests!), they are written by Rosamund Conrad, a piano teacher and music educator, who also noticed this apparent lack of suitable material for her students to play. Book 1 consists of ‘Eight piano duets in the five-finger position for beginners and intermediate players’. ‘Beginner’s parts can be played with both hands or just one’ advises Rosa. This will be of benefit to many very young players as well as more mature learners who are just getting to grips with reading notes and combining two hands.

The Primo part (or top part) caters for the real beginners (or pupils) and the Secondo (or bass parts) are for teachers or slightly more advanced pianists. To this end they are very effective. After all, teachers often want to test students on reading ability in lessons as well as encourage them to have fun and enjoy music making. The Primo part bears the instruction to be played either one or two octaves higher, and each piece assumes a different character; from Pentatonic 3 (which must be swung) and Tempest to Breeze and Saloon Bar Blues. These bright, tuneful works will no doubt capture the young beginner’s imagination whilst supporting constant progress.

The top part is generally in unison which makes for swifter reading, and bass parts consist of Alberti Bass figurations and chordal progressions, impressively swelling the sound. Rosa’s duet quest is ‘To inspire confidence in playing and reading music and to be enjoyed’ and she has successfully fulfilled this criteria.

You can find out more information and where to buy this book here.


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


The Joys of the Parent Pupil.

The new term brings fresh challenges and new pupils for many music teachers. One interesting group of prospective students is parent pupils.  A parent will  occasionally announce that they wish to start playing the piano alongside their child. There are many reasons for this; it may be that they want to keep an eye on their son or daughter and their progress (or lack of it); perhaps they want to be able to help their child with weekly piano practice; or it may just be that they have always wanted to play and think it will be an excellent hobby that will fulfill a creative desire. Whatever the reason they can be very satisfying students to teach.

Parent pupils will be able to help their offspring in so many ways. They will have an informed interest in the joys and frustrations involved in learning and realistic expectations about rates of progress as well as the importance of regular practice. They can also give complete support and encouragement which is crucial if the child is to make swift progress with their playing.

One of the benefits of this relationship is shared practice. The parent can help the child foster good practising habits by regularly monitoring posture, hand positions, and rhythm. Technical exercises which may seem boring can be turned into fun if both parties explore different ways and speeds to practice observing who can play the most accurately. Another game could be ‘spot the deliberate mistake’ which will help devlop note reading and aural skills.

The parent – child duo are a ready made duet partnership. There are many duet (two pianists playing one piano together) pieces arranged for beginners and hopefully a helpful teacher will guide their students to the most appropriate ones. The parent will help their child focus on the details such as keeping time and correct notes and fingerings, they will also be able to share in the sense of achievement after performing a piece for the family.

Perhaps the most important role the parent pupil can take is to lead by example. They can illustrate the importance of regular practice by making time in their day and consequently when their child sees this they tend to follow and gradually view practice as a necessary route to improvement. When a parent’s good intentions occasionally fall by the wayside they might find themselves being gently reprimanded by their child! Another amusing situation occurs when the child becomes more fluent than their parent and parents will then find themselves ‘having a lesson’ from their son or daughter. Most parents are delighted with this development and it gives children a real sense of confidence and achievment too.

Children to do need real support when learning to master an instrument. It does help if a parent is around to help with practice sessions particularly if the child is young, so if a parent does decide to take lessons this can only be a positive influence on a child’s musical development. If you have been planning to take piano lessons with your child then what are you waiting for? Get playing and have fun.


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.