Piano players spend a lot of time practicing and playing on their own. Here are 7 reasons to go out and find a duet partner you can play with on a regular basis:
1. Easy to set up
All you need is to add another seat at the piano, and you are ready to go. No extra space, no note stands, it really is as simple as that.
2. Sounds twice as nice
When there are two of you, the piano sound is doubled which can be very satisfying. You will be utilizing the whole piano and will hear it from its deepest sounds to the highest, while only playing half the notes yourself. It's like getting two for the price of one.
3. Players on all levels can do it
Chamber music that involves other instruments often requires an advanced level of piano playing. Piano duets however have no level limitations. You can find duets that range from complete beginner level up to virtuoso level. If you are two beginners though, you will probably need someone to help you coordinate your playing together.
All the big piano method book series have duet books on each of the graded levels. I find it good if students play duets on a level a little under their actual playing level. This enables them to divert some of their attention to listening , adjusting and coordinating their playing with their partner, instead of having to use all the concentration just to keep up.
Once you find a duet partner, you can look for the repertoire that most suits your level.
4. Great for your sense of rhythm and timing
When you play with other people a steady beat turns into your top priority. Piano players spend a lot of time playing on their own and can drift into their own private musical bubble. Playing duets anchors you and sharpens your timing and rhythm.
5. Pretend you are an orchestra
Many composers wrote for two players at one piano. It was a simple way for them to write down and test their musical ideas, which were later rewritten for orchestra either by themselves or by others. This also goes the other way: you will often find transcriptions of the big orchestra works to piano duets rather than piano solo, because of the amount of notes needed to be played.
6. Keeps you flexible
When you share the piano with someone else, no one sits in the center as a solo pianist would, you will find yourself either facing the lower of the higher end of the piano. This can be a bit disorienting and confusing at first.
If you are playing the Primo part ( the player on the right side) you will have both hands playing in treble clef. The Secondo ( left side player) will be reading two bass clefs. It is important to rotate and play some pieces sitting in one side, and then switch over to the other. This keeps you alert and challenged.
7. It's so much fun!
Playing piano duets is a lot of fun. You obviously have to like your piano partner personally, since it is quite an intimate set up, and it helps if you are on a similar musical wave length. I personally have spent many enjoyable hours playing beautiful music together with duet partners and can highly recommend it!
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