Something new I’m working on this year is a full-scale duet and trio recital. I have a venue booked for the end of April and all students are paired up to play duets and/or trios. The students have been learning their own parts since Christmas and will attempt them with their partners in a couple of weeks when we have Performance Classes.
I’ve been playing the other parts in the lessons – trying my darndest to NOT follow when they mess up the rhythm. The accompanist in me always wants to wait. I’m making the students count us in – that suggestion got a few horrified looks this week! Once they are a bit more secure, I’ll mess up on purpose to teach them how to handle it. What fun!
I have a wide range of students, so we’ll hear a wide range of duets – everything from the earliest duets and trios with the fewest notes, to a couple of pieces from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite to the fun, rhythmic Industrial Revolutions Per Minute. I dug out every ensemble book I own – Dennis Agay’s The Joy of Duets is a gold mine as are the Ensemble books from the Artistry at the Piano series. We’re also playing bits and pieces from Microjazz, Weekley & Arganbright and Philip Kevern’s Classical Theme Duets. A wonderful little trio book is something I picked up a number of years ago called Serenades for Six Hands by Manfred Schmitz (from Germany). It’s beautifully illustrated in colour and has some parts easy enough for beginners.
I’m hoping that with the classes in a couple of weeks and another round of classes the week before the recital, we won’t need extra rehearsals. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the studio about this project. After all, the number one reason to do duets is that it’s fun:)