[Posting clips of my students performing lets them know I’m proud of them. Learning music – like learning most things – is a series of little steps, every step significant, and hopefully taken with a sense of pleasure and adventure.]
Learning piano can be a bit lonely. I mean, if you play string or wind instruments, there’s a good chance you’ll make the school orchestra or school band. But these groups only need one pianist, so as a kid you might be practising piano in the living room, playing to the dog or cat, with mum calling out encouragingly from the kitchen.
I try spending the last five minutes of each lesson playing duets with my students. I think this is especially rewarding for early learners, whose pieces will be simple as they learn the fundamentals.
Simple and beautiful
But simple can be beautiful too. Katerina has really come into her own playing the piano. We play a lot of duets together and she has plenty of favourites now. She is working through Lesson 2A of Alfred’s Premier Piano Course books. This song is called “Together”.
Keely has just started to play with both hands, reading proper notes on the stave. She is confident, learns very quickly and played several songs by ear before coming to me. I’m trying to keep things interesting for her while she gets to grips with learning the basics about musical notation. Keely is learning from an Alfred beginner book.
Anna is a very determined young learner with small hands! I try to watch that she doesn’t press too hard on her little fingers. “Boogie Woogie Beat” is from Alfred’s Prep Course Lesson Book Level B.
I know we can record duet parts on our digital pianos and play to backing tracks, but I love playing with my students. It’s like we’re having a jam session! And I get to say: “Learn that piece really well, then we can play it together next week!”
By the way, I don’t mean to push Alfred books in particular. They just happen to be the books these students are using, and I want to credit the videos properly. My students also learn from Bastien, Progressive and John Thompson books.