This blog post is written by composer Rosamund Conrad. A piece from Rosamund’s book, Delightfully Easy Piano Duets, has been chosen as the set piece for the 2014 Dulwich Piano Festival that takes place at Alleyn’s school in June.
Playing duets is a great way to learn the piano. The learner experiences making music with another person, which forces them to listen and become aware of more than their own part. It helps enormously with note reading, which requires you to think ahead and possibly the most important lesson you need in music – to keep going.Playing duets allows the learner to feel they are making a big sound and creating real music.
As a teacher I found that there are a lot of books of ‘easy’ piano duets out there that with duets that really aren’t that easy. I started writing my own and tailoring them to my students’ needs, and this way came up with duet parts that can be played right from the beginning.
The duets are in the 5 finger position, so the beginner never needs to move their hands. They use only very simple rhythmic patterns, as rhythm can often be the most difficult part of note reading. While the duets are in a range of keys, there are no sharps or flats for the student.
The more advanced part I have tried to keep nice and simple, and quick to grasp the gist of so the intermediate player can easily keep an eye on what the beginner is playing. I have tried to make the page turns (when they occur) as easy as possible.
The duets are not specifically geared to any age group, and in my lessons they have been enjoyed by pupils from aged five up to ninety.
I still need more easy duets for my lessons, so book 2 is forming itself and will be out soon.