Special Duet Ideas
Found in: Recitals & Events
Carrie L., Michigan
The school near me is having a talent show and a couple of my students want to perform. One really wants to do a duet. Any ideas of what she could do to have a duet with another student? One student (4th grade) is in Level 6, while the other student is 3rd grade (Level 3).
I was thinking an accompaniment piece of her choosing with the other student playing the melody.
Or she can do a solo… perhaps add a couple songs together in an arrangement?
Christine M., Australia
One of my favourite duets is actually an improvising ”exercise” I do in my lessons. Its something they could swap places for in the middle with a dramtic flourish.
The melody is pure improvising with the blues scale in C, in interesting rhythms, just using the RH.
The accompaniment is Honey Dew, over and over.
(For the Level 6 student I’d ask them to invert the RH chords so less movement is needed and then they could ham it up a bit. – it also means the accompaniment would sound different even though its the same sequence as the original Honey Dew.) My children call this ‘Honey Dew Jam.’
The beauty of it is that there is nothing new to memorise/forget….so they can be more relaxed.
Of course the same thing would work with Jackson Blues and/or Bishop Street blues and/or the cage chords, as the accompaniment and the blues scale improv for the melody. The kids feel SO COOL doing this one. ( I’d use chord V as the bridge back to the beginning of the 12 bar blues each time around.)
I can’t wait to hear everyone elses ideas. And to find out what they choose to do after all.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Two songs that work really well together are Fluff Pie and Tear for a Friend. One person plays Tear in the usual position, BH. The 2nd person plays Fluff Pie in a higher octave (slower than the typical tempo). Fluff Pie lays out during the Tear B section. The person on the upper part could add an improv section if they wanted to make the song a bit longer. Fun stuff!
Elaine F., South Carolina
Carrie– a real crowd pleaser is Chester with the arrangement. I once had the kids play it twice in a row- they traded places the 2nd time and did it at a different octave and / or added the samba rhythm. IT’s a bit short– but a good companion with a longer piece Perhaps the level 6 student could do Chester with octaves in both hands.
Or, one plays the Sonata, straight, then the other in the blues style–just a thought.
Cindy B., Illinois
This is a great opportunity for some composition and improvisation work! The level 3 student could sit on the right side of the bench and find notes that sound good next to the other person’s part, which could be absolutely anything in their repertoire! The counterpoint in the high range can be as simple or as complicated as desired and still sound good. To make the duet even more entertaining, they could switch places on the bench midway thru the performance, with 1 student continuing to play while sliding on the bench and the other runs around the bench to the other side to begin playing.
Darla B., Kansas
Amazing Grace could be a beautiful duet using the various skills and knowledge of both students. The level 3 student could play the AG 2 arrangement (with the rocking motion in the right hand) while the level 6 student could play the AG 3 arrangement one octave higher. They could play it a second time through with the level 3 student playing the bass in the broken octave pattern from NS 3 and holding the chords for 3 beats each. The level 6 student could add some embellishments to the melody the second time through, if desired.
Blues duets could be a lot of fun too. There are so many possibilities here, so students could pick out their favorite of the blues pieces they know and figure out a way to put them together. One idea would be to play Bishop St Blues down low and Light Blue up high, possibly adding in some embellishments. (My daughter and I do a lot of duet-playing during her practice times and this is one of our current favorites.) Squidgies Boogie would be fun to try out with a melody like Alma Mater or Light Blue above too. The possibilities are really endless here if they like the blues!
That’s so great that your students want to play in the talent show! Let us know what they end up doing!
Sharon B., Australia
One idea that looks and sounds good is to join a couple of the blues together- eg full Alma Mater Blues segueing into the Gaz (#1) with a blues scale as a solo, or starting with the gaz and going into Alma Mater or Bishop St Blues where your first student would start with the Gaz and then another student (also sitting at bottom end of piano) would segue into whatever blues you choose and first student would improvise while 2nd student is playing blues- a glissando (down the keys from top of piano) thrown over the chord V turnaround always sounds impressive!