Let’s get right into another collaborative music post today for our Tuesday Teaching Tactic! We’re exploring the world of duets with scales, arpeggios, and chords. Technique seems to be the boring part of lessons/practice in my students’ minds. They don’t understand why it’s useful, how it will help them in all other areas of piano playing. I often use technique charts with rewards for accomplishing certain levels or concepts. But to make it more musical and a beautiful experience, I’ve started adding duets to make technique even more exciting!

Technique duets – here are the books that you should check out if you want to add some awesome ensemble experiences to your stash of teacher tricks!

  1. Get Ready for One-Octave Scale Duets, By Wynn-Anne Rossi and Lucy W. Warren. One octave, easy to whip out in a lesson, and I always love Wynne-Anne Rossi’s books.
  2. Major Scale ProBy Melody Bober, Gayle Kowalchyk, and E. L. Lancaster. Got these books this year and it’s been so fun to play them with my students. There are so many accompaniment styles and it mixes up the lesson so much.  Because it has to be so steady to play together, it exposes those spots where they’re having troubles and helps us know what to work on further. Definitely a great trick up my sleeve for making lessons more exciting and mix in an element of ensemble work.
  3. Pentascale ProBy Melody Bober, Gayle Kowalchyk, and E. L. Lancaster. By the same composers as the scale book above but now for Major and minor 5 finger patterns. This is next on my musical wishlist! It would be so fun to mix in with younger students just beginning their 5 finger patterns!
  4. Get Ready for Chord and Arpeggio Duets, By Wynne-Anne Rossi and Lucy W. Warren. Another way to mix in duets away from just scales! Now you can do more with chords and arpeggios. Another top contender on my new music wishlist – I’m really going to need more bookshelves!

Hope you’ll give these resources a look! Also, remember you can always improvise a duet yourself as they play. Such a fun quick way to mix in ensemble skills even during a busy lesson!

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com