Fun activities for two adult piano students with limited time?
August 27, 2014 5:03 PM   Subscribe

My friend and I are two intermediate piano players taking lessons with different teachers. We want to have fun and get better. We thought we would get together every month or so and play duets. This worked for a while but now I'm finding the time I need to prepare beforehand is too much. I'd still like to get together though, so what other piano activities can two pianists do (on one piano) that requires less (or no ) advance prep? Activities that help us become better musicians?
posted by storybored to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This might be way too obvious, but why not get together to sight-read duets? It's fun, requires no prep, and helps develop, uh, sight-reading skills (very useful!).
posted by taupe at 5:59 PM on August 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

You would be in great shape if you got a couple of books on the boogie woogie-- or the twelve bar blues progression. If you get the right book, (like the one I used years ago) there will be easily 12-14 complete songs that follow the same 12-measure chord progression, meaning that you can take the left hand from any song and put it together with the right hand from any other song, and it will fit perfectly. Also, after seeing the same song in 12 variations, you can mix and match by splicing any one song into another. Furthermore, you can improvise too. The large number of songs gives you a really firm base for understanding what is essentially the same fundamental chord progression, and if you experiment (improvise) and fuck up, you can always get back on track by reverting to what you know. The 12-bar progression can also be strung together in a repeating pattern, so you can just start playing, and not stop until you want to.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 6:29 PM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I imagine you could find something easy in this list .

This also
and this

Similar to Maxwell_Smart's suggestion^, if you have any interest in jazz or klezmer and such, now could be the time to start. Few basic chords (one person)+ improv (other person), for the days when you just want to muck around.

'Activities that help us become better musicians?'

Apart from improving sightreading skills as mentioned in an above post (which would eventually lessen your need for prep time)(and which is especially useful if you have any plans to become an accompanist- a highly sought after breed around my part of the world), you could do aural practise with each other, or if you are taking theory lessons as well at a similar level then you could work through understanding some progressions on the piano together. Not intrinsically fun for most, I guess, but pretty helpful stuff in terms of building skill.
posted by SailRos at 7:11 PM on August 27, 2014

I used to teach group piano, and one thing I would sometimes have the students do is very simple ensemble piano; I pretty much divided them into groups and gave the groups different simple repeating rhythms, like quarter and eighth notes, that they can play on any pitches. You could do the same or different rhythms in two hands depending on how coordinated you are; you could move to different pitches or chords and improvise that way. It can be a lot of fun and requires less note-reading, just rhythm reading.

I also like the boogie woogie or blues improv idea.
posted by daisystomper at 9:06 PM on August 27, 2014

Sing alongs!
posted by dismas at 4:23 AM on August 28, 2014

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