Of all the duets I’ve ever taught, this set is my favorite.
I love to use these pieces to teach students to play in every major key. I especially enjoy teaching these to students who respond to the beauty built into each duet.
My student, Nadia, is one of those. (She is already a little famous for her Duct Tape improvisation.) Here you can see her learning to play the E Major Five-Finger Pattern while responding to lovely, interesting harmonies being played underneath it.
If you’ll listen carefully, you’ll realize that the entire student part consists of one single five-finger pattern.
Mack Wilberg, now the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, wrote Duet Miniatures in 12 Keys many years ago. With the simplest resources, he brings the character of each major key to life and gives students a reason to want to play in them.
These pieces are particularly wonderful to use with a student who has a parent or even older sibling who plays reasonably well. The accompaniment parts vary in difficulty, but I’ve had them appear on recitals with a brother and sister duo playing them. The fast ones are snazzy and full of life. I often use them on recitals to perk things up after a quiet piece – or even as a “grand finale” because they’re so exciting.
I don’t use these as reading pieces.
I write in a lot of fingering – often every note – because that’s not the point of this experience. If I have a seven-year-old who’s playing in D Flat Major for the first time, I really don’t care if she’s reading the notes. I just want her to have a rich experience playing in this exciting new key. I use other opportunities for sight-reading. (Use my Sight Reading Flashcards if you need some help with this.)
Feel like getting you and your students out of C Major? Now you know an easy way!