Almost every lesson, I start off by asking students what they’ve been up to in the week since I’ve last seen them. Occasionally, a student will reply with something surprising that was exciting for them, but more often than not this summer students’ answers are some variety of, “Nothing much.” And increasingly, students have been expressing how bored they are, and how much they miss doing various things with friends.
One thing that I was reminded of during this past Saturdays’ Zoom “Home Concert” is that playing a duet with someone isn’t just twice as enjoyable as playing a piece by yourself, it’s exponentially more fun and rewarding! And fortunately, thanks to the wonders of technology and the ability to get together in person taking the necessary precautions, playing music together is something that has carried over relatively well into this quarantined summer.
Many of you have siblings who also play a stringed instrument, and you can do duets for 2 violins, or violin / viola duets. Some of you even have multiple siblings who also play stringed instruments, and you can work on trios for 3 violins, or trios for 2 violins and viola! Some of you have parents who play a stringed instrument, and believe it or not – yes, teenagers, even you! – you can have a lot of fun and make some great memories working on duets with a parent. Others of you have parents or a sibling who can play piano and can accompany you on your solo repertoire.
If no one in your family circle is a musician, many of you know other WCS students from school or group class, and could meet over Zoom or for a socially-distanced get-together to work on Suzuki duets or other ensemble music. And if setting something like that up doesn’t work, Kirby and I are always happy to record duet parts so that you can work on playing with some “live” accompaniment to your pieces throughout the week! And if you’re looking for repertoire to explore, we’re always happy to offer suggestions, too.
So, happy practicing – hopefully now with more duets, trios, or even quartets than in previous weeks!