Encouraging Young Pianists to Accompany

Most piano pupils live a lonely musical life compared to their friends who play other instruments. Many of the latter play with bands and orchestras from an early stage, Nowadays, instrumental teaching in schools is predominantly group-based, so there are many opportunities to play in parts. However, when it comes to solo repertoire for the early grades, the piano accompaniment  frequently demands a more experienced performer than the solo part. This leaves elementary pianists hopelessly out of their depth. When opportunities do arise, however, they provide a whole new dimension to piano-playing and are very motivating for the young student.

It is often said that ‘many accompanists are fine pianists, while few pianists are fine accompanists’. This is, no doubt, due to the isolationist way in which we educate pianists, often not exposing them to accompanying until they reach an advanced level. By that time, many amateurs will have discontinued tuition, having attained a level of skill sufficient to play the music in which they are interested.

Happily, today’s composers of music for young players are more alert to the need for manageable piano accompaniments, if we check out other sections of the music shop while browsing for new repertoire, we will find pieces to suggest to piano pupils for sharing with their friends. In my own pieces for beginners, the “Stars from the Start” books and the, downloadable, “Flutes (Recorders, Violins) Start Here” series, I have endeavoured to provide piano scores which can be played and enjoyed by elementary pianists, thus encouraging friends and families to make music together from an early stage. A little more demanding (but still fairly easy) are the accompaniments for other pieces. like those in the “Creative Flute Pack“.

There are few activities more absorbing and satisfying than playing music with one’s friends!

Creating Recital Pieces for Flute Beginners

When preparing concert music for an absolute beginner, there are a number of tricky points to take into consideration. Having created, what I hope will be, attractive melodies using a very restricted range of notes, I must remember that a flute beginner may be unable to make any appreciable variation in dynamics. Indeed, the teacher may not wish to introduce dynamics in the early stages of tone development. Teachers also introduce articulation at different points. If music is stripped of its expression, however, it loses much of its ability to engage both performer and audience. In the ‘Stars From the Start’ concert music for beginner flute downloads, I have included two versions of the solo part, one with and one without markings. I hope this will make them useful resources for teachers in several ways. The unmarked copy allows the teacher to add dynamics and/or articulation as appropriate for an individual pupil. The pdf files can be printed as required and can be used for aural training, with the teacher playing his/her version and the pupil identifying the dynamics. Unmarked scores also afford pupils the opportunity to improvise their own version.

Most pieces in tutor books, at this stage, are too short to make satisfying concert items, yet it is too challenging to both the skills of the pupil and the time available in a lesson to cover much material. With this in mind, I have made much use of repetition in these tunes to make them a more rewarding length, without adding to the burden.

See: beginner flute concert pieces