Updated: Jan 12
Pianists are the loneliest of all musical creatures, because they do not need to play with someone to do a solo concert, unlike most other instrumentalists, who more often than not will require an accompanist (or a 'collaborative pianist', as the accompanist role is increasingly becoming known).
COLLABORATION AND THE SKILLS IT INVOLVES
It is precisely because pianists collaborate the least that they tend to make the worst listeners, which is why performing with others is extremely important if you are a pianist, as it requires specialised skills very different to solo playing that are indispensable to any musician: developing a strong sense of pulse, following somebody else’s pace, balancing sound level, adjusting for changes to performance in the moment by knowing the rhythm of the other's instrumental/voice part, playing at different speeds and in different keys, giving clear indications of tempo changes, breathing upbeats and endings, etc. In addition, practising and performing with others also develops one's sight-reading skills significantly, hones one's understanding of interpretation, and significantly broadens one's repertoire.
HOW DO I IMPLEMENT COLLABORATION TO MY LESSONS?
When it comes to my students, I feel that piano duets and six-hand piano pieces are a great place to start in terms of encouraging collaboration and developing the aforementioned indispensable skills.
Note by the principal: