The Value of Ensemble (playing together) Work What's the difference between five people playing pianos in the same room and a piano ensemble? In a piano ensemble, each pianist creates tone and shapes their phrases together. The idea is for each team member to shape their phrase in the same way as the others at the same time. This attention to detail is what creates a cohesive ensemble. Playing experience like this is extremely valuable for building solid musicianship.
Different Kinds of Ensembles Once students have some basic skills, it's very important for a student to play with other musicians. This acts like an embedding process where the skills learned in a private lesson are solidified and refined. A student's artistry deepens and matures as a result.
Adult Ensemble, Los Angeles. Directed by David Cutter
Ensemble work is the best way to accomplish this refinement. In ensemble work a student deepens many skills, but most importantly, learns to blend the tone of their piano with their partner's pianos. To achieve this, most teachers use duet music where two students sit at the same piano. The student on the right would play the high notes while the student on the left would play the low notes. More rare is duo work where each student would play a separate piano. Duo music is arranged so that each student gets to play over their entire piano (high and low notes), unlike a duet where each student is limited to half of the piano. David uses duets and duos but also features music arranged specifically for five pianos! This means each pianist has a unique part where they have to "carry their weight" over an entire piano. The five separate parts add up to a rich, orchestrated sound. This unique, five piano sound is truly delightful and educational in nature.
Ensemble music and lessons are structured so pianists work together on creating tone and blending the sound of their pianos together. This allows five pianists to play musical phrases that are shaped together yet sound like a single ensemble. Rhythmic understanding and precision is sharpened. Ensemble members learn how to cue each other as there is no conductor. they also gain practical experience working with other musicians. the specially arranged scores provide students with different parts, creating a single, orchestrated, ensemble sound. The ensemble works together toward a culminating end-of-semester performance. Being a member of a piano ensemble is an experience you'll never forget. It's also a lot of fun.
"It has been so much fun to have the opportunity to play piano with other pianists" Natalie L.
Start a Piano Club Consider starting a piano club with your friends. The piano is normally a very solitary instrument. For young pianists, a piano ensemble provides a chance to enjoy the piano as a social experience. The same is true for adult pianists, and additionally, ensembles offer more mature pianists a performance outlet for skills they have developed over a lifetime. All students, no matter what their age, deepen and broaden their skills through piano ensemble work.
Ensemble Program Structure Piano ensembles are available for children and adults, from beginning through advanced levels. New ensembles start at the beginning of a semester (in February and September). A minimum one semester commitment is required.
Matching students by skill level fosters compatibility so team members are neither frustrated or bored. This is best accomplished at the beginning of a piano ensemble semester however, open seats can become available at any time. Please call to find out if I have an open seat. The rehearsal space is located at a residence with five acoustic pianos all year round to accommodate anyone's schedule. Piano Ensembles Los Angeles is open to the wider community of piano teachers and students in the Los Angeles area. If you can get to Pasadena on a weekly basis, I welcome you.
Cost There is a fee for each rehearsal and the cost of the books. Each weekly rehearsal costs $10.00 and the books are between $7 and $25.00. Generally, two books are needed for a semester.
Children's Ensemble, Las Vegas. Directed by Laurie Swain
Prerequisites Some ability to read music is required although there is no sightreading requirement. If ensemble members have sightreading skills there are opportunities for sightreading during rehearsals. Pianists must purchase the music so they can take it home and practice. Pianists must commit to at least one semester because they become members of a team. The team depends on each pianist's attendance at rehearsals.
Piano Ensemble Students:
Build listening skills Sharpen rhythm skills Learn to work with other musicians Build confidence in their musicianship Enjoy team camraderie Make music with their peers Enjoy the piano as a social experience
Call David Cutter for more information. (626)260-1615