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using duets to teach

Discussion in 'Double Bass Pedagogy [DB]' started by Tom Gale, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    When I was an active private teacher, I found that duets are a great tool in teaching. The student tends to hear and copy your vibrato, bowing and style, etc. without long explanations.
    Are there still teachers pout there that use duets as a teaching devise??
    Tom Gale
  2. I have used duos more lot more for jazz tunes and free improvisation, but I have also used a great book of classical duos by Turetzky as well.
  3. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm not a teacher, but I sometimes work with my kids when they practice for their lessons. When I play along in unison with my son (on cello), it's hard for him to pick out who is playing out of tune. Playing a harmony or duet part, even if improvised, lets him hear his own intonation much better. So I think this might be a useful approach for teaching beginners.
  5. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    I think duets are great for intonation. I practice duets from time to time with my teacher and than we try to find an 'uniform' pitch. Both have to adjust and listen very well to each other. You also have to do this when you play in an orchestra. Great practice!
  6. Ryan Berg

    Ryan Berg

    Mar 13, 2008
    new york, ny
    I like to use the bach 2 part piano inventions and play tunes duo for jazz.
  7. I used duets a lot in my teaching. I feel that it really helped beginning students especially because it would further develop their understanding of melody and harmony. Once they hear me play my role and understand theirs, I'd have them switch parts. Then We'd discuss the different parts and how they work together. I personally think it's a great tool.
  8. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    When I studied w/ Dennis Irwin we did a lot of 2 part Bach inventions.. really great for ear training and getting the bass role in your head (as well as for hearing bass lines on your own when playing tunes).. not to mention opening up your ears for ensemble playing.
  9. DHoss


    Nov 23, 2005
    My friend and I, both amateurs, have included Mr. Gale's "Melodic Duets" in our weekly sessions for the past six months.
    Each piece may appear deceptively simple at first glance, but we have come to appreciate the need to develop listening skills, intonation and a sense of time.
  10. My teacher does. He'll usually play it for me at my lesson a few times so I know how it goes. We'll go over the roughest spots and then he'll have me play along with it. I'll spend the next week working on it then when I come in the next lesson, we play it as a duet. It sounds amazing.
  11. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    Thank you - I appreciate that. As well as bass/bass, I have also heard them used cello/bass, cello/cello and, for a kiddy intro class, I did them with bassoon/bass.
    Tom Gale
    ASODB.com :bassist:
  12. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
  13. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I find that doing duets with my teacher kind of puts me on point for a few minutes after I've been sawing away by myself for a while.

    And then all the jazz stuff is done as a duet w/ piano, and that also gets me into a performance mindset, because he's over there with his back turned to me and I can close my eyes or whatever without feeling exposed.

    I can't think of why someone wouldn't spend time doing duets with their student. Musicians end up playing with each other and that's a little bit different than playing alone.
  14. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
  15. nicechuck


    Jul 9, 2007
    Just a note, I've been singing in church since I was 5, 50 years this spring, and years ago I noticed after singing with so many people, singing different parts and in everything from duets, trios, quartets, etc, after awhile it becomes automatic to adjust to the person/people you're singing with to harmonize, you don't have to think about it, don't even notice it till you think about it. Wouldn't it be great to be like that on an instrument? Upright lends itself to that well too.
  16. My teacher also used duets with me he recommended a book of bass duets. I then used them with my daughter.

    I then actually took the bass part from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth, starting with the introduction of the Ode to Joy theme, and wrote it out as a duet.

    I started us out doubling the melody line, then the first player held the melody, while the second took the first harmony (with the slurred scales), then the second player held the melody while the first took the second harmony (the syncopated section). Eventually we added in the little turn-around phrase between the iterations.

    It was great fun as my daughter had already been introduced to the melody in school, and we both really liked that movement.
  17. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I play simple harmonies when my students are playing their scales. You can even make a little theory lesson out of it.
  18. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    WHOOPS! Make that asodb.org. Still a good duet!

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