My husband has been playing piano for about 7 years, taking lessons as an adult and learning to read music. A few weeks ago he asked his piano teacher if she knew someone who might be interested in playing along with him, as he felt it would help improve his playing if he accompanied someone. She recommended a  woman named Laura, who lived just a few blocks from us, who played the cello.

My husband met with her and came home rather discouraged. Laura has been playing the cello since she was 10 years old (she is now 91) and is leaps and bounds ahead of my husband. They decided to work on one piece that he knows well, in the hope he could keep up with her and follow along.

Last night I went with him to meet Laura. I sat at the piano and attempted to accompany her on Handel’s Largo, which I found to be a real mental exercise. I needed to read the music I was playing while also keeping my eyes on the notes above mine that were for cello so I would be accompanying her correctly. It was exhausting! Now I fully understood how difficult this must be for my husband.

They played Robert Schumann’s Träumerei, which when he plays at home he knows by heart and doesn’t miss a note. The pressure of accompanying and playing in front of someone psyched him out and he flubbed a few notes but I thought did well anyway. Here they are together.

27 thoughts on “Duet

  1. Of course Laura is good since she started play when she was ten. Your husband is brave to accompanied her. He was not doing bad at all. The adult fingers are not as flexible as someone who started as a young kid.


  2. I was always an awful accompanist. I got so nervous, I couldn’t play even simple melodies. Turned out, i was completely useless as a performer. I’m not that nervous about anything else, but performing? Hopeless. I’m glad he managed to finally get it together! Better than i have done!


  3. That was very good. They did well together. She’s 91? She looks 70 and plays like she’s 30. Absolutely brilliant. Her playing is so beautiful, and what a neat and treasured video this is and will continue to be for years to come. Priceless.


  4. Beneath the “nerves” and occasional missed note, I can see the joy in making music. I have zero musical ability myself, but I can appreciate those who do. Thanks for sharing!


  5. Oh my. This brought me to tears. To still be playing at 91. To be learning the piano as an adult, and to play so well together. That’s very very special. Truly wonderful.


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