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.