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Yes! Why not PianoTeams®?

This exciting new concept of team-work, team-play, and team-fun for pianists has caught fire - the artistic and imaginative fire of students, teachers, parents, professional artists and audiences.   In just over one year, thePianoTeams® craze has reached such countries as Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, the Philippines, Korea, Brazil and others.  In the United States,  PianoTeams® rehearsals are becoming weekly scheduled activities in many students' total learning experience.  Additionally, teachers who explore the repertory together in "teacher-teams" are enjoying the rejuvenation and fun of these piano-socials.  Held in tandem with private lessons, participants of  PianoTeams® experience the excitement of pianistic pow-wows with teammates as they explore the colorful landscapes of symphonic favorites.  Through this new surge of excitement in team-playing, participating pianists are re-discovering the wonders and joys of piano playing.  This new-found excitement has changed many young students' outlooks on their piano study -- study that now includes words like care, share, fun, responsibility and team work.  TO these young pianist, daily practice on the 88 keys has taken on a whole new meaning.

What is PianoTeams™?

The word was coined to mean five pianists playing repertoires which were specifically composed, transcribed, or arranged for five pianos.  Not unlike any string or wind quintet,  PianoTeams® performers think, feel, breathe, listen, sing, and play as one unit.  Team members strive to unify and blend the projection of 50 fingers, the musical conception of five minds and the emotional intensity of five souls.  Whether the music calls for melodic lines bouncing from one piano to another, dueting pairs of pianos in dialogues, orchestral tuttis, punctuating rhythms or murmuring calandos... five pairs of eyes, ears and hands watch, listen and respond as one team.  Exciting?  You bet it is!   Where else can one find laughter ringing out in chorus over a nesting of five pianos... or piano pals cueing one another for entrances and exits... or team members plotting winning strategies for the perfection of their symphonic interpretation.

Who can organize PianoTeams®?

Any qualified piano instructor can organize and direct PianoTeams®.  The simplest method for a community to start is for teachers to band together for explanatory readings of PianoTeams® repertory.  These collegial and fun sessions become an impetus for the organization of student teams.  Teachers can either form teams from their own rosters of students or team members may be gathered from different teachers to train under one ensemble director.  In the latter case, PianoTeams® directors can set up ensemble studios where students in the community may register to join.  This service would be greatly welcomed by teacher who prefer to remain solo coaches; their pupils sign up with the ensemble directors for PianoTeams® participation.  These students then become the immediate beneficiaries of the combined cooperative expertise of two professionals: their private instructor's and the ensemble director's.  At the same time, students also gain the fun and camaraderie of peer interactions.  Team playing also offers an overall enhanced learning experience which serves teachers and students well; the discipline of study and practice becomes a team activity with exciting artistic objectives which are fun, challenging, and meaningful.  This translates into inspired piano studentship in both solo and ensemble works.

What are the performance opportunities of PianoTeams®?

Besides seasonal concerts planned by team directors, annual PianoTeams® International competitions were started in 1996 at the Junior Gina Bachauer International Competitions in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The first prize winning team from the 1996 inaugural event was a gregarious group of high schools students (from two teachers) in Utah who were invited to perform two PianoTeams® concerts in December 1996 at the Disney Institute Performance Center in Disney World, Florida.

Today, the International Well-Prepared Pianist Festivals and PianoTeams® Competitions are held every three years. To join, watch for announcements on this Web site.

What are the career possibilities of PianoTeams®?

One of the important objectives of the PianoTeams® project is to open up more career opportunites for present and future teachers.  Judging from its success, career opportunities for PianoTeams® directors appear to be bright and promising.   Teachers who're interested in becoming directors should start by making necessary arrangements for rehearsal facilities.  Playing through the PianoTeams®   master classes also provides teachers and students with a wealth of rehearsal and performance ideas and techniques.  Finally, organizing annualPianoTeams® festivals and competitions in the community gives everyone a common target date and goal toward which to work.

Where do PianoTeams® hold rehearsals?

In addition to ensemble studios with five pianos (acoustic and/or digital), many ensemble directors holdPianoTeams® rehearsals in showrooms of cooperating piano and keyboard retailers, and in schools where instruments can be readily moved and nested together for rehearsals.  Because sponsorships by retailer mean more visibility and sales for them, dealers are generally happy to provide their facilities for weekly rehearsal and concerts. PianoTeams® is sponsored by Steinway & sons. International Festivals and PianoTeams® Competitions are Steinway events. Check our Web Site for information on these events.

What kind of music do PianoTeams® play?

Most of the current pieces are popular orchestral classics specifically transcribed for PianoTeams®; but some are original compositions which were written for this purpose.  All five piano parts appear on the page.  This format provides a panoramic view of the music, thus making it possible for teams to perform without the assistance of conductors.   The players share equal highlighted moments and responsibilities in the total ensemble.  Therefore, entrance cues and leadership roles are bounced and passed form teammate to teammate.  Colors and piano-teaming possibilities are endless, ranging from conversing duos and trios to exhilarating tuttis.  Because the technical level of the pieces ranges from elementary level to lower advanced, PianoTeams® directors will have no difficulty finding suitable parts for team members of varying facilities and strengths.  To view some examples of team effort in the music browse our catalog section to see sample pages of some of the pieces.

Where can the reader secure information on the international competition and the PianoTeams® repertoire?

Keep checking the PianoTeams® site for new and upcoming events, not to mention our always growing catalogs of scores.  Scores and catalogs are published by Piano Ensemble International. Telephone number is: (800) 648-2662.

What are the chances of becoming a teammate?

Very good!  As a matter of fact, it should be every student's goal to become a teammate.  As in a sports team, one will experience: the melody (ball) being passed from player to player, each player responding with precision to cues and eye contacts of his teammates; interpretations (game plans) being laid out and discussed by the director (coach); and rehearsals (training) honing skills in synchronization and teamwork.

Exciting? You Bet!