I was surprised how difficult it was to get my students to play the same note at the same time to make the sound of one note.
Pianos are, after all, not stringed instruments that can ease into a single sound. Pianos are not wind instruments either.
At my first rehearsal with three other pianists on four pianos, I noticed the same phenomenon as I had in class. We were easily out of sync. Our leader turned up the volume of the metronome. We followed the loud beatings at the expense of not hearing each other. Eventually we stopped the amplified metronome so we could really play like an ensemble.
At the second rehearsal a week later, we had improved greatly. Not that we had practised more, I think, but that we got used to each other. We were in tune. And in sync.
It’s hard to expect 4 pianos to sound like an orchestra. But it sure is fun to play. And it’s difficult to hear who is playing what part. We are all pianos after all!
Concert date: 14th July 2012 at the Maui Music Conservatory in Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Mall