Duets can be a wonderful idea for performances/recitals. Two parts going together in harmony instead of just one part. Here at Music Scene we have instructors performing duets with their students all the time. Many people may think that this is going to make it easier for the student, because they get a professional to help them "sound better." Although the instructors intonation may sound great, and help the piece sound better; there is an underlying difficulty to duets that is often over looked.
When performing a duet counting is an absolute necessity. If the student does not count exactly correct, then they will get off from the instructor. This can lead to a train wreck of issues. In a duet part if one person is even one count off from the other it may not even sound remotely close to what it is supposed to sound like. Each note is written together in harmony, and whether you are one count off or 15 counts off the piece will not be the same, and most likely sound dissonant. This forces the student to not only learn the notes correctly, and try to make each and every one of them sound the best that they can, but it also means the have to be able to play the piece with a metronome.
With all of this said if the student has an experienced instructor they (the instructor) will be used to this type of situation, and will accommodate to the student's mistake. Most likely the piece will have been rehearsed with both parts several times before performing in front of a live audience, and if something goes wrong the instructor will be able to understand what is going on, and stay right with the student, even if it is off tempo. This is why practice is always suggested, especially when performing a duet piece.
So, what is easier? The student solo performances or duet pieces? If you have any input please comment on our Facebook Page, and me (Kyle Shook) will be very happy you read this entire article, and will personally reach out to you.