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Joined: Oct 2018
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wolfpaw Offline OP
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It would be nice to know how they approached something new. Did they do hours and hours of scales and broken chords? And I wonder if they spent weeks working on a single piece. I can't see it somehow. Maybe they did.

Do you think they did hands separately, then hands together, slow practice? That seems like a fairly modern idea, for some reason. I get the impression they were taught to sight-read relatively fluently and the notion of being sat painstakingly going over the same few bars to get them right would've seemed bizarre.

Would they really have spent four or five weeks learning a fugue? What do people think?

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CPE Bach wrote "Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments" I've never read it but your post reminds me it's time to check it out from my local library.


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wolfpaw Offline OP
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It would be interesting to know.

On the one hand we might think of JS as being something of a hard-task master, the children kept at the keyboard literally for hours on end, their eyes peering into the gathering gloom.

But then I can't see them slogging away at a single fugue for a month either.

I suspect keyboard pedagogy was entirely different to what we're used to. It only occurs to me as I'm learning another WTC fugue, and as I slowly played the same bar, slowly, hands together, getting the correct fingering for the umpteenth time [I'm really not complaining as I genuinely enjoy the fugue learning process], for some reason I wondered how it would've been taught by Bach himself.

Would he really have expected them to go through it painstakingly, slow practice. Or would he have got their sight-reading up to such a standard *first* that they could've handled it competently from the start.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. It was just a random thought.

Last edited by wolfpaw; 04/01/21 09:42 PM.
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I hope he had more pianos than Frank B, or there would be a wait to practice.

"sired 20 children. 10 survived into adulthood — six sons and four daughters


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Took lessons from 1960 to 1969, stopped at age 16.
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Back in those days it was common for people to copy music even when printed copies can be bought. We have surviving notebooks including “Notebook for Anna M”. Today we download music or pass PDFs around we face to face meeting is not practical.

People would get pieces off each other. Part of practice would be to copy a piece before passing it to the next student. Don’t know what Bach would think about Hanon if he was around.

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I think Bach was a very busy man after he moved to Leipzig. Responsible for the music at several churches, teaching the boy choir, writing new music for the services, and rehearsing the instruments and singers. I wonder if he even had time to teach beginners. I wouldn't be surprised if he delegated to the older children or students. Practice would have to have been on harpsichord or clavichord. Those instruments are not robust and care-free like a modern piano. I bet lessons or practice time were not wasted on students that did not show promise.

Sam

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Bach's kids probably helped him copy music parts (instrument & vocal) for his Cantatas to be performed for the upcoming Sunday church performance. Besides practicing an instrument, copying music is a way to learn about notation.


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