Teaching J.S. Bach

As mentors immersed in a two-way sharing process with students, we’re grateful for opportunities to delve deeply into the masterworks.

One companion traveler of mine dotes exclusively on the music of J.S. Bach, preferring this singular journey to any other. And without doubt, I can sympathize with his emphasis because the Baroque Master’s body of work provides a solid foundation for all music that followed.

Last night, the divinely inspired F minor Prelude, Bk 2, Well-Tempered Clavier was the centerpiece of a mutually illuminating piano lesson. It certainly gave me a chance to clarify my ideas while the student imparted his own.

This composition has a recurring “sighing” couplet, appoggiatura figure that permeates its fabric, (opening treble range) buts its tenor/bass lines, are often forgotten or neglected. Threads of couplets, augmentation (lengthening a rhythmic figure), counterpoint or imitation between voices (there are THREE) all form the ingredients of this emotionally riveting composition.


During a piano lesson, attentive listening is the mainstay of any student/teacher interaction. It’s central to the refinement of phrases and articulation.

Bach f minor p 1 my markings

Working on the first page:

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in Bach Prelude in F minor BWV 881, Baroque music, J.S. Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, piano blog, piano instruction, piano lessons, Well Tempered Clavier and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Teaching J.S. Bach

  1. Mohamed EL MGHARI says:

    Thank you Lisa, how many piano years are needed to interpret this piece? your blog is really interesting. thank you again Lisa
    Mohamed. (61 years old, and practicing piano since 3 years)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s