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A Lesson On Bach

Said by Bach.—No one should play who cannot think in music.              

I am what I am because I was

industrious. Whoever is equally in­dustrious will succeed as well.

My idea is that music ought to move the heart with sweet emotion, which a pianist will never effect by mere scrambling, thundering, and arpeggios—at least not from me.


Text-Book.—Mr. Tapper’s “First Studies in Music Biography,” pp. 11 to 43.

Plan.—Clubs meeting weekly should divide the lessons as follows:

First Lesson to Part IV (p. 19).

Second Lesson to Part VIII (p. 34).

Third Lesson to Part IX (p. 40).

Fourth Lesson to end, including a general review.

Suggestions.(a) Have an older pupil develop from the School History of the United States the suggestion contained in paragraphs on America.

(b)               Some of the little Preludes and Fugues by Bach offer easy and typical compositions for performance.

(c)                Have the members bring in all photographs they may own concerning Bach, his times, and works. There are to be had (1) portraits, (2) pictures of his birthplace, (3) of Esenach in general, (4) of various places made famous by his residence, (5) fac-similes of his writing, and (6) not the least interesting, pictures of contemporaneous American men and buildings.


We will use “First Studies in Music Biography” until all ten composers have been studied. The teacher or the one who guides the Club should read carefully the Directions on pp. 3, 4, and 5. This will contribute decidedly to the simpler handling of the volume. It has a distinct purpose, and, if that pur­pose be adhered to, the gain to the student is con­siderable.

It is hoped that students old enough to use a copy of this text-book will study the lessons individually. For younger pupils the teacher may make an ab­stract, reading or relating it to them in attractive manner. Keep close to the man’s life. This is the element in Biography that attracts. Names and dates have little interest unless they are attached to deeds of some kind.


The Bach biography may be used “expansively”; that is, it may cover the time of several meetings. This permits more thorough work, but presupposes some knowledge on the part of the students. This plan is not recommended for first study.

For study-suggestions, aside from the biography, take the following:

(d)               The Story of the Mastersingers.

(e)                The development of the instruments mentioned in the text.

(f)                Nature and extent of Bach’s works for various instruments.

This will demand research-work, a training in­valuable to the student.

An examination or test paper is not necessary here, because of the list of questions on pages 45 to 48. Do not place too great stress on the habit of answering these parrot-like. It is more important to be able to give an intelligent reply in his own words.

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