First Lesson on a new, unprepared work by J. S. Bach

The goal for this lesson is to learn how to practise a piece by J. S. Bach that is completely new for the students.

Course Structures:

A – Individual Course

A 30 min or 60 min lesson with only one participant, or a student with his/her teacher is also acceptable.


B – Group Course

60 min each week with 4 teachers altogether as a group, 4 weeks in total.

Each teacher brings 1 of his/her own student to the group class, who has interest in start learning a new piece by J. S. Bach.

Each student receives 2 lessons within 4-week duration.

The 1st lesson will be focusing on inventing ideas and strategies on how to practise this new piece. The student will play the same work and receive new information in the 2nd lesson.


Lesson Plan:

All 4 teachers are required to be presented throughout the 4-week group class.

1st week:
Student A from Teacher A receive 30min duration in their 1st lesson.
Student B from Teacher B receive 30min duration in their 1st lesson.

2nd week:
Student A from Teacher A receive 30min duration in their 2nd lesson
Student C from Teacher C receive 30min duration in their 1st lesson.

3rd week:
Student B from Teacher B receive 30min duration in their 2nd lesson.
Student D from Teacher D receive 30min duration in their 1st lesson.

4th week:
Student C from Teacher C receive 30min duration in their 2nd lesson.
Student D from Teacher D receive 30min duration in their 2nd lesson.


Musical aims for these courses are:

  • To discover ways on how to start a new work, in order to gain a clear overview and insight on its structure and character.
  • To find suitable articulations that support the character of the work and note functions.
  • To show concrete dynamic movements. The dynamic change for some specific structures will be worked through together in the lesson as examples.
  • To find appropriate fingerings and to demonstrate the principle of building logical
  • To demonstrate a suitable practice method of a particular work for students.

Pedagogical aims in these courses are:

A – Individual Course:

All important information (see below) will be worked through together, so that everyone will be able to practise independently after the course.

B – Group Course

  • Through witnessing the process of working on new pieces (4 students = 4 new pieces), different pedagogical methods can be observed.
  • Sometimes a work can be analysed from the beginning. However in some cases, it might be easier to work from the episodes/middle entries.
  • By achieving different stages of working on the new piece, the process of practising will become clearer after a week or two. Other participants from the group can also provide general thoughts and tips.
  • Every teacher and student who participate in this course will obtain a list of repertoire after 4 weeks, which consists of numerous works with many useful practice methods and ideas that have been worked on.

Repertoire Requirements:

All J. S. Bach’s original works are welcome.

Participating students can be:

Children, young adults with preliminary/intermediate/advanced levels.

More information on the contents of these courses:

It is important to understand the work before we start to practice.
Therefore, it is necessary to realize the character of the work, its harmonic tempo, or the character of a movement from a Suite respectively.

The overall structure provides an overview for a work, as well as smaller structures, phrases and motives. From which voices can we find these elements? Based on the above information from which we discover from the work, we can proceed to next practice stages.

In order to build meaningful articulations that supports the structure, it is important that we recognize functions of notes. Does a structure start with a downbeat or an upbeat? Where are the culminations (goals) in a phrase? Where are the cadences?

Practical and comfortable fingerings and fingering arrangements are important facts for representing a relaxed playing style. It is essential to plan a series of meaningful fingerings right on the first stage of practicing.

Dynamic has a function of supporting the musical structure in the Baroque era. Thus, dynamic changes do not happen randomly. This characteristic can be found in the concerto grosso, as we can clearly identify the orchestral section (louder) and the solo section, or a small group of soloists that play together (softer). In this case, structural dynamic shaping (terraced dynamics) plays an important role here, so that the audiences can recognize different sections in a piano work simply from listening. The sound of our modern piano is able to produce a wide range of dynamics, and as a result, pianists have the possibility to create an “animated” phrase. (Walter Blankenheim)

Since pedals serve as a tool for improving the tone colour on a piano, when the pianist is working on J. S. Bach’s music, great care and attention is necessary when using the sustaining pedal and the left pedal. Using sostenuto pedal in Bach’s works is also possible.

Ornamentation is a broad field that often causes confusion. Pianists have to recognize all notations of ornaments, but they should be considered and presented according to the musical context at the same time. In order to add figuration to the repeated section, if appropriate for this particular work, it is important to understand how such figurations can be “invented”.

Approaching the music by J. S. Bach means first and foremost, to fully understand and engage with the music itself, practise step by step in order to “recompose” the work in a logical and meaningful way.


In this learning process, we are happy to help you take the first steps towards a successful and joyful playing.


A – Individual Course:

60 minutes: 85 €  /  30 minutes: 45 €

B – Group Course:

4x 60 minutes (4 weeks in total): 121 €/per teacher

The course is free for students.

If you are interested in participating this course, please send an email to:

Olaf Krüger:

Name of the seminar: First Lesson on a new, unprepared work by J. S. Bach