CHEN Wei, China
My name is Chen Wei, I am a piano teacher from China. I have been listening to Prof. Inge Rosar’s recordings of Bach’s works for a long time. In my opinion, her interpretation is so far the best I have ever heard. I was wondering how lucky it would be if I am able to learn from Prof. Rosar in the future.
When I heard the news about the online classes from The International J. S. Bach Academy in Memoriam Walter Blankenheim, where Prof. Rosar and Dr. Kirill Monorosi are both teaching, I was so excited, and have decided to participate immediately. Although I have only had three lessons so far, yet I have received so much valuable knowledge not only on playing, most importantly, on developing musical ideas to help reproducing a more personal and meaningful interpretation. Prof. Rosar’s unique perspective on approaching Bach’s compositions has given me a new direction with clearer insights when practising and performing Bach’s keyboard works.
My German and English are limited, but this is not a problem for Prof. Rosar at all. She is always very patient and kind, explains everything in detail until I fully understand; yet she is strict and extremely precise, she notices every tiny details, then gives me time to play and try, which is exactly what I need.
I always love Bach’s compositions. For me, playing Bach’s works is like designing and constructing an exquisite ‘building’. Prof. Rosar is a very experienced and delicate ‘architect’, that is why I love her lessons so much! I am always looking forward to our next classes.
I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Monorosi and Mr. Krüger as well, for providing such a rare opportunity for us to be able to learn with Bach experts, at an affordable price during this special time of COVID-19. THANK YOU ALL! VIELEN DANK!
QU Dongyan, China
I have attended Prof. Rosar’s piano pedagogy class while I was a student in the University of Music in Würzburg/Germany. This class is extremely beneficial, I have learned so much about the different approach and techniques on practising piano. That is why I would like to continue to learn with Prof. Rosar through her online classes (focusing on Bach’s repertoire).
I have always received new information after every lesson. Prof. Rosar teaches with thoughtful strategies. She gives advices depending on my level of understanding about a piece, and how well I have practised. She would guide me through according to what I need in the current lesson – one step at a time. She cares about different students’ needs and I find her lessons are very well planned!
JIN Jiajie, China
I had the privilege to participate in the masterclasses from both Prof. Rosar and Dr. Monorosi, who are excellent musicians as well as music educators.
Before I took lessons from both teachers, I felt distant from Bach’s music, in terms of understanding and interpreting his compositions. Dr. Monorosi is particularly good at giving ideas, not just on a specific piece, but on all the baroque compositions. Ideas like resonance and dissonance; tension and relaxation; how to discover these elements through reading and playing, and how to create my own version of Bach’s music based on the ideas above. Dr. Monorosi has also suggested me to listen to Bach’s non-piano music, especially cantatas, which I find extremely helpful. The best part is, after I have a good grasp of these ideas, it is much easier for me to teach myself other pieces from Bach.
He is not the type of teacher who only sticks to one or two pieces. Instead, he has shown me a whole new perspective on approaching and appreciating Bach’s music.
JIANG Chaowen, China
I was lucky to be able to participate in the online masterclass conducted by Prof. Rosar and Dr. Monorosi, and it was my pleasure meeting them. I am currently a student in the university, major in piano. However, my basis is not strong, and my current performance level is not high. For example, it takes me a long time to learn a piece. When I learn a composition by Bach, I spend weeks on just getting the notes correct.
I explained this problem to Prof. Rosar, she immediately asked me to choose any movement from a Suite which I have never played before (I just finished learning Allemande from the same Suite at that time). By following her instructions and methods, I only spent 30 minutes on reading the notes properly and understanding all the details at the same time! This is undoubtedly a great achievement for me!
Besides, I have also learned a lot about Bach’s music from Prof. Rosar. Before I took lessons from her, I was always afraid of Bach’s music, but the situation has turned to the opposite side now, Prof. Rosar made me fall in love with Bach’s compositions.
She is very patient, her lessons are always productive and efficient, we could solve a lot of problems during a lesson. My English is not perfect, when I do not understand the content, or something is unclear for me, Prof. Rosar always explains in a way which is easier for me to grasp. I had only a few lessons with her so far, but I have gained so much knowledge, and I could clearly see my own progress.
The most valuable knowledge that she shared with me was, how to deal with a problem from a whole new perspective. Her approach is incredibly logical and effective, and she can turn a problem that once I thought was difficult, into something easier and understandable.
Thank you very much Prof. Rosar and Mr. Krüger, and many thanks to International J. S. Bach Academy!
QI Yikun, China
My first trial class was with Dr. Monorosi. Surprisingly he gave me plenty of information in such limited amount of time, which I found very generous. In the following lessons, I have learned a lot of knowledge, or something which I did not pay enough attention to. He also often asks me how my practice was and how was my week going. He would use his knowledge in musicology to tell me from which two cantatas that Bach’s first piano concerto originated; what are the similarities and differences between Schubert’s Sonatas D845 and D960, composed 3 years apart; and why minuet was replaced by scherzo and identify the differences between them. He also suggested that I use my knowledge in orchestration as an approach to study a piece of music, when applicable.
I took a few classes with Prof. Rosar as well. She is very honest, and I can learn a lot of different things in her class, or something I have not done well enough. She would consider how to help me playing better based on my current level of performance skills. She explains details again and again until I have understood completely. I feel the German tradition from her, which is interesting for me to have this experience and makes me want to learn from her more.
Both teachers are my favourite, although the way of dealing with details might be different. They teach according to the nature of music itself, in combination with historical, theoretical, and practical aspects, instead of just giving some shallow information to students. They know how to guide students to find a solution, so that we could work independently in later stages. They also teach techniques, but this is slightly more difficult to achieve since it is an online lesson. I really feel that I have learned and improved a lot during their masterclasses. I look forward to having the opportunity to take live lessons from both teachers in the future.
ZHOU Isaac, USA
I’m a software engineer living in the United States. I started playing at 5 and I played for about 18 years. For me, studying with Prof Rosar and Dr Monorosi is like being a kid in a candy store. Thanks to the technology, I was able to get a taste of Baroque music style interpretation before even stepping foot out of my apartment.
Learning a musical instrument is not only about learning the notes but also about expressing the musical ideas hidden behind the score by the composer. In addition to a solid technique, a pianist needs to learn voicing, articulation, pedalling, dynamic and agogik as the fundamentals to interpret a certain music style. Fortunately I got instructions on all of the above aspects specifically tailored to Bach and the Baroque style when I took lessons with Prof Rosar and Dr Monorosi.
The pieces that I brought to both Prof Rosar and and Dr Monorosi are the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 and the English Suite No.2 in A minor BWV 807. The Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue is one of the deepest ends of Bach’s keyboard music according to Dr Monorosi and he helped me to build that piece from the ground up. Both teachers helped me practice the technical difficulties more efficiently by providing better fingerings and better hand ergonomics positions. Other useful methods include practicing finger staccatos and recording the piece periodically. I really like the advice that Prof Rosar gave me: “When you have a technique related issue, don’t practice hard but practice smart.”
After I’ve been more comfortable with the notes, analysing and interpreting the music with two teachers has been an eye opening experience for me. We talked about the correct understanding of the Baroque style based on the book Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments by C.P.E Bach. Dr Monorosi also showed me the manuscripts of Bach pieces to help me form a better understanding of the style. We had discussed different ways of articulation, fingering and phrasing. Prof Rosar and Dr Monorosi never give me a “correct” answer while they tend to let me think more about interpretation ideas and they will critique based on that.
Beyond teaching the pieces itself, Prof Rosar and Dr Monorosi are always willing to answer any questions that I have regarding Bach, Baroque style and general piano learning. I got a ton of advice on practice methods, memorizing the piece and reducing my body tension during my playing. Dr Monorosi highly recommends me listening to Bach’s non-keyboard master works, such as St Matthew Passion, Mass in B minor and Cantatas.
I will recommend the online lessons of International J.S. Bach Academy to any pianists who are interested in diving deeper to Bach’s keyboard music.