[LAU] A Bach in appology and completeness :-)

Jack O'Quin jack.oquin at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 22:49:55 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 5:30 PM, Julien Claassen <julien at c-lab.de> wrote:
> Hello Josh!
>  thanks for the kind comment. Yes the piano is quite fabulous. Very life. I
> thought so, when I heard it for the first time. :-)
>  So how do I learn: It will be different for different people. But I can't
> read braille notation. I never learnt it. I know it exists and people can
> work with it, but it was never something for me. I have a notion of note
> lengths, rhythms and the like, but since my step sequencing days - long gone
> - it has drastically diminished. :-)
>  In my piano lessons I always learnt by ear and talk. So I've learnt Bach
> almost exclussively for the last 10 to 12 years. I got very used to the
> harmonies and in any case I'm not bad a hearing intervals. So we start with
> one hand (right or left, which is suites us at the moment) and then move
> forward at most four bars. Then we look at the other hand and finally we try
> to merge them. :-) I'm usually in the advantage, since I have recordings of
> all the pieces I learn. So I have a good imagination of what the piece
> should sound like. Beyond that, of course the general idea of note length
> and basic musical knowledge helps.
>  So I learn a piece in small bites. Very rarely my teacher tells me what to
> play and which length the note has, but it's quite slow. OK, we've worked
> together for more than 18 years now. We got used to each other and our
> methods of learning/teaching. Sohe usually knows, what I'm asking for, if
> there's a problem or uncertainty. He knows where to look mostly, when I
> discovfer a problem in a piece/part already learnt. It's quite effective I
> think. We at least manage four bars per half an hour. Mostly it's more than
> that. But some Bach fugues can be quite tricky. Also the beginning of a
> fugue is complicated for my teacher, as he has to look at the fingering and
> has to be comfortable with the flats and double flats and the sharps and
> double sharps. :-) But when he's had some time, we get through it quite
> well. :-) My teacher is closing in on 90, so I think it's pretty amazing,
> that we get along this well in personalities and manner of learning. I think
> it's quite a difference teaching a student by ear only, if you're used to
> reading notes and teaching your pupils to read notes and let them go rather
> quickly. :-)
>  Sorry for ranting, but I like the way I work and I love the way my teacher
> adapted to it. It shows me, that a lot of things are possible if you only
> put your mind to it. You need to be open for it, but with an open mind, you
> can perform quite efficiently and in a very kind and productive atmosphere.
>  Kindest regards
>           Julien

Very interesting, Julien. Thanks for explaining the process.

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