Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for June, 2012

A Return To JS Bach–A Very Big Man In A Very Big Life

I recently received the following note from a professional colleague and friend and share his thoughts on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with you.

“Jeannine:  I always enjoy your monthly newsletter, and somehow this June issue made me realize what a wonderful way you have chosen to spend your life.  I can’t imagine a better field to work in than with Johann Sebastian Bach in his entirety—a very big man in a very big life.Part of Bach and Sons event

Returning to serious practicing after such a long time away from it—I mean the kind of practice which attains and maintains virtuosity—I have wonderful decisions to make.  I have decided, after very little contemplation, that a return to Bach almost exclusively will be the thing I want most as an opening wedge. 

My first thought was to tackle the second book of the WTC, because I’ve learned, or taught, only a few of those pairs of Preludes and Fugues, but I realized that I needed to get back into technical shape first, and the better way was to return to Book One.  All of a sudden it seemed very clear to me that the purpose of the first book was to train the player at the keyboard, in the ways of keyboard technique.  The first few are the most obvious—this must be where Czerny got his idea of making technical exercises into musical form.  I have discussed this with a few other pianists whom I respect, and no one else has thought of this.  It’s obvious to me.  The most obviously valuable in developing keyboard fluency is the C Minor and the C# Major.  There are others, further along in the book, but the next one that comes to mind without a conscious search is Bb major, D Major, D minor, F Major, G major—and it goes on and on.  Bach was the first one to discover how the hand fits the keyboard, and to write for it that way.  

Book Two of the WTC assumes that one already has keyboard fluency, and here we encounter the artistic triumphs.”

Ah Bach…the joy of his music!
Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and creator and performer of Bach and Sons

Have You Found Something Surprising Today?

“If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.” J.A. Wheeler, Physicist

I’ve now taken the liberty to delve into this quote from a musical perspective.  It has yielded some interesting thoughts.

“If you haven’t found something surprising in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something wondrous in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something heartbreaking in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something to celebrate in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something worth grieving over in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something blessed in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

“If you haven’t found something amazing in a piece of music you are practicing, performing, listening to, or teaching during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

The implication here is that we must pay attention to the everything in each piece of music being practiced, performed, listened to, or taught.  We must actively engage in the work of making music as a participant, not as a spectator. We must bring all our senses into play in each encounter and every circumstance.

How will you find your day, this day filled with music?

What will surprise you?

What will make your heart beat faster with wonder?

Make it more than the chronology of 24 hours of music-making.

Let it be and become a day filled with significance, a day filled joy, wonder, and discovery.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

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