The Practice Project: Bach Fugue XVI in G minor

It’s been a while since I posted on the Practice Project.  Too long, really.   And the initial idea of posting and captioning all practise sessions of the Partita turned out to take so long to set up, it was an impossible task.

I haven’t given up though, just changed tack slightly.  I’ll be posting practice sessions as regularly as I can, so that students (not just mine) can see how practice works for professionals; how we make mistakes, how we don’t care when we do, how we work in small sections, how we sight-read through entire pages or pieces, how we laugh, sing, have fun, sweat, get annoyed and frustrated.

This is not the first practice session for this fugue, but it is very near the beginning of the learning curve.  This recording was taken after a brief preliminary session at the weekend where I worked out a few voices and got the gist of the melody (the subject, in fugue-speak)

My method of working fugues is to isolate the individual voices, then play them in pairs in whichever hands come easiest, then in trios, then in the full quartet.   At the same time, I am working out how to make the voices sound the same when I play them with the required hands as when I play them with ‘simple’ hands (i.e. when working with two voices, how can I make the right hand play two voices concurrently with the same balance as when I play the alto in the left and the soprano in the right?)

The catch is that I have a very low boredom threshold for working out niggly fingering, partly because I think my suspected dyspraxia makes this type of work excruciatingly difficult, so I need to skip about a lot between different practice techniques to hold my interest.

Unfortunately, the quality of audio is not brilliant; this was recorded on my iPhone, as anything else requires a fairly large shift of furniture to set up my laptop and mic.  The piano is truly beautiful, but the phone video function is its nemesis.  


For more details about my teaching practice, including prices, vacancies, and information on distance theory marking, or learning piano as a beginner, intermediate, or a post-grade 8 student, please go to

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