Take a few homeschool minutes today to introduce your students to a tiny masterpiece by one of the world’s great composers, Johann Sebastian Bach, born on this day in 1685.
Saturday is Arts & Music Day at the River Houses, and in honor of the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), why not play his famous four-minute “Little Fugue” this week as background music in your little homeschool academy.
Here is the piece performed by Jonathan Scott in what might be called its natural habitat: the organ loft of a church. (Much of Bach’s music was church music written for the pipe organ, “the king of instruments.”) The video does a good job of showing the complex operation of the organ, which requires the the performer to exercise not only both hands, but both feet as well:
And here’s the same piece, Bach’s “Little Fugue,” but arranged in a very different way for a saxophone quartet by Staff Sergeant David Parks of the United States Army Field Band (www.armyfieldband.com):
If either of those performances catch your students’ attention, there’s a whole universe of Bach available online — more than enough to convert today’s little homeschool lesson into a week-long music festival of your own devising.
What artistic discoveries have you made in your homeschool lately?
❡ Explore more: You can find several lists of noted musical composers and performers on pages 214–222 in your recommended world almanac (riverhouses.org/books). Why not use those lists to make up an impromptu homeschool research project: have your students copy out separate lists of composers from different centuries, or from different countries, and find examples of their music online. Can you get a sense for how musical styles changed from century to century? Are there distinct national styles that you can recognize?