On a wintry Wednesday, my scarf wrapped over my face, I walked to the university’s music building for my piano lesson. In my gloved hand, I held a book with the Bach Invention No. 1 in C Major, with its tricky piano trills. On the rhododendron bushes lining the path, the leaves hung limply.
The Bach French Suites, groupings of short pieces originally most likely written for the harpsichord, now played on the piano, provide many of the benefits of studying more complicated music by Bach.
After I learned the second movement of the Schubert Sonata in A Major, D664, my new piano teacher, Mark Pakman, explained I would now shift my practice of the Andante into “performance mode.”
The repeated tenor notes, which patter underneath all but a few of the measures in the Chopin Raindrop Prelude—first A-flat, then G-sharp, then back to A-flat again, so evocative of raindrops—make the piece almost wholly unique in classical piano music.
You have assembled a short list of candidates and taken a trial lesson from each.