Bach Composer Study

Learning to Appreciate the Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Anyone using Charlotte Mason styled composer study is sure to encounter Johann Sebastian Bach at some point. Although more famous in his lifetime as an organist than as a composer, Bach is considered today to be one of the primary Baroque composers of Western music.

Let the music of Bach fill your home as you introduce your children (and possibly yourself!) to this master. You may also choose to supplement the music with some biographical information, some notebooking, and some stories on CD. Here are some resources to help you design this unit study.

Bach Statue in Leipzig

Bach Statue in Leipzig
Bach Statue in Leipzig

Our Outline for Studying Bach

It goes without saying that to appreciate Bach, you must listen to his music! So although that is not included in the list below, it's an assumed, daily activity. During the term or weeks that you choose to focus on Bach, have his music playing as often as possible.

  • Read Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler, one chapter outloud per day while Sprite colors in the illustrations printed from the companion disc.

  • Read the chapter on Bach from Spiritual Lives of the Composers.

  • Listen to The Story of Bach audio CD as a wrap up, stopping to take notes on the notebooking pages as needed. (Photos of notebooking pages are below.)

  • Go back over the notes and make a one page timeline for Bach's life. We like the printable page here at Freeology. (photo below)

  • Organize all the notebooking pages, colored illustrations, and the timeline into our notebook.

Opal Wheeler Biography - Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia

This is truly a delightful book! I bought my copy along with the companion CD from Rainbow Resource.

As a free online substitute for this book, read the chapter on Bach from The World's Great Men of Music by Harriette Brower which is in the public domain and can be found at Google Books.

Free Bach Notebooking Pages

Below you can see the wonderful notebooking pages I downloaded from Notebooking Pages (plus one timeline page from Freeology and some coloring pages from the Wheeler companion CD).

It's a PDF set with several options of layouts. I printed them on vivid green paper!

Classical Kids Bach Audio CD

Mr. Bach Comes to Call [With Teacher's Guide] (Classical Kids)
Mr. Bach Comes to Call [With Teacher's Guide] (Classical Kids)

A story plus music. This is fictionalized and very fun. This is a great introduction to Bach for even the youngest of children.

We used this audio CD during our study of Bach.


Bach Picture Book

Bach's Goldberg Variations
Bach's Goldberg Variations

This picture book is a fictional account based on actual fact. The story explains how the Goldberg variations came to be. This is a book I wanted to get for our Bach study, but unfortunately we didn't.


Bach Organ

Bach Organ
Bach Organ

Composer Reference

This is a great resource to have on your shelf for all your composer studies. I turn to it again and again.

Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers
Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers

Written from a Christian perspective, each composer is given one chapter of attention. You will find out how each composer's faith impacted his music and his life. This is written on a middle school or higher level, so you'll want to read it outloud to younger children.


More Bach Audio

The Story of Bach in Words and Music
The Story of Bach in Words and Music

An audio CD chronicling Bach's entire life and career. Music selections are interspersed throughout. Not as entertaining as the Classical Kids series, the VOX audios are more staid but still very well done. This is something we used in our Bach study.


Bach Music in MP3 - for Instant Download

No Bach music on hand? No worries. You can purchase this album of Bach's Greatest Music online and download the MP3 files to play on your computer. Actually, this is what I had to do since I found myself without any Bach music! How can we have composer study without listening to his music? Impossible.

Preview by clicking the play arrow.

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Guestbook 13 comments

groovyoldlady profile image

groovyoldlady 7 years ago

This is great! My nine year old LOVES piano. Perhaps a foray into into Bach iis in order!

anonymous 7 years ago

I'd also so recommend Bach's Goldberg Variations by Anna Harwell Celenza and Joann E. Kitchel . This book, and others by them , do a great job of bringing particular pieces of music to life.

jimmielanley profile image

jimmielanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA Author

[in reply to Sandra]

Sandra, Thank you for the recommenationa. I've added that title above. I have this author's The Farewell Symphony about Haydn. I'm sure that this Bach one is a winner as well.

anonymous 7 years ago

I love Bach. I usually listen to Nigel Kennedy play Bach because he is one of my favorites and is so good! - Love this lens! - Thank you for the Squid Angel blessing on my main lensography. - I was looking for you on Twitter, Jimmie. Are you on twitter? - This will get tweeted! :)

AlisonMeacham profile image

AlisonMeacham 7 years ago

Bach is one of my favorite composers. I particularly enjoy his organ music.

julieannbrady 6 years ago

I surely appreciate the music of the masters -- I remember in my college Music Appreciation class that it was a challenge to identify the composer when we listened to certain passages of music -- that would be what I would love to learn -- to recognize the master from the music!

bbsoulful2 profile image

bbsoulful2 5 years ago

Awesome! New to homeschooling, love Charlotte Mason's approach, Definitely need a more organized way to include the arts and your lens is an inspiration. Bookmarking it!

reasonablerobby 5 years ago

Sheer genius. I learned to play a couple of fuges and partitas when I was younger.

sherioz 5 years ago

This is a great lens. You are truly a teacher.

canoz profile image

canoz 5 years ago from Canada

Thanks for your lens. I was curious about Bach because my good friend told me today it's her choice to play when she needs to de-stress!! Interesting!

jimmyworldstar 4 years ago

Bach is one of the great composers of classical music. I don't know anyone who doesn't even at least recognize his name.

Gabriel360 profile image

Gabriel360 4 years ago

Bach was really good. Great job on this lens!

anonymous 4 years ago

Bach is one of my favorite compoers.

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