Staccato and Sustained Values at the Same Time – Yikes!

January 22, 2016

I’m often confronted with pieces that require students to perform pieces with staccato in one hand and a sustained note in the other hand.

The following arrangement of Bach’s Mussette is one of the early instances of this challenge. At first glace the piece is simple and easy to play. On second look the staccato/sustained value texture that can really hang students up, and perhaps cause some teachers concern as to how to proceed.

Musette (Bach) for Easy Piano Solo | Free Sheet Music


Here’s my trick…

First Step

Ask students to start with a simple challenge. Strike the “G” (sustained note) at the same time as the first stacatto “C” in the left hand. Hold the “G”, while quickly releasing the stacatto “C”.  Don’t go any further. It might take a few tries, but they’ll get it.

Second Step

Play the first two beats of the measure. Hold the half note “G” while playing the first two staccato notes – “C” and “G” – in the left hand. Ask your students to master this before adding more notes. This step will likely be learned faster than the first step.

Step Three

Try playing the first two measures of the piece. It might be messy at first, but if your student was diligent about mastering the first two steps before moving on they will be well on their way to mastering this piece – textural challenge included.


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