Living in our current age and time, we often take for granted the vast piano literature that fills the shelves of many book stores and libraries. At an early age, many young pianists experimented with pieces by Schumann, Bach, Chopin etc. These provides a holistic education for young pianists in the 21st century.
However, this sparked a thought in me. Imagine you are a young pianist who lived at a time where there were little piano literature exists. Such as the times where Mozart lived. What choices do you have?
This led me to wonder what were the pieces which Mozart practiced on during his early years? Certainly there wasn’t Chopin, Beethoven or Rachmaninoff. I think it is quite improbable that Mozart played only Bach’s music either.
So I posed this exact question on Quora.com to seek for answers from any musicologists out there who may provide some insight to this intriguing question.
Sidenote: Why did I choose Mozart you asked?
Mainly, it is because he is my favourite composer. I could have asked the same question for Bach or Chopin. But personally, I am more curious about this little child prodigy and his practicing habits.
Surprisingly, the question posed in Quora received an answer. With the permission of Sheila Harwood(Teacher, B.Mus Piano performance), I quote her answer in the follow paragraphs:
” It’s funny trying to answer this good question. Mozart was so superfast facile; so immersed in music at home, due to his dad Leopold’s long-established profession; and so apt to compose as soon as he learned something new, that our concept of “practice” hardly applies to him. For Mozart, it was “play.”
But we know a little bit. Mozart learned pieces composed by his father. And he learned music by other composers, compiled by his father into albums for both little Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl.
But Mozart’s greatest love was reserved for Johann Christian Bach, whose music was likewise influenced by lyrical Italian opera.
Whatever music Mozart “practiced” to learn also became a basis for his impulse to compose and create. For Mozart, it was all one. “
I think we can safely assume that some pieces from the Nannerl’s Music Album were the first few pieces which Mozart had attempted at the keyboard. So what were they and how did they sound like?
This prompted me to crawl the internet in search for the scores of this music album.
If you are wondering where I find my scores? Check out my other blog post titled: 3 noteworthy sites to find music scores online.
The search had not disappointed me.
I did managed to find the scores for Nannerl’s Music Album.
The Link to the album is here. The site is from IMSLP ( international music score library project ) .
I am pretty sure you can find some of the arias and musettes as mentioned in the above answer in the same website.
I think this idea of knowing what Mozart practiced in his early years were interesting to me. It was the first stepping stone that launched him into the world of music and now that you have access to the same scores which Mozart played in his early age, who knows? You, too, might be well on your way to become the next Mozart.
Please do not quote the answers given in this blog post as absolute truth because it is often difficult to prove such facts. However, if you have sources which can prove or disprove the above answer, feel free to comment below.
*Watch my online piano tutorial videos to learn how to play piano without reading a single music note. If you are interested, grab a copy of my personal tips on piano playing and hand coordination and I will see you there.