Meet Bach | Composer Biography for Kids -

Learn about Johann Sebastian Bach with a popsicle stick theater production from the Music Academy. It's one of many online piano lesson resources for kids that we've created to make learning fun.

Meet Bach | Composer Biography for Kids (Lesson Transcript)

Meet Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685. Germany is the home of cuckoo clocks, pretzels, and the Neuschwanstein castle, which inspired Walt Disney to create the Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disneyland.

As a child, Johann's father taught him to play the violin and harpsichord. His brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him to play the organ. In 1707, Bach married his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach, and they had seven children.

In 1708, Bach accepted a post as the court composer, organist, and principal violinist for the Duke of Weimar. The Duke probably liked organ music because it was during this time that Bach wrote most of his organ music, including his "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," which is one of the best pieces ever written for the organ.

In 1716 the Kapellmeister for the Duke of Weimar's orchestra died. Bach thought he would be offered this position, but the Duke appointed someone else instead. Because Bach wanted to be a conductor, and there was an opening in Köthen, he politely asked the Duke of Weimar to be released so he could accept this new post. This made the Duke so grumpy that he put Bach in jail for four weeks before dismissing him.

In 1717 Bach accepted his new post as the Kapellmeister for Prince Leopold of Köthen. Prince Leopold’s organ wasn't very good, so Bach didn't write organ music during this time. Instead, he focused on composing for the orchestra, writing works like the Brandenburg Concertos - which are now considered the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque Era.

It was also during this post that his wife Maria died, and Bach married singer, Anna Magdalena Wilcke. Together they had 13 kids, making him the father of 20 kids!

"BACH!" says the chicken.

In 1723, Bach accepted his final post, serving as cantor, organist, and music composer for St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Leipzig, Germany. He remained there for the rest of his life and focused on composing choral works, like his "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," which is one of the most popular wedding songs.

Johann Sebastian Bach died in 1750. During his lifetime he was considered an "old-fashioned" composer, and was almost forgotten about after he died. Today, Bach is considered such an important composer that the year of his death is a defining point in music history. It marks the end of the Baroque Era.

MMF Songbook