Last week I asked our readers how they are spending quarantine and today I'd like to share what some of them replied:
I spend my quarantine by practicing the organ at home since I have one. I’ve been playing through all my repertoire, plus sight-reading what I never learned, and transposing everything I play into all keys.
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Thanks Frank! This is really productive way to spend this time...
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I am practicing on my home organ. I am reviewing pieces from the Bach Orgelbuchlein for now. All my outside jobs are on hold for the next 30 days at least so I have lots of time to practice. I will also be planning music for future services. In addition, I will start looking at new organ music and begin learning it for those future services.
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Yes, please plan and get ready for the future services...
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The little organ book JSBach, 8 short preludes and fugues, unfamiliar scales and broken chords, time subdivision difficulties, unfamiliar hymns: at home 🏠 on pair of keyboards 🎹. Piaggero N12 Yamaha. Other organ literature.
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That's a lot of music! Good for you!
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I have been learning Pastorale in F by Bach and some other Bach pieces for Kleinorgel on the piano. Also using the mefrontmen more. It has been very helpful.
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I love Pastorale by Bach!
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Marie Therese Feldmarschallin
I'm practicing at home in my organ. Trio Sonata 1 by Bach!!!
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Next Trio Sonata No. 2, maybe?
It seems to me that practicing on some instrument at home is one of the best things we can do while locked inside our homes right now. This takes our mind away from the negative news cycle which only brings fear, uncertainty and doubt or FUD.
And as we all know, FUD activates an opposite part of the brain from the one required to be creative.
I have played this piece on Gedackt 8', Quintathen 8', Viol di gamba 8', Gemshorn 8' and Kleingedackt 4' using Velesovo sample set of Hauptwerk VPO. If you like my music making, you can support us on Patreon and get free organ CD's at https://patreon.com/secretsoforganplaying
Yesterday I recorded the first movement of Krebs’ Sonatina Seconda on the 2nd manual of our Hauptwerk set. This time I did both video and audio recording. For video I used my phone on the tripod positioned on the left hand side and for audio, I used native Hauptwerk recording which doesn’t pick up any external noises and only records high quality Wave file (and also MIDI file too). It took me many tries to do it because I didn’t want to use any audio editing and aimed for continuous recording. Later I synced video and audio on iMovie and uploaded this piece to Soundrop and shared with my Patreon subscribers.
After that Aušra and I announced contest winners. We listened to all 5 contestants and tried to decided who was the best and in what order. In my mind @partitura’s entry was the best piece I have heard entire week. So sweet and elegantly performed. It was Bach’s trio, not very easy to do. I gave the 2nd place to @jeremyowens9501. I thought his performance of the chorale prelude from Orgelbuchlein was very solid. @contrabourdon was next with his rendition of the opening movement of Pergolesi Stabat Mater. It’s a nice keyboard arrangement. I don’t know about other countries but in Lithuania we have been used to hearing it performed on the orchestra slower. It’s Grave. Could be a local tradition though.
Otherwise the registration and style was very fitting. @tormus1958 played Erbarm dich chorale prelude by J.S. Bach and added interesting ornaments and diminutions in the right hand part. @drugelis was the 5th contestant with her improvisation on the Pentatonic mode. She used only black keys. I think she is ready to transpose the same mode to other keys for more color too.
I have played this piece on Trompet 8', Octave 4' and Quinta 1 1/2' using Velesovo sample set of Hauptwerk VPO. If you like our music making, you can support us on Patreon and get free organ CD's at https://patreon.com/secretsoforganplaying
Have you ever wanted to start to practice on the organ but found yourself sidetracked after a few days? Apparently your inner motivation wasn't enough.
I know how you feel. I also was stuck many times. What helped me was to find some external motivation as well.
In order for you to advance your organ playing skills and help you motivate to practice, my wife Ausra - @laputis and I invite you to join in a contest to submit your organ music and win some HIVE.
Are you an experienced organist? You can participate easily. Are you a beginner? No problem. This contest is open to every organ music loving Hivian.
Here are the rules
Yesterday I did my first live-streaming on Twitch since being promoted as an affiliate. During the Coronavirus epidemic SoundCloud has a partnership with Twitch for Pro account users. This partnership allows anyone with SoundCloud Pro account to be streamlined into an affiliate status on Twitch without having to wait to fulfil the other requirements of Twitch (reaching a certain number of followers, stream and watch hours. Since I have done some live-streaming with them in the past, I decided to take a leap. Affiliate status allows me to earn fro: my streams.
So yesterday was the day I tested this on my new 3 manual and pedal Hauptwerk setup. I only used one manual because I worked on mastering the third movement, Allegro vivace, from Sonatina Prima in A Minor from Clavierübung III by Johann Ludwig Krebs. It’s a fast movement so I had to take about 8 steps to reach the fluency required to record it live without cuts. At first I was worried that I would be nervous when practicing it live. But actually it was fun. I expected to be done in 10 steps and 30 minutes but I did it in 8 steps and 21 minutes.
Of course, setting up the camera was the biggest challenge as I haven’t done this before with this new 3 manual setup. I experimented on putting a camera high from the right hand side, from an eye level on the right and from an eye level on the left. For this livestream I chose the second one, from the right hand side from an eye level.
After the streaming was done, I checked the video and it appeared that I have most of my lighting from the left so I should have put the camera from the left too. Maybe I’ll do this next time when I start working on Sonatina Seconda in D Major.
This livestream was shared with my Patreon supporters first before it will go public on YouTube.
Thank you everyone for participating! You all made us very happy with your entries. We have all selected the following winners. You can congratulate them here.
I have played this piece on Gedackt 8' and Gemshorn 8' in the left hand, Rohrflot 8', Kleingedackt 4', Quinta 1 1/2 and Tertia 1 3/5' in the right hand, Subbass 16', Violonbass 16' and Octavbass 8' stops in the pedals using Velesovo sample set of Hauptwerk VPO. If you like our music making, you can support us on Patreon and get free organ CD's at https://patreon.com/secretsoforganplaying
Yesterday I the morning I set up Viscount MIDI 30 note pedalboard. Had a problem connecting to the computer first because I mixed up MIDI out and MIDI in cables. At first I thought it might be the problem that I was using too many USB connections, one for each keyboard and one for pedalboard. My 7 slot powered USB C adapter hasn’t arrived yet so I had to find some substitutes which take up space and energy from the computer. Luckily, after a while I figured out which cable goes where and it worked! Both Aušra and I recorded some solo music on it and also practiced our opening chorus from Easter oratorio by Bach as a duet. Then I adjusted the manuals even further to make them easier to reach.
In the evening we had a Zoom call with a friend from a book club so we chatted about the quarantine for an hour and later watched a couple of episodes of Ozark.
Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 579 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Amir. And he writes:
Hi Vidas, Definitely counting while reading new music is helping me to keep on a stable rhythm. I still found rapid shifts in note values and spacing of melodies in my left hand a bit challenging. Thanks.
V: Ausra, what does he mean about “spacing of melodies” in his left hand?
A: I guess he has trouble in his left hand in general...
V: Mm hm.
A: ...it seems to me. Well, because he is keeping talking about playing music in a stable rhythm. What I would suggest for him to do, since he has trouble with the left hand, that he would not sight read music with both hands together.
V: Go back to single lines.
A: That’s right.
V: Mm hm. He is working on my Organ Sight Reading Master Course, and I’m not sure which week he is on, but from the beginning, and quite a few weeks involves only one single line.
A: I see.
V: Soprano, then alto, then tenor and bass.
A: But I guess he’s talking about when he plays both hands together.
V: Mm hm.
A: Or if it’s the Sight Reading course, then maybe he just needs to take a slower tempo.
V: Yes. I think his question was aimed for this course, this particular course. And ideally, a person should take a very slow tempo and just play it through, one day. And the next day will be the next exercise. Not to master completely, one exercise, but just to sight read it. It could be done twice actually. One, and the second time through also works. But for him, I think sometimes the tempo is too fast. You know, when I say play it slowly, people are just saying to what they think is slow. And for some people, I think, or for most people, slow is not slow enough.
A: Yes. Do you think it’s really important to keep steady tempo when you sight read things, or you may slow down when things get harder?
V: I would prefer to keep a steady tempo. Even though it’s really slow. I would take it twice as slow - even more than twice as slow. You know, if you take a really slow tempo and it’s still unsteady and uneven rhythm, and it’s still too difficult for you to play without mistakes, it means that either the texture is too complicated for you, or the tempo is too fast. So you can slow down, right, but you cannot omit one line from a single line; already, it’s already too few notes. So in general, might be just a good idea to slow down.
A: Yes, I think that’s a good suggestion.
V: Yes. You guys, may be noticing a change in our audio quality, and we’re just testing the first recording we’re making on our new MacBook Pro, using Garage Band app, and I’m not sure how it will go, but so far we’re just testing it. Let us know if the quality is different or better, or whatever you feel, whatever you hear. Okay? So, and keep practicing of course, and sight reading. Sight reading from my Organ Sight Reading Master Course is really helpful, because we start with one single line, then going to two parts, three parts, and finally four parts, of Bach’s Art of Fugue. But then, in Bonus Content, we have seven weeks, seven additional weeks. We have Reger’s small chorale preludes. So basically, the entire course is baroque-like course with articulation, but the bonus material is dedicated for legato playing as well, because people were asking about modern technique as well, modern touch. Okay, and let us know how your practice goes, and keep sending more of your questions. We love helping you grow.
V: This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
Yesterday was a rather big day for me. After waiting for some days to quarantine to pass, I assembled Jaspers 3 keyboard stand and set up 3 Nectar Impact GX61 keyboards in our organ room. Aušra and I tested them out with playing Bach’s Wachet auf from Schubler collection as an organ duet using Hauptwerk software. It worked! I will need to adjust the manual height even further to be playable while sitting on the bench and set up Viscount MIDI pedalboard later today. Stay tuned...
In other news, Soundrop has finally delivered one of my tracks to Spotify. This is a good sign after my troubles with Distrokid and Mixnauten.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.