When it comes to playing the organ, one thing is always important - your body should feel relaxed. For people with lots of correct playing experience this all comes naturally (but not always). For organists who have just recently started playing, or for those resuming practicing after years of silence relaxation isn't something very easy to achieve. However, to be relaxed while playing is crucial because not only you are using your body the right way but also you are preventing mistakes. In this article, I will share with you 4 tips which will help you to achieve relaxation while playing the organ.
1) Remember Breathing. When it comes to relaxation, breathing is the most important help. When you encounter a difficult spot in your music or feeling tense for whatever reason, just try to take advantage of deep conscious breathing done through your nose. It is a good idea to coordinate your breathing with the meter. Make it constant and breath slowly.
2) Practice in a Slow Tempo. Sometimes when we make mistakes and feel some tension, we are practicing too fast. So check if the tempo is optimal for your practice. Remember that practicing is not the same as performing. While your performance might require a fast tempo, you should spend most of the time practicing slowly. In general, take such tempo in which you can avoid making mistakes. This will also help you to relax.
3) Use Pedal Preparation. This technique is very powerful in achieving playing automation and consequently, relaxation. As you release the pedal with your foot, slide it instantly into the position for the next note and let it rest there. Do not depress the next pedal ahead of time but let it wait for its turn. This can be achieved if you practice your pedal part in small fragments repeatedly over and over.
4) Focus Your Mind. Make use of an ancient saying: your body should be relaxed but your mind should feel like it is on fire. In organ playing, this is not easy to achieve because there is so much to think about. However, if you just focus on the current measure, exclude everything else, and shift your attention to the next measure constantly then you will begin to feel very focused. With the focus comes also a relaxation.
Try one or all of the above tips today in your practice which will help you to relax. Remember that it takes time and repetitive effort to train your body and mind, so use it wisely. With each correct practice session you will take one more step towards perfecting your organ playing.
By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments - the pipe organ? If so, download my FREE video guide: "How to Master Any Organ Composition" in which I will show you my EXACT steps,
techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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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.