If you struggle with learning a piece of organ music, check if you are not missing any steps. Here is what I mean.
Some people learn a piece in 7 steps:
1. Right hand
2. Left hand
4. Both hands together
5. Right hand and pedals
6. Left hand and pedals
7. Everything together
This works in cases when the piece has 3 parts or is largely homofonic in texture (melody plus accompaniment). But when there are 4 parts and the piece is polyphonic in nature (with 4 independent parts), it would be better to take 15 steps:
5. 1 and 2
6. 1 and 3
7. 1 and 4
8. 2 and 3
9. 2 and 4
10. 3 and 4
11. 1, 2, and 3
12. 1, 2, and 4
13. 1, 3, and 4
14. 2, 3, and 4
15. 1, 2, 3, and 4
I know how tempting it is to skip these 8 steps in four-part music. But if you think about it, often it's a leap from 1 part to 3 parts without working on many of two-part combinations.
Do you go from A to D without touching B and C? If you do, you're a genius. But if you're not (or not yet), it's better to do it step-by-step.
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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.