Vidas: Let’s start Episode 129 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. Listen to the audio version here. This question was sent by Helene, and she writes that her challenge is not keeping up with her daily practicing. She writes:
“I have talents in other ways in that I write fiction and non-fiction; I play other instruments, too. However, there is a great and profound joy in practicing and performing on the organ which is unparalleled.”
Ausra, do you have other hobbies/interests/talents besides organ?
Ausra: Yes, I do have some.
Vidas: So it’s a perfectly normal thing--
Ausra: Of course it’s normal, yes.
Vidas: --To have many interests instead of just one.
Ausra: That’s right.
Vidas: What would happen if a person would have just one passion, one single focus?
Ausra: I think he would become very good in that area in which he concentrates. That’s my opinion.
Vidas: Wouldn’t that be like...a limit for that person’s personality growth?
Vidas: You know what I mean?
Ausra: Yes, I know what you mean; but people are different, so you cannot judge for everybody. And you cannot measure everybody by the same scale.
Vidas: For example, I also have some hobbies besides playing the organ (playing the organ is not my hobby anymore, of course); but there is a downside to it, of course: it all takes up energy and time.
Ausra: Yes. And actually, I see a conflict in this question itself: because she writes that she is not practicing daily, and then she’s telling that it gives her profound joy, practicing and performing the organ. So...I sort of see a conflict in this. And she plays other instruments, as well.
Vidas: Maybe she should choose what is more important to her.
Ausra: Yes, because, I mean, if she really finds joy and happiness in practicing and performing organ, then that’s what she should do. And you know, you will not be a virtuoso in any instrument that you play; I think it’s impossible--
Vidas: You mean, in every instrument.
Ausra: In every instrument, yes. Especially if they’re not all, like, keyboard instruments. I would say you could play excellent on harpsichord and organ, or organ and piano; it’s harder, but still possible. But...not like, probably, violin and organ. Or flute and organ.
Vidas: Or flute, violin, and organ!
Ausra: I know--still one of the instruments will be the leading instrument, for you.
Vidas: Mhmm. It seems to me that she enjoys writing very much, right?
Vidas: She’s writing stories--made-up stories and nonfiction. So that might be another way to express her creativity. Music and writing are not in conflict, I think--they supplement each other, right? Like other instruments and organ may be in conflict, but writing and organ are not necessarily in conflict.
Ausra: Yes, this is true.
Vidas: How many hobbies can a person have and still manage them successfully, do you think?
Ausra: I don’t know--2, 3 maybe?
Vidas: 2-3? Let’s say not hobbies, but activities. It might be other things--
Ausra: Well, you know, it’s like talking about nothing--it depends on how much time you spend at work everyday, how big your family is, how many domestic responsibilities you have...All these things, you know--some people are so busy that they cannot have even one single hobby. For example, like, I’m working late at school everyday. So, it’s a different story with you--maybe you should tell about your hobbies.
Vidas: I’ve heard--I’ve read, actually--a story by...Warren Buffett, I think...yeah, the famous investor. And he says that you should write down a list of 25 things you want to do in life, in order from the most important one from the least important one. But all these things are important to you: like playing, like writing, like maybe drawing for some people, like other things. And some people really have 25 things on their plate. And then, he says, circle the top 5, and cross out the rest of them--like 20 things--and never look at them again. These are still important things to you, but life is too short. For myself, I have too many interests, too, and I have to limit myself, too. And I find that 5 things in my day, I can still fit in; and practice, every day, 5 different things, perhaps. Like let’s say, of course, playing the organ--repertoire, right? Maybe like...of course, improvising; like composing, number 3; and then would be writing, of course; and I like drawing, too. So those 5 things are still manageable. But other things I have to forget about, I think. What about you, Ausra? Do you agree with this?
Ausra: Well, yes. I would be very happy if I could do 5 things a day! My teaching schedule is so busy that it gives me no time for anything else. There are days when I can hardly practice, and I’m very happy if I can read for like 15 minutes before bedtime! When you teach like 7, 8, 9 hours a day, what else can you do? It’s exhausting!
Vidas: Yeah. Of course, I didn’t say reading; reading, of course, is important. I didn’t count that. So yes, Helene and others who have many interests and hobbies--and love to play the organ besides that--sometimes need to figure out a way of letting things rest awhile, and see if they’re still important, right? Maybe take a break of 5 weeks or a month without doing that activity, and see if you miss it. Right? And if you do, then maybe you’ll see it’s important, and maybe it has to go up in your priorities list. What do you think about that, Ausra?
Ausra: Well, definitely, yes.
Vidas: Okay guys, please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice…
Ausra: Miracles happen.
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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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