Vidas: Let's start the episode 39 of #AskVidasAndAusra Podcast. Today's question was sent by Parvoe, and he writes that movement of his left hand fingers always become a problem. Basically, he wants to improve his left hand technique, right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, I think so. Yes.
Vidas: I think for people who are right-handed, left hand technique is always a problem.
Ausra: Yes, it was, especially when you have to add to the pedals.
Vidas: Are you right-handed or left-handed?
Ausra: Yes, I am right-handed.
Vidas: Me too, so basically for both of us, this left hand thing is tricky, and needs extra attention.
Vidas: All right. How do we improve this? How do you personally improve left hand technique, Ausra?
Ausra: Actually, no. If I'm learning a tricky piece, a new piece, I not starting to play all the voice together. First of all I work on my left hand and pedals. This helps a lot, because right hand and pedal never give so much trouble as left hand and pedal.
Vidas: Exactly. For example, let's take it apart. When you practice an episode of music and you have a tricky left hand part, you want to repeat this fragment with the left hand maybe twice as many times, right?
Vidas: To speed up this progress of left hand.
Ausra: First of all, if you will play all this both hands together, so your left hand will still be weak, or weaker than the right hand.
Vidas: That makes sense because let's say you practice 10 times right hand, 10 times left hand, and 10 times pedals, right? Everything really becomes better and better every time you practice, but since left hand is your weakness, it's still a little bit weaker, right? It's not as strong as right hand.
What about, Ausra, right hand and pedal combination and left hand combination with the pedals? Do you need to practice left hand and pedals more?
Ausra: Yes, sure. Definitely.
Vidas: Also twice as many times?
Ausra: Actually more times than the right hand. I never count and know exactly how many times I practice with it, but definitely more.
Vidas: How do you know when to stop to practice this combination?
Ausra: Well, when it all goes smoothly.
Vidas: Until it goes smoothly?
Ausra: Yeah, sure.
Vidas: There is a difference between being able to play without mistakes, this combination, and getting it right every time.
Vidas: Which one would you prefer?
Ausra: Of course, getting right every time.
Vidas: Right. That's actually what professionals do. They practice until they cannot make mistakes in a given episode, and amateurs tend to stop when they play correctly.
Ausra: Sure. You know, of course, you can play exercise, a special exercise for a left hand. It helps also.
Vidas: What's your favorite type of left hand exercise?
Ausra: I would have to say that it's Hanon, but actually, personally, I like to play more like etudes on the left hand, something like Czerny etudes. Not always that technique which is suitable for piano technique is working for organ as well, but some of them actually work.
Vidas: Exactly, because Hanon is usually constructed in octaves, right? Parallel octaves moving fingers the same direction, you playing the same things. At the same time, right hand improves with the left hand together. You can play Hanon exercise five times or 10 times, or even once, both hands improve equally, but you need to improve your left hand more than right hand.
Ausra: Sure. Definitely.
Vidas: Yes, extra attention is really needed. In specific pieces, as you mentioned, Czerny etudes and other etudes.
Ausra: Of course, you have to play them on the piano, and in general for people who play electrionic organ, or electro-pneumatic organ work more on the piano, because it will improve your technique on regular piano if you have an access to it.
Vidas: Just recently, we met our friend and colleague, Paulius Grigonis, and he practiced on the mechanical organ at Vilnius Cathedral preparing for his upcoming recital, and one of his first comments was how different and difficult it is to practice on a mechanical organ because he was used to playing this electronic organ in his church without pipes. Right?
Vidas: People sometimes forget the sense of real resistance when it comes to the mechanical action organ. Ausra, do you think that sometimes builders of electronic organs make a special keyboard which is similar to mechanical action?
Ausra: Yes. Now everything happens. Yes.
Vidas: They improve with time, right?
Ausra: Yes, technology improves. Still, if you have another chance, choose a mechanical instrument.
Vidas: Play with piano.
Vidas: So guys, we hope that this advice was useful to you, and please apply this in your practice, and to please send us more questions. Subscribing to our blog at www.organduo.lt, and when you send us your questions, also please indicate your feedback about what is number one things you will apply from this or any other podcasts that you listen in your practice this week, right? This number one advice, which is the most crucial to you? Take action and apply it in your practice and let us know. We'll appreciate it a lot.
Okay, this was Vidas ...
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: 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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