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And now let's jump in and get started with the question.
Vidas: Let's start Episode 45 of #AskVidasAndAusra Podcast. And today's question was sent by Pat.
He writes, that the thing that is holding him back from achieving his organ playing goal is basically time, finding time without interruptions the lack of which causes him to be discouraged by his inability to regain his skill.
And he also writes that our lessons are what is giving him exactly what he needs. "Any extra help for a rusty student would be most appreciated. Thank you."
So this means that our suggestion to part are helpful, right?
Ausra: I hope so.
Vidas: And this is good news to the people who are taking action and applying our tips in their practice and if we only talk about those intricate details and nobody pays attention and do those things in their practice, it's a waste of time.
Ausra: Sure. And I think about finding practice time - this is a lifelong struggle for everybody.
Vidas: I think what it comes down to is developing a habit, developing a small and good habit one at a time. Over a long period of time, finding time, making time. Do you agree with this, Ausra?
Aura: Yes, I couldn't agree more.
Vidas: Well, for example, regular practice is just like any other activity that we do every day, hopefully every day. And when you make the time every day, just a little bit, maybe 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or whatever you find in your day, it becomes easier and easier.
Ausra: Definitely. And it should be a part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower or eating 3 times a day. So should your organ practice. Sometimes it might be a problem when you don't have an instrument at home. Then if you have to go somewhere to play to perform or practice, it might be an extra trouble. What do you think about it?
Vidas: I agree with you, of course and also think it takes about 2 months or maybe a little bit more to develop a habit. I've read it takes 67 days to build any type of habit you want, good or bad habit. Definitely you want to build a good habit.
Ausra: Well, definitely to build a bad habit takes a shorter time than a good habit.
Vidas: So for Pat and everyone else listening and struggling with finding time it's good news because you only have to persevere for only 2 months or 67 days. And after that it's just downhill.
Ausra: And I think that at the beginning you might practice for a shorter period of time, if it's hard for you to find time or you're too lazy to play for a long time. For example, start with 20 minutes or half an hour and later on you will add more time.
Vidas: Exactly. It's like with exercising. Like with running, for example. Some people want to run a marathon. But you never start with marathon. You start with maybe 15 minutes or 10 minutes or maybe just walking around your block. And that would be enough for starters, don't you think?
Ausra: And you also should find out what type of person you are, morning person or a night person. The best thing would be to practice when you are the most productive. Because some people are like owls - they can stay up very late at night and work and do things and some are only working in the mornings.
Vidas: For example, I feel very much refreshed in the morning. I can practice starting from 8 AM and I can do a quality work until around maybe noon. With frequent breaks, of course. But these 4 hours every day is like my golden time. What about you, Ausra?
Ausra: I would say, it's probably the same with me. But I can’t work very hard in the morning because it's difficult for me to get up very early. For example, 6 AM is a nightmare for me to get up but that's what I have to do. 7:30 AM is the best time for me to get up.
Vidas: It's always light at 7:30 AM. Winter or summer and you feel refreshed.
Ausra: But of course, if you have to work late hours, I realize that physical exercises help me a lot. Going to a gym or a swimming pool gives me extra energy and prolongs my day.
Vidas: That's I think very good idea to advice for people to do some form of exercise every day in addition to your hobby or professional activity, like organ playing. Do some kind of physical activity that gets you sweaty, elevates your heart-beat. It doesn't have to last very long, does it, Ausra?
Ausra: Sure, especially at the beginning.
Vidas: Maybe 15 minutes or even if you like doing push-ups, do a set of push-ups to gets you exhausted and you’ll feel much better after that. But of course you have to warm up and cool down and do some stretching to not hurt yourself.
Ausra: Sure, we don't want you to hurt yourself.
Vidas: Great. Back to this question of finding time for organ playing. Pat is also struggling with time without interruptions. I can guess that family obligations or his job activities also tend to interrupt him. When he gets back from work, maybe he thinks that "Oh, I have lots of things to do." He faced lot of stressful situations over the day and these thoughts interrupt his quality practice.
Ausra: Well, then just try to do your organ practice as some sort of meditation which would calm you down and you could relax during your practice. Don't make it another job, make it a pleasure.
Vidas: What do you mean when you contrast a job and pleasure? How are they different?
Ausra: Oh, they are very different.
Vidas: Let's take organ playing, of course. How would you imagine work or job in terms of organ playing?
Ausra: Well, when you do routine work. For example, you work in church when you have to play this service stuff, maybe hymns that you don't like all the time. And to play them over and over again. This might be a routine. And when you're learning new music - it's exciting. This could be like a pleasure.
Vidas: You have responsibilities.
Vidas: And you don't necessarily love those responsibilities. Maybe you know you need to do them to fulfill your duties but they're not your sweet spot.
Vidas: And for pleasure, as organist you would love to do other things. Like what?
Ausra: Maybe improvise or learn new music that is not so suitable for liturgy.
Vidas: Good advice, I think. You have to alternate. If you are serious about your organ playing future and your goals, you definitely need to think about deadlines, maybe set yourself a deadline and learn a piece or two and perform in public.
Vidas: But that's a responsibility. And for the pleasure part, it would mean like Ausra says, to improvise a little, play what you definitely love. Maybe your favorite organ piece that helps you relax.
Ausra: Yes and I hope these tips will help you to find time to practice and enjoy it.
Vidas: And of course, guys, let us know how you apply those tips in practice this week. And send us more questions. And the best way to do this is by subscribing to our blog at www.organduo.lt (if you haven't done so) and simply replying to our messages.
Wonderful. This was Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And remember, when you practice -
Ausra: Miracles happen.
PS Our first e-book "Is It Possible to Learn to Play the Organ When You Are 56 Years Old" is available here for a low introductory price of $2.99 until August 9. If you have already read it, we would appreciate if you left a rating and review.
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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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