Today's question was posted by Ana Marija, our Total Organist student:
"Do you listen to "other" genres of music too? Well, I have some pianist friends, and it seems typical that they generally listen to piano music. I do not know many organists personally, and I was wondering if you like choral music, orchestral music, piano music... Do you go for a walk and listen to Beethoven Symphony? What is your opinion on jazz, rock..." (Ana Marija)
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When you practice, miracles happen.
Vidas and Ausra
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Vidas: Hello guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And we are broadcasting now from our car, driving to our school. And today's question for #AskVidasAndAusra podcast, episode 6, was sent by Ana Marija. She is curious basically, "Is it okay to focus just on organ music for organist? "Or should you really be interested in other styles and genres, like symphonic music, chamber music, piano music, choir music?" Or even jazz? Other styles, basically. Because, she noticed that a lot of pianists are only interested in piano music. So, how about for organists? Interesting question.
Ausra: Well, it is an interesting question and I don't know, but there must be no one correct answer to it. Because it depends on what the interest of the person is, but in general I think that if you are professional, you must know other music as well, other music of a common period. Symphonic, piano music, chamber music, choir music, opera, and so on and so forth.
Vidas: The broader your musical horizon is, the more experience you will get, and it will also broaden your musical abilities too. Because with every new piece, new style, you discover something new about yourself also or ultimately about your music. Even if you just, for example, listen to organ music you'll become a little bit one-sided. I'm not sure if it's a bad thing. For some people it's great to be one-sided and very, very focused, like a specialist, but others like to be generalists. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, and especially, you know, if you teach other people you must have a broader perspective of music in general. Because for example, when I teach at school and I hear somebody next door are playing something, and my students ask, "Oh, teacher, what is this?" And if I will not be able to answer them, my authority will just go down.
Vidas: Yeah, I think they’re testing us.
Ausra: Yeah, sure. So, I would say you have to listen to other music as well, because even if you dig Bach: If you just know organ music it's okay, but there are so many beautiful pieces written to other instruments, and multiple instruments, and to listen to cantata or to his passions.
Vidas: Or even, do you know Widor, right? Widor is primarily known for his organ works, but there is one beautiful suite for piano and flute. Ausra has played, right?
Vidas: A long time ago. It's a wonderful piece. Why not study it? Not necessarily play it, but study, listen, and enjoy, too.
Ausra: Or, you know, what kind of musician can you be if you haven't listened to Beethoven's symphonies?
Vidas: Yes. It's a basic education, I think. For every cultured person, probably. And on top of that you would expand to organ. To add specialist repertoire from the main historical schools of organ composition and national styles, like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, England, Netherlands, America. All of those things. But, it's good to have a broad cultural perspective. Then you can be engaged with other people who are not organists, and communicate their language about organ, too.
Ausra: And even music like jazz can be also very useful to listen to.
Vidas: And one of our best professors, George Ritchie...
Ausra: Yes, he is a big fan of jazz music.
Vidas: Yeah, he always listens to jazz in his free time.
Wonderful. So, feel free to watch and listen and play any kinds of music. Even sight-reading, for example orchestral scores is wonderful. If you have a friend, playing four-hand piano transcriptions by orchestral scores, and even operatic works, it's a wonderful way to really spend time with your friend. That's for sure. But also, to get better at sight-reading and also expand your musical horizons.
Wonderful. So, Ausra, I've noticed you had this wonderful collection of Alain and other pieces on your music rack. Did you have time to practice yesterday?
Ausra: Well, actually, yes, I practiced a little bit yesterday. I am preparing for that recital next week so I just played that Canzona in G Major by Scheidemann.
Vidas: And I actually played four graduation ceremonies yesterday at university. And today I'm also playing for an economics department. And I know you have an exam, right? What kind of exam?
Ausra: It's a musicology exam, the second to the last part of musicology for my students who graduate school this year. The exam itself lasts for a few hours, because we have to write a musical dictation down, and then we have the history test to do, and then to harmonize four-part exercise, and then to analyze a piece for musical analysis.
Vidas: It's a comprehensive test, right?
Vidas: All your music theory and even music history is part of it.
Vidas: Right? Of course, there is another part of the exam for music history. And you are the creator, right, of all this?
Vidas: You create the test. And, why do people need this test when they graduate?
Ausra: Well, because if you want to go to apply for academy of music, this exam is required, actually.
Vidas: It's like an entrance examination, right?
Ausra: Yes. If you want to get diploma from our school, you have to have this exam, too.
Vidas: So, I hope you will have a wonderful day, and not too stressful, because it's not your exam.
Ausra: Well, it's a long day. Actually it would be easier for me to do this exam myself, you know, than to see my students taking this ...
Vidas: Ah, you are basically worrying about them.
Vidas: Well, yeah, of course. You always want for them to be better than they are, maybe, sometimes.
Wonderful. So, remember, right now we have 30 days free trial of our organ membership program called Total Organist. And Ana Marija posted the question for today's podcast episode is also a student of this program, taking advantage of the free trial. So, if you decide that this program is not for you, just try it out. Download fingerings and pedalings, and coaching programs. Study them and you can cancel before the month ends and you will not be charged. But the majority of people actually stay, because we have no doubt of the quality. It's so helpful. It's so comprehensive. Actually the most comprehensive organ training program online. So, and right now it's for 30 days free.
Wonderful. I hope you will have all a great practice today. I hope I also practice in my short between the graduation ceremonies for those economy students. And we'll see you next time, right?
Vidas: This was Vidas ...
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: 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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