By Vidas Pinkevicius (get free updates of new posts here)
Are you struggling to become a better sight-reader on the organ?
You want to practice something like 2 hours a day but somehow you are not there yet.
Something is holding you back.
Maybe you don't seem to hold the persistent schedule of practicing, maybe you don't know what pieces to play, maybe you get overwhelmed with many other tasks that is on your to-do list.
Or maybe it's a combination of things.
Here's the thing:
I was also struggling to perfect my sight-reading abilities for a long time.
I remember when my first organ teacher gave me chorale preludes from Bach's Orgelbuchlein to choose, I tried to play them at home and it was a disaster.
I couldn't even appreciate how beautiful those gems were at the time. That's how pathetic my sight-reading abilities were.
Later I played organ music more or less regularly.
But the breakthrough came only when I decided to use my skill in public, when I made my goal to try to sight-read a simple 30-minute organ recital without preparation.
I deliberately chose rather easy pieces for the program because I knew these things will get stressful.
Most importantly, I set a date and I worked until my fingers fell off.
What happened was that the more I practiced, the easier it was to get to the real concert tempo with new pieces and to notice as well as execute the intricate details of the piece, such as articulation, tonal plan, thematic development, registration and manual changes, phrasing etc.
The result of this experiment was that yes, the recital went well and I knew, it could be done - to perfect your organ sight-reading skills to a level where even more difficult repertoire could be performed without prior preparation.
But first you have to set a specific date and give yourself some real accountability.
What would happen if you failed?
In my case, my audience would laugh at me and I would damage my credibility as a concert organist.
Until you do that, until you figure out where's the gun to your head, your dream to sight-read better on the organ will remain... just a dream.
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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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