Will writes that his dream in organ playing is to play the organ music of Bach well. When he was a teen-ager, his organ teacher introduced him to the Orgelbuchlein, and he fell in love with it. He would like to go back to that, and expand his playing into the preludes, fugues, and other chorales. The most important challenge which holds him back from achieving this dream is finding time to practice.
I’m sure that Will, along with my other readers who want to learn to play the music of Bach at some point will find at least some time for practice. As far as I know, for most people at least 15 minutes a day is something they can deal with (perhaps even more on the weekends). More serious obstacle is to decide what to do with that time. Therefore, a challenge which we all will face will be that very soon we will come to such a time in practice when we leave our familiar territory.
Crossing the threshold to the unknown and risky state is something that is unavoidable for every curious organist because if you want to achieve anything worth achieving (learn a new piece of Bach, master articulation for his style, or compile a repertoire of various Bach’s preludes, fugues, and chorale preludes to play in church service or recital) you will have to pass beyond your comfort zone. Beyond what you have learned before and how you learned before. If your goal was within your comfort zone, you would have achieved it by now (and that wouldn’t be a very lofty goal).
It will feel strange to find yourself in a situation at the instrument when you notice that if you learn these 4 new measures the correct way or analyze a piece in depth or play with articulate legato touch, your mind will tell you that this is something you are not sure will work. Something which you are not sure you can endure much longer.
One part of your mind will tell you to stop while the other – to pursue your goal. If you continue to listen to your “adventurous” mind, quite soon you can look back to discover that really you are entering into unfamiliar waters.
You won’t know what to expect. You won’t know what’s around the corner. You won’t know at which two-part combination you will be stuck. You won’t know, if that pedaling in extreme edges of the pedalboard you wrote in will work in a fast tempo. You won’t know how you will feel during live run-through at church service or recital.
But your curious mind will want to find that out.
Because your curious mind is what keeps you on the edge. Because your curious mind can’t wait to see where it all leads. Because your curious mind has helped you to achieve something remarkable in the past. Because your current comfort zone can be expanded and it will still feel and be save.
Not by a leap or a jump but by one little step at a time.
Will you dare to take that step?
Part I: Vivace from the Trio Sonata No. 2 in C minor, BWV 526 by J.S. Bach
Oh, Blest the House
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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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Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.