SOPP399: I feel very much at home with the organist community and feel that my practicing and learning matters
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 399 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. And today, I’d like to read some of the feedback we received about the Total Organist program, because I asked recently this question of our members: “How do you like Total Organist, so far?” And, Ariane, Jeremy and Ruth replied with their comments.
I love the program! I feel very much at home with the organist community and feel that my practicing and learning matters. I am working my way slowly through a couple of courses and the nice thing is I can totally work at my own pace. Thanks Ausra and Vidas!
It is fantastic to have a community which understands the issues of being an organist, finding practice time, and the work of preparation for services and music.
Total Organist means a great deal to me. It is putting me in touch with musicians around the world. It is stimulating through its presentations and discussions. I am truly grateful for this experience!
V: So, once in a while, people send these feedback to us, and this is really nice.
A: Yes, it’s wonderful to know that we are useful to somebody, and we can help people in the area that we love ourselves, and help others to experience it and to know it.
V: So, for example, Ariane appreciates the community, and probably she means that she can keep in touch with other members of our program through Basecamp.
A: I think that’s a very nice thing, because I saw that in many actual places, an organist by him- or herself might feel quite lonely! Don’t you think so? Because they are playing such an instrument that they are always alone!
V: Right. Even if you are leading a choir or accompanying the choir, if you are playing, you are practicing on the organ bench mostly alone!
A: So, I guess it’s very nice that there is a platform where you can meet people like you and share your experiences!
V: Yesterday, I went to our monthly book club meeting, and you couldn’t go because you felt ill. And, it reminds us also a little bit about this community, and once a month we meet and discuss the books that we read, and we are looking forward to the next meeting. Right, Ausra? So, it’s kind of similar to the Total Organist community. It’s only online, we don’t meet face to face, yet, but the experience is similar. We share common interests and support each other. Ausra, do you think that practicing alone would be slower in terms of advancement?
A: I think yes, because it’s always nice to have encouragement from others and to share experiences. That way, you can grow faster, and overcome problems easier.
V: And Jeremy also comments about the community, that he appreciates the most, and Ruth appreciates that she is in touch with musicians around the world. So, I guess it all comes down to this community. It’s a rather compact community—we have around 80 people in our group, maybe more—but not all of them are active on Basecamp. Everyone probably receives those questions at the end of the day to report what you have been practicing today, or what you are struggling with, or something like that, but people do, they write, and sometimes I don’t even need to interfere in their discussions. I see that a few people get together under one comment, and support each other. That, to me, is a sign that people care about others in the group.
A: That’s a good sign, I think.
V: Yes. They’re invested with their time and their energy in this group and want to see other people succeed, and by seeing and helping others succeed, they also succeed faster.
V: It’s a nice feedback cycle to have. Of course, other people are lonely and individualistic, right? For those people, group settings and group environment probably is not as...I would say… attractive as sitting on the bench alone with the music and the instrument and with their thoughts and ideas. What about you, Ausra?
A: Well, I always thought about myself as a very unsocial person—very individualistic. But the more I live, the more I understand that really, we are social.
V: Social animals!
A: Yes, just like dogs. So, I guess that sooner or later, everybody comes to that…
A: ...understanding, yes.
V: The sooner, the better!
A: Yes. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need our time to be alone, but we still need to communicate with others—to socialize.
V: And you know, we are drawing our comics, our Pinky and Spiky comics, and putting them on Steemit, and we also have this little community where people can participate in contests of drawing those animals and comics themselves. And the theme changes every week, and it’s sort of very nice to see people get involved, and also to support each other and comment each other. It’s an open group, not a closed group like Total Organist—anybody can join, but the principle is the same, I guess. Ausra, do you feel excited when somebody comments your drawing?
A: Yes, actually I’m waiting for those comments. It’s part of my day.
V: So, probably it’s true to say that other people are waiting for other people’s comments as well, and it’s a cycle, as well. So it’s the same with Basecamp and Total Organist here. Kind of people who support each other, care for each other and wait for those comments, and they can count on them, because the questions arrive at the end of each day! And they get automatic questions: “How was your day?” or “What are you practicing today?” and you don’t need to think about what to write; you just document you just document, a little bit, your activities. To me, that’s a very valuable tool to have for people to help them grow. And I hope we’ll see more involvement from our group in the future, too, Ausra.
A: I hope so, too.
V: Ok, guys, this was Vidas,
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
You and me, if you consider yourself an artist, must have a feeling sometimes that nobody can understand what's going on in your head. Nobody but you.
Not your friends or your family or your boss. Oh yes, I forgot… artists don't have bosses. And even if they do, they don't wait for orders what to do next.
Yes, once in a while you meet another artist. Then you recognize each other instantly, greet each other and move your own ways. Like passing ships at sea.
Some artists form communities, tribes of like-minded people who support each other. But at the end of the day artists are still left with their own thoughts.
And this situation makes them feel lonely at times.
But that's OK. Because art can't be born in a chaos. You need silence to organize your thoughts or to hear what Muse is whispering into your ear.
Sometimes you feel sad that nobody in the whole world can tell you it's gonna be OK. Sometimes you feel proud precisely because of this. Whatever the case may be today remember this:
Your mission is yours and yours alone. Everybody else has their own mission. Even if they don't know what it is yet.
By Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene (get free updates of new posts here)
After an unsuccessful public organ performance you get this sinking feeling in the stomach, right?
I've embarrassed myself in front of a bunch of strangers.
They'll tell the others.
I'm a fraud.
There are only two ways to deal with failure - with self-pitty or without.
I hope you're making the right choice.
I receive many questions about playing organ music with emotion.
Should you play with feelings? Should you try to express your feelings through your playing? Should you express composer's feelings as well through your performance?
I think the answer lies in the music.
The more you can understand the music, the composer's intentions, the form, the structure, harmony, cadences, tonal plan, the musical elements that are part of this piece, historical periods and national schools of organ composition, the more informed decisions you can make on the emotional side of such composition as well.
Otherwise, you would be just guessing and the foundation of your guess would be your emotion. Your emotion without proper analysis might be quite misleading sometimes.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.
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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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