Are you frustrated at the enormous amount of time you have to put in while learning organ pieces? Or perhaps you want to learn your favorite works in a shorter period of time? In this article, I will show you some tips which will help you learn and master any organ piece faster.
One of the most important things if you want to learn pieces faster is to practice them in a slow tempo. Generally, you have to use the tempo that is about 50% slower than the concert tempo. This will give you accuracy and help avoid making mistakes.
Before learning the piece, try to write in fingering and pedaling. Remember that it is not required to indicate every finger and pedal in the entire piece right away. Instead, you can write in your pedaling and fingering only in the episode that you are working and practicing.
Another thing to remember is to practice in fragments. This will help you to correct any mistakes easily. When you practice your piece, play separate voices repeatedly so that you can master them individually. Only after that work on voice combinations such as two parts and three parts together. After this becomes easy, try to play all parts together over and over.
One more thing to remember when you practice these episodes is to aim for correct rhythms, notes, ornaments, articulation and hand and feet position with every repetition. Do not proceed to the next step unless you can play it fluently at least three times in a row.
Above all, try to practice every day. Not necessarilly for several hours, but at least for 20-30 minutes. Even if you have that little time, you can still make progress - you can repeat previously mastered material instead of learning something new (which you can do on days when you have more time to practice).
Organ practice can be compared to boiling water - the minute we take the pot off the fire - the water begins to cool down. So if you want your organ practice to be in a good shape - do it every day.
Also don't neglect the importance of having an exact measurable goal and a plan of action to achieve this goal. This will definitely speed up your learning process. Otherwise, your playing might be just wandering around in circles.
If you really want to learn organ pieces faster, then you should perfect your organ sight-reading and harmony skills very systematically in a step-by-step fashion. This is how I'm able to play 12 recitals a year with different repertoire.
Consider these recommendations when you take your organ pieces and apply these tips in your practice. Finally, you have to be very persistent in your practice and then you will succeed in learning organ pieces faster.
Many church organists have a dream in giving their best on Sunday services and learning new pieces to enhance their worship playing. However, sometimes they might lack motivation to practice new music because their might have good sight-reading skills. If you find yourself in this situation, I will give you some ideas which will help you to solve this problem and to advance in organ playing.
The goal to learn new music as opposed to sight-read them is wonderful. In fact, the two are strongly connected.
You see, if your primary goal is to play in church, then this might well be your motivation behind learning new music for services. You don't need to play everything new every Sunday since this will be a very great burden. You want to enjoy music and not to feel like you have to prepare something new in a short amount of time.
Usually there are 4 places for organ music in the worship service of various denominations today (prelude, offertory, communion, and postlude). One possibility for you would be to learn one new short work each week or every two weeks and repeat others from your current repertoire. This piece does not have to be long nor too complicated. In fact, a chorale prelude of 1-2 pages is an optimum duration for liturgical organ playing.
If you like sight-reading, this does not necessarily mean you should stop practicing it. In fact, this is a tremendous tool in any organist's arsenal of skills. Many people would like to get better at sight-reading, so if you already have reasonable skills, you have an advantage. An ability to play unfamiliar music at sight makes a process of learning new pieces much easier.
If you really want to develop unbeatable sight-reading skills, check out my systematic Organ Sight-Reading Master Course. To complete the practice material of this course will only take 15 minutes a day of practice but you will learn to sight-read any piece of organ music effortlessly.
I often suggest organists two practice both sight-reading and learning new material regularly. This ensures that both skills are being developed at the same time.
The ultimate goal would be to be able to play the music that you love at sight fluently, without interruptions, and mistakes. However, you are probably thinking that nobody can achieve this level.
There is a story about Bach, who was a great sight-reader and usually could play anything written on the music sheet. But one day during his visit with his friend he made a mistake on the harpsichord by trying to play the same spot three times in a row and said: "No, it is not possible to sight-read everything".
So the take-away message for you would be to take a piece of your choice and practice it on a deeper level for church service. For best results work in separate voices and voice combinations. Practice in short fragments to avoid mistakes.
By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments - the pipe
organ? If so, download my FREE video guide: "How to Master Any Organ Composition" in which I will show you my EXACT steps, techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
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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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