Do you keep your phone's notifications on when you're practicing? Or perhaps a laptop with multiple tabs open sits nearby and you're tempted to constantly glance over it?
It's a great distraction to be somewhere else in your mind when you're playing the organ.
Maybe it was a stressful day for you at work and you're are trying to solve some difficult problem simultaneously. Maybe you're want to remember something you forgot about and you 'are thinking hard about it.
Maybe you're planning your next day or week or your next recital while playing a hymn harmonization. Or perhaps your're thinking so much about the past you cannot change. Maybe a car drive's by and you're starting to think about how your car needs to be taken to the mechanic for check up.
These things come and go as you practice, that's for sure. It's not a problem. The problem is to keep thinking about them while slipping from the present task - which is the present measure you're playing.
Don't blame yourself for doing it, though. Gently notice what you notice and return to the present measure.
It's exceedingly simple and yet exceedingly difficult task.
Our mind is very slippery - it doesn't like to stay on one thing for longer than a few moments.
But we can always train it to behave like a muscle.
And there's a trick - we can focus on our breath. On our deep and slow breathing.
The more we notice the present moment, the easier it's to relax and stop worrying.
Keeping deep focus in practice has a tremendous calming effect on us.
Watch a kid who is in deep concentration while playing with a toy or drawing.
That's what we're trying to do in organ practice as well.
It's a physical activity with a special state of mind.
Is it just me or do you also find it difficult to stay in the present moment while practicing? What helps you?
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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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