Nobody has enough time to practice organ playing.
That's right. Even if you have all the time in the world (which most people don't), it seems like you would still enjoy some more time at your favorite instrument.
It's a wrong question to ask, I think. Far more productive would be to figure out the way how to stop doing meaningless stuff and focusing on what really matters.
The famous 80/20 rule - do the 20% of the activities that produce 80% of results that go towards your goals.
And remember, you don't have to do everything every day. Just figure out what's the easiest next step and do it. Sometimes when you're brave enough, you can leap through several steps at once.
And these constrains that you face every day - your family responsibilities, your work responsibilities, your health problems, they become your allies because they help you become much more focused on your organ playing goals and think about not what's not possible but about what's possible within the time frame you have.
The thing is we often freeze when we face these constrains and fall into a victim's mindset "I wish I could do that but I don't have time", "I wish I could do that but I'm to old to change" - and so we even refuse to do the things we could that could potentially also lead us closer to our goals.
Adam Morgan and Mark Barden in their book "A Beautiful Constraint" suggest that the way we find the way out of our constraints is this: we could start asking propelling questions like these (I adapted them to organ playing situation):
How can I find more time to practice organ playing without sacrificing my family and work responsibilities?
How can I make progress in playing the organ, if my illness prevents it?
How can I double my progress in organ playing while halving the time I put into practice?
How can I improve my organ technique without playing boring technical exercises?
How can I learn to improvise without feeling stupid and embarrassed because of mistakes I would make in public?
How can I push through the challenges that I'm facing without feeling overwhelmed by them?
And the way you figure out the answer to these kinds of questions is by giving an answer which starts with Can-If approach:
I can find more time to practice organ playing without sacrificing my family and work responsibilities, if I reduce the time during the day I check my email and surf the internet and the social media sites.
I can make progress in organ playing even with my illness, if I just practice for very short periods of time which will not feel exhausting (and if I start to think about how my skills can help other people which would take my mind from thinking too much about my own health condition).
I can double my progress in playing the organ while halving the time I put into practice, if I practice the right kind of musical materials.
I can improve my organ technique without playing boring technical exercises, if I make these exercises not boring and very creative.
I can learn to improvise without feeling stupid and embarrassed because of mistakes I would make in public, if I start playing just for myself and then for the small group of friends who trust me and want me to succeed.
I can push through the challenges that I'm facing without feeling overwhelmed by them, if I can focus on just one step at a time.
By asking the right kind of propelling question (and thinking up the new, even more challenging ones), you can figure out the answer with the Can-If approach in almost any constraint, in almost any situation. That's when constraints become beautiful and you graduate from a victim's mindset to the one of transformer's.
That's when people around you will start being jealous of you, laugh at you, or even fight you. That's also when others will start to look up to you and follow your lead.
That's how you begin to change (your) world.
Start today because you'll never have enough preparation for this anyway.
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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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