Many of my organ students ask me for an advice in reaching the fast tempo in their organ pieces. They often struggle to achieve this level of fluency either because their technique is not developed enough or because they do not know how to practice the piece in order to reach fast tempo. Today I will share with you one particular method of practice which will help you reach the fast tempo in practicing organ compositions.
Practice in Fragments
If you have difficulty playing in a fast tempo any particular organ piece, here is a special technique you could use. Try to work in shorter fragments like one beat first, then practice this piece in half of measure, then the entire measure and so on until you can play an entire line without stopping. Let me explain how it works.
You see, if this composition has to be performed in a fast tempo, then playing the entire work might be too difficult for you at the moment. However, you may notice that you can play all voices together very quickly just for one beat easily. Play just one beat, then stop and hold the chord. Look at the next beat. When you are ready, play another beat and stop. Look at the next beat, prepare and so on. So you will practice stopping every beat.
If you have never tried this before, this kind of practice might seem strange to you. You maybe wondering what is the point of stopping at every beat. What happens is that although you stop every beat, you can play the notes of that beat very quickly. And so practice a few times playing the piece this way until you feel comfortable enough. Then make your fragment two beats and stop every two beats. Then one measure, two measures, four measures, one line, two lines, one page, two pages and so on. While practicing this way, you will begin to notice that your ability to play the piece in a fast tempo improves gradually over time.
When you stop and hold your chord, do not rush to play the next fragment. Instead, make sure you look ahead and understand in your mind what the next fragment is. Only then play it. In other words, play only when you are ready.
Reaching the level when you can play organ music fast is not so easy. As you can see, the system is simple enough for most organists to understand but not too many people reach that kind of proficiency. However, you must persevere and practice with never-give-up mentality. Although there are many techniques in achieving this mentality, one thing in particular is helpful to me – having a clear goal in mind. In other words, you have to have a vision or a goal what it is you are trying to accomplish. If you say that your goal or dream, for example, is to be able to play that wonderful prelude and fugue by Bach or Toccata by Widor at a concert tempo, then you will have the necessary motivation to persevere. No matter how boring, how tiring it will be to practice, you will stick to the plan and successfully accomplish your goal.
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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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.