Imagine that you don't have an organ teacher, never took organ lessons, don't have enough time to practice, and feel that your age might slow down your progress. On top of that, since you lack any formal training in organ playing, you are using only left foot for pedals when you play at your church. Is it still possible to achieve your dream which is to enhance your knowledge in music in every sense of the word, including music theory?
Let's start from the beginning and consider each obstacle in turn.
The fact that you don't have an organ teacher or can't find an experienced one in your area or even country, might have been very difficult to overcome years ago. Basically, you would be stuck with what you have. But now when we connect with each other online being tenths of thousands of miles away, it's no longer a viable excuse not to progress.
When you start playing the organ without the help of a real teacher after a while this might lead to incorrect practice habits that in time inhibit your development as well. Again, in earlier days sometimes this would mean an insurmountable challenge to some but now it's never too late to start practicing with the help of the person you know, like, and trust (if you have been studying this blog with training programs for a while and find them valuable, then you are doing just that).
Lack of time in today's busy person's life is such a common problem that I could easily say majority of questions I get concern with finding more time for practice. Sometimes people's schedules are too stuffed with other obligations that don't leave some room for your self-improvement. In this case, consider your priorities and make the time for your own well-being (even if it's only 15 minutes a day). On the other hand, it happens that a person wants too many things at once which is a different matter. It's way better to excel at only one or two things instead of having only shallow knowledge and skills in many areas. In the words of Zig Ziglar, become a meaningful specific instead of wondering generality.
What to do, if you are not young anymore and still want to improve? I would say that this is not a real obstacle, only the one which we sometimes create in our minds. In fact, for people of older age, it's so valuable to have some dream and actively take daily steps to achieve it than to watch TV all day long. Mental practices of various kinds (including organ playing and music theory) enhance brain activity which slow-down the effects of the time on us. Plus, it's fun and not boring.
I know of some organists who never actually tried to perfect their pedal playing and limited their skills to adding the pedals with their left foot here and there. When you can do most of the playing with your hands, having only optional bass notes for the pedals with time eliminates the need to improve. Then the vast amount of even easy organ repertoire with pedals is not accessible to you.
It's never to late, though, to change your habits and develop both feet equally. It starts with treating your pedal part of the piece or the bass part of the hymn as an additional hand. The first step is to try, the second - to fail and fail until you succeed.
[HT to Liza]
Next up is facing the challenges on the way to becoming a world-class organist.
Part II: Allegro Maestoso e vivace from Organ Sonata No. 2, in C minor, Op. 65 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) who was a German composer, pianist, organist, and conductor of the early Romantic Period.
Jesus, King of Glory
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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.