We all have heard about pedal preparation technique in organ playing. It provides lots of benefits to the organists - pedal playing accuracy, fluency, and automation. Yet very few people take advantage of this incredible technique and in result their pedal playing will not develop up to the high level. If you are struggling with your pedal playing, read this article in which you will find out why organists don't use pedal preparation often enough and I will provide the tips for you to successfully apply it in your practice.
First of all, if you don't know what pedal preparation means, let me explain it to you.
Pedal preparation is a technique in which the foot is placed on the pedal right after the previous pedal is released. In other words, if you want to use pedal preparation, you just slide your foot to the next note in exactly the same instant after releasing the note you just played. Don't press this new pedal but let your foot rest in place and be ready for your next note.
Playing the pedals this way will give you the necessary fluency and automation because you will not have to think about what is coming next in your pedal line.
Although the benefits of pedal preparation hopefully are very clear to you, there are not too many organists who practice this way. Are you wondering what is the reason for that?
Although every person is different, for many people this is because of laziness in organ practice. You see, it is much easier to play the organ piece you love from the beginning until the end without stopping and without paying attention to such details, as pedal preparation, eliminating mistakes, correct depression of the pedals and so on.
In reality we all are quite lazy when it comes to practice. We want to achieve the results fast but don't realize how much work needs to be done in order to achieve our goal.
The same holds true in pedal preparation. In order for this technique to work, you have to practice short fragments of your pedal line alone repeatedly. In other words, if you want your pedal playing to become automated, play an excerpt of about 4 measures in a slow tempo 10 times in a row.
With each repetition try to focus and reach for preparing your foot in place for the next note. Now this is not easy but it is simple enough to understand. You just have to push yourself to do it correctly each time.
The next day you come to your organ practice repeat the previously mastered fragment 10 times with this technique. Do this 10 days in a row and you will have your fragment fully automated, I guarantee you.
Try this experiment: repeat one pedal fragment at least 10 times for 10 days with pedal preparation in a slow tempo. The fragment doesn't have to be long - up to 1 line of music. Practice other lines as you normally play without applying this technique. After 10 days, compare the result of these 2 different fragments. I bet after those 10 days you will never want to play the old way again.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my free Organ Practice Guide.
Or if you really want to learn to play any organ composition at sight fluently and without mistakes while working only 15 minutes a day, check out my systematic master course in Organ Sight-Reading.
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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.