SOPP255: Most difficult are the physical challenges and the lack of motivation to practice because I get discouraged when I remember how I used to play
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: Let’s start episode 255 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Heidi and she writes:
Since I have imposed upon you again with a lengthy answer to what I’m sure you thought was a question that would have a succinct reply, I will reduce my desires into a few bullet points: (although I’m glad you know a little bit more about who I am)
* I wish to expand my grasp of Theory to enable me to learn Improvisation
* Most difficult are the physical challenges and the lack of motivation to practice because I get discouraged when I remember how I used to play. I still play well, just not as well as I was able to, and I remember that whenever I play. It is a blessing, and a curse!
* My wishlist: Training materials and perhaps video? ? for the Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C-Minor.
V: Let’s start from the ending, right? We have this fingering and pedaling prepared for the score of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, right Ausra?
A: Yes, that’s right, we have it.
V: So Heidi and others who are interested in learning this piece can take advantage of it right away and Heidi is a new Total Organist student, she joined it recently and let’s welcome her and we hope that she can also quadruple her results and motivation. That’s her second challenge, right? The lack of motivation to practice because she remembers in the past how she used to play well.
A: And I think she mentions herself those two problems are connected. Between physical challenges and lack of motivation I think that physical challenge comes from the lack of motivation to practice. It means that she practice not enough.
V: Umm-hmm. And that’s the reason I thought about this problem for a very, very long time when creating materials for Total Organist and everything seemed right for that program. It’s very comprehensive. Actually too many materials to choose from and now we have organized everything according to the level of difficulty for beginners, basic level, intermediate, advanced level so everyone can choose whatever it is their skill level to learn and practice, whatever they like best. But you feel Ausra what’s the problem, right? That people who start learning a piece and not necessarily finish it.
A: That’s right. Actually yes, that’s a problem with many of us in many cases. Even when we studied for our doctoral at UNL. I have learned that there are so many doctoral students who are not able to finish their dissertations and I think after taking all those years of studies, all those travels, getting all those credits done and taking comprehensive exams, I think to write dissertation and to finish it is just like a piece a cake, but it seems that it’s not and so many just quit doing it and will not receive their degree and that’s a pity.
V: Maybe they don’t want it badly enough, right?
A: But after spending so many years doing extensive studies.
V: But I mean the diploma, the degree. Maybe it was important for them in the beginning and less important at the end. Maybe their goals changed.
A: I think it’s some sort of procrastination that catches them up at this stage of getting a degree.
V: I see. So, talking about Heidi and others who feel the lack of motivation to practice I came up with a solution recently.
A: Really, tell us about it.
V: I told you about that yesterday. Technology can save us, you know.
V: There is a platform called BaseCamp and now I set up a communication channel for our groups. People who are transcribing fingering and pedaling for us, who are transcribing podcasts, and also for Total Organist students. And right now we have like sixty-seven students on the team and the good thing is you can have instant, automatic accountability. At the end of the day I can send them a question, “What did you work on today?” Every day, unless they decide it’s too much or they quit, right? It’s their choice. But I want to help them quadruple their motivation and if they quadruple motivation they will quadruple their results of their practice too. Because every day they know that I am going to ask this question of them and they will feel responsible to practice a little bit, at least fifteen minutes a day. What do you think about it, Ausra?
A: So you will be like a mother for them, yes teaching, “No, no, no, you have to finish your meal, you have to brush your teeth before bed.”
V: Sure, yeah. I could be mother or father, I don’t care as long as it gets people results.
V: What’s your question would be at the end of the day?
A: That’s a too hard question, maybe I will not answer it.
V: Maybe at the beginning of the day you could ask what people are going to practice on today, right?
A: Yes, that’s right, I would like it more.
V: At the beginning Ausra, and at the end Vidas. A very nice team. So you see guys if we used email coaching, right? Like we did, people would send us questions with their problems and we would answer those questions via email. That is helpful, right Ausra? But people first have to send them to us. That’s a big, big hurdle. And then nobody sees them, nobody notices. But here on this platform, on BaseCamp, everyone on Total Organist team, about sixty-seven people, will get a notification that somebody has written an answer. What did he or she practice on today, right? And then perhaps they will comment on it and perhaps they will share their own answer, too. You see, it’s like a community. A little bit of a community feeling and we could grow together. What do you think, Ausra?
A: I think that’s a nice idea.
V: I wouldn’t be able to do that on my own writing those questions to sixty-seven students, sixty-seven times but now technology allows me to automatically set up this question at the end of the day and people just get it and write an answer if they wish. So Heidi is Total Organist student and I think she will get so much out of it too.
A: So now what about the first question. Heidi wishes to expand her grasp of theory in order to be able to improvise.
V: Obviously, you could start improvising without any knowledge of theory by choosing random four pitches as we sometimes like to suggest, right? But Music theory never hurts. So we have a few courses on chords, on harmony, and she could take advantage within Total Organist.
A: Yes, as you say theory never hurts. Tell that to my students at school. There will be a different opinion I think, that theory actually hurts.
V: You know Heidi says she has lack of motivation to practice but in comparison to your students at school I think she has too much motivation to practice because she sends me questions like that.
A: That’s true, that’s true.
V: Has anybody asked this question before at school?
A: Only “why do we have to do it?”
V: So that’s the big difference. And remember when you practice…
A: Miracles happen.
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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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