SOPP258: You inspired me to "go public" with my journey learning organ improvisations
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 258 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ben, and he writes:
I just wanted to send you a quick thank-you note. Not only did I learn
many a piece with your fingerings, and carefully read your newsletters and listen to your podcasts, but you inspired me to "go public" with my journey learning organ improvisations. Last week I posted my "organ/music diary" (http://my-music-diary.com) to some online organ groups. I've already gotten plenty of hits and great feedback.
But just wanted to let you know that we organists are indebted to you
for creating a great online forum for all organ lovers.
V: So, Ausra, this feedback, of course, needs to be put in our Love Letters folder, right?
A: True, yes, that’s a very nice letter.
V: We have a special folder called love letters where we put testimonials from our students, especially the positive ones, and this one definitely goes here. I’m so glad that Ben is starting to improvise and post his recordings in public!
A: Yes, I think it’s important to let people know what you’re doing. And actually, earlier, I wasn’t so open to public, and I didn’t think that advertising yourself is so important.
V: Exactly. You know what? I just checked his Website, http://my-music-diary.com and he has a full page of mp3 recordings here, and a playlist. You can listen to it online. And it’s all his improvisations and compositions, too. It’s like a musical diary there. And those pieces are sometimes short, sometimes longer, but it’s like his practice in public. So, I listened to it earlier and was very much impressed by how he can create various historical styles, or even modal improvisations—this is rather advance technique that he is using.
V: So, of course, other people also improvise at home, right Ausra?
V: Not too many probably, but still, a number of our students improvise at home. What would it take for some other people to do something similar, like not necessarily on their own Website, but just post it online like on YouTube or SoundCloud or other groups?
A: I think maybe people like Ben could help them. I mean, his example could help inspire other people to try to do it, too, for themselves. Don’t you think so?
V: Right. So, Ausra, did you take my examples when I first created this YouTube channel for myself? And then remember, we talked about the pluses and minuses of having online a YouTube channel, and then later, you also started to post your harmony videos.
A: Well, by living with you under the same roof, I don’t think I had any other options left.
V: Is that a compliment?
A: Well, you can understand it any way you wish!
V: So in general, you are a more shy person than me, right?
A: Yes, I am more introverted.
V: Introverted. I’m introverted, too, but, in some sense, not in all senses. So, what was this tipping point of you saying “Ok, I’ll do this.”?
A: You were just very persistent on pushing me.
V: In a good way or in a bad way?
A: In both ways, I would say.
V: In both ways?
A: Yes. But, anyway, if you would think about social media and about its power nowadays, I think that even introverts have to deal with it and have to take some risks to advertise themselves.
V: Was it scary for you to post?
A: Yes, it was very scary.
V: Did you survive?
A: Somehow, yes.
V: So, it was scarier in your head than in reality, right?
A: That’s true.
V: Did you receive any negative feedback from these videos?
A: Actually, I don’t think so.
V: I don’t think so either.
A: Either positive, or somebody didn’t understand what I’m doing.
V: Because at first you demonstrated how to play those sequences and harmonic progressions and modulations, and only later, when people started to ask, “What does it mean?” did you start talking.
V: Do you regret this decision?
A: To what? Talking or recording?
A: No, I don’t regret it.
V: You don’t want to delete your YouTube channel?
A: Well, it’s ok, it doesn’t bother me to watch.
V: Ok. So you see, guys, even such a shy person as Ausra can, not force herself, but let herself relax, and not think about the fear. Right? Do you know what “fear” means, Ausra? How many letters are in the word fear? F-E-A and R. Do you know how to spell those four letters? “False Evidence Appearing Real.” This is fear. An acronym, actually.
A: Well, but it wouldn’t work for the Lithuanian language, so, I’m not sure if it’s entirely true.
V: No, in Lithuanian, it’s more like five letters.
A: That’s right.
V: But, in online sources that I’ve been researching about things like that, about personality traits, about what it takes to put yourself out there and ship your art into the world, this notion of fear and false evidence appearing real, and fear of failure, and sometimes even fear of success, too, is very prevalent. Imagine, yes, people understand—fear of failure is a no-brainer. You can understand, yes? You play a video with a harmonic sequence, and you mess up, and especially if it’s a live recording, you freak out and say, “Oh, the end of the world.” Right? Or, it could be the other way around. It could be fear of success, too, Ausra. Do you know what I mean?
A: Yes, I know what you mean, but I’m not having that kind of fear—fear of success.
V: No, no! In general for people sometimes in success. I mean, what if somebody sees your video? Somebody with power, right? And decides that, wow, you’re doing miracles, right? And invites you to some conferences, and your life will be changed overnight. And, you have to own it, right? Your own success. I’m not actually talking about you now, because you own it, anyway. But just in general, there are some people who do it online, right? A blog post. And sometimes they fear that their life will change because of that activity.
A: Yes, now when you were talking these things, my mind just went through some very funny stuff. Imagining, for example, you know, somebody invites me to play my sequences and cadences, for example, into the White House. That’s so funny!
V: No, but, for example, a quite realistic scenario would be somebody from the American Guild of Organists would see your resource and say, “Ok, can we link your YouTube channel to our educational resources page?” And you say, “sure!” And then in a month or so, they come back and say, “We want more of your videos.” And then, later on say, “Oh, we have this AGO educational conference next year, would you like to come and talk about harmony for organists?” And it could happen. You know, it’s quite realistic. And then everything changes.
A: Let’s go for it.
V: So, for Ben, too, he posts his recordings online without probably any expectation of having invitations or something. But, of course, feedback and positive feedback is always nice. And he says he received that from groups online. And I imagine if he had some fear to overcome this initially. Of course, it takes some courage to do this, Ausra, right?
V: And then probably didn’t do this right from the first time mentioning when he found about what I’m doing, he didn’t say, “Oh, I want to post my recordings online, too, and I’m doing it now!” Probably not! Probably he took some time to think about it, prepare mentally physically, you know, do some research about how it’s done. So, people sometimes think about those activities, not going head straight into the water so to say.
Ok guys, we hope this was useful to you, in a sense that people survive. And usually, if you do some online work, you don’t always receive negative feedback. Sure, I sometimes receive in my YouTube channel some feedback from trolls. But it’s very rare, and even that, you can block those people, or if it’s annoying, you can even disable comments altogether. What do you think Ausra? If you had an option to add comments or disable comments, what would be your first choice?
A: I don’t know. Actually, it doesn’t matter so much.
V: It doesn’t matter.
V: It really doesn’t, because we as creators, we create. We don’t take feedback personally. Right? People who don’t create, they comment, usually.
A: And usually, if you will ask them if they could show some of their work or share their performance or improvisation or something else, they disappear after.
A: After such a comment.
V: Ok guys, I’m not pushing you at all now. If you get my meaning. With Ausra, I also didn’t want to do this against her will, of course. She wasn’t ready at first, but she kind of slowly but surely, step by step got into this. And she is now more comfortable with that. So you could be, too. Ok thanks guys, this was Vidas!
A: And Ausra!
V: Please send us more of your questions, we love helping you grow. 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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