Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 313, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. We had a discussion in our communication channel on Basecamp recently. And Jay wrote that ‘he’s feeling a bit frustrated with seemingly little progress’. And then he wrote some details:
“For one thing, I have a similar problem that Dianne posted about slow practice. I'm trying slow down things that are more difficult and go through many repetitions. Maybe I'm not going through enough repetitions.
And, I know we shouldn't compare ourselves with others–it's easy to do though. I see others posting about getting perfect on things that I can't even play.
I am enjoying practice though. I just would really like to improve faster. And like someone else who is 71 recently said, that at this age, it just takes longer to get things. Perhaps that's where part of the frustration is”.
V: Diane answered:
“I agree with everything you said. I tend to compare myself now to when I was younger, and I get frustrated that I can't play things perfectly the first time through the way I used to! It's bad enough to compare myself with others without also comparing myself with a younger version of me”.
V: Mmmh. That’s a lot to take in, Ausra, right?
A: Yes. It is.
V: Well, first of all, let me say this: I’m so delighted that people are doing those discussions, having those discussions in our Basecamp channel for Total Organist students. You see, if people just study on their own, practicing from our practice course with fingering and pedaling, or studying from our courses, video or audio, that’s one thing, and that’s wonderful, right? This gives results. But not nearly as much results, or as better results, as if, when they share their feedback with others in the same circle. Maybe they’re studying the same things. Maybe they’re going through the same problems. Like for example, Diane and Jay are talking about slow practice and repeating many times the same episode. This is really helpful, Ausra, don’t you think?
A: Yes, I think it’s very helpful to be able to communicate with each other. Because, let’s say, when I teach at school, let’s say I teach harmony, and for example we are having new theme that day, new subject to discuss. And I explain, I give examples, I play some examples, and then I give some time and I can still see that somebody can’t understand what I explained. And then somebody from the classroom tried to explain for her or his friend, what I just told them. And sometimes it works better.
V: Because they can do this in their own words.
A: True. True. Because they are going through the same problems. And sometimes when you are advanced in something, you might not see the problem from the bottom actually.
V: You don’t have beginners mind.
A: True. True. And sometimes you try to imagine that you have beginners mind but it’s not always possible.
V: Plus you can imagine beginners mind, but you don’t remember how it was for you when you were little.
A: True. True. And I think the same is with practicing organ.
V: You might remember because you have better brain, but I don’t remember.
A: You mean, better memory.
V: Memory, brain, yeah, sure.
A: Not better brain. Actually my brain is much damaged, so...
V: But I mean, yes, memory, yeah, memory. Because I don’t remember many things what I did at school.
A: Well, but that’s not a brain thing; that’s a memory thing.
V: I see. So, yes. Being in the same circle of friends who are studying right now, currently, similar things and going through the same problems is extremely helpful. So guys, if you are in our Total Organist community but are not active in Basecamp, consider at least following discussions. Maybe you don’t want to engage. I can totally feel that. I can totally relate to that because some people are introverts and better keep their problems to themselves. And others are more easy going and share everything with others. So at least be observer, and that will be helpful too.
A: Yes. I think everybody could benefit in something by reading these things.
V: If you, Ausra, were a student of some study group, would you prefer posting your feedback, or not?
A: Maybe I wouldn’t post my feedback, but I would be glad to read others feedback.
V: Because then you would be more motivated to go and practice that thing, obviously.
V: Mmm-hmm. That’s absolutely true. This is instant feedback. Sometimes people get notifications on the phone and if you write your struggles in the chatroom, then somebody will answer you right away, in a few minutes, perhaps, if the time zones are aligned. Because of course our community is global. When one is writing, another might be sleeping and vice-versa.
V: But you could do this on your computer. Not necessarily on the phone. And if you are frustrated with too many notifications, you can actually go ahead and update your settings, adjust your settings so that you won’t get notified unless you want to. Unless you go in and check yourself. That’s good too, because our community now is more than eighty students so there is always some kind of notification going on and some kind of feedback. And sometimes it’s tiring too.
A: Yes, it is.
V: Okay, guys. What else we could suggest you with trying to be okay with slow progress. I think people get frustrated with their slow practice because they want to see a shortcut. Don’t you agree, Ausra?
A: That’s right.
V: Do you like shortcuts?
A: Yes, of course I like them but usually we don’t mean anything good. We don’t give anything good. We don’t do good. Because usually after taking a shortcut you still have to back and then that way becomes even longer.
V: There is no magic pill. If you eat that pill and suddenly you can play anything in the world, on the organ. There is no such invention yet. Do you think scientist will discover that later?
A: I think in the future.
V: Mmm-hmm. You know what will happen? I think if they can manipulate the brain a little bit, or let’s say, take a virtuoso, right, a scan of their bran, and their brain activities, and put it into a server someplace in the cloud. And then, if they could connect that server to another brain of beginner organist, like a microchip or something, like, plug in and upload that information or data to beginner’s mind. Then suddenly, like in science fiction movie, the person would have fantastic skills and superhero ability.
A: That sounds scary. I hope this will never come true.
V: Superman playing pedals. Nice! 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.
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.