Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 354 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. And this question was sent sent by Marion, and Marion writes that the goal is mainly learning to play hymns, and the time for practice is the hardest thing.
V: Ausra, when you see that people are writing about finding time, what do you think they really mean?
V: Because it’s a deeper, I think, question than…
A: I think it might mean two things. One that they are very busy and it’s hard for them to squeeze organ practice into their schedule, but I think it also might mean, well, laziness, a little bit.
V: Why do you say laziness, specifically? Because, I have another theory.
A: Well, because I think it’s in the human nature that sometimes we don’t want to do something, and then we find ourselves excuses for not doing that, and usually, the best answer to it is, “I don’t have enough time.”
V: Oh, so you mean like running is easier than flying, walking is easier than running, standing is easier than walking, and then sitting is easier than standing, and lying down is easier than sitting! And, we would be lying all day long.
A: True! And what is your theory?
V: My theory is that when a person says that they can’t find time to do something is that they don’t want it badly enough. As you say, you need to sacrifice something, right? And this sacrifice is not worth the trouble—not worth the result, maybe, for them. For example, why do you keep practicing organ after those 25 plus years? You’re busy, right? You’re teaching etc., but why do you keep finding the time?
A: Well, I wish just to say that I have that need in my blood to keep practicing,
V: Your DNA
A: but it’s not always true! Sometimes I’m just having a recital coming up, and that’s what pushes me to practice.
A: Yes, deadlines, although I really hate them. I hate this forced motivation, deadline, duty… ooh!
V: Your favorite words from American college education!
A: Yes. I remember that! It was horrible! Horrible!
V: Would you be motivated to keep finding the time without those external deadlines?
A: It would be much, much harder, and I don’t know how long I would be able to keep practicing. But anyway, since Marion wrote that she needs to learn to play hymns, obviously she works at church, so she has a goal, and she needs to practice, because if she plays at church, probably she gets paid, and so…
V: She didn’t write that she works at church, and maybe we are just speculating.
A: Well, but maybe she wants to become a church organist.
V: Aha, that could be her priority, then. To become better at playing the organ, and you can’t become better unless you practice everyday.
A: Well, and I think everybody in their schedule might find time to do that. You just have to sacrifice something. Maybe you don’t have to watch TV, maybe you don’t have to surf your Internet in your smart phone…
V: Like you did when I was posting a blog post, right?
A: True! Yes!
V: Nice. I do that also, sometimes.
A: I think that’s a bad habit that everybody has—almost everybody.
V: Except when you did this on your phone, you were not looking on Facebook, you were at least doing something productive—helping people on the Steam blockchain.
V: So, I think it comes don’t to managing your priorities, not managing your time, actually. We all have 24 hours, not more and not less. How we spend our time is up to us. At least, I think so. Sometimes people think that it’s not up to them, that they don’t have the choice. Other people force them to do something. What do you have to say about that?
A: That’s true! You might find somebody who will push you real hard to play.
V: I mean no, no, no….not play, but exactly the opposite, that your day is filled with activity that other people want from you. And then you don’t have time for yourself.
A: Well, but that’s so true for so many people, because you have real responsibilities that you must do. If you have, let’s say, a family, have kids, so you probably have to take care of your kids.
V: What about….
A: If you have a job, you have to go to a job and do it!
V: What about doing this totally, with neglecting your own needs. Is this, okay?
A: Well, it’s not okay, but that’s what happens in so many cases, especially for women.
V: And, are there any hacks or shortcuts to this, to go around and maybe not do everything at 100%, top notch quality, but maybe 95%. Would this work?
A: Maybe, I don’t know. I think it would be really nice if people who are around us would think about our needs, too, and maybe they could do some things for themselves, and that would save us some free time, and we could practice more.
V: That’s a lot to think about, right?
A: Let’s say you have a dog, and you have to take a dog for a walk twice a day. So maybe if you do that twice, maybe you could do that once, and somebody in your household could do it another time. So for that time you could practice.
V: But what if….
A: It’s just one example. It could be doing dishes, doing laundry, doing whatever domestic…
V: I would prefer doing dishes and other errands, because walking the dog is healthy! Movement!
A: That’s true.
V: I think even twice a day is really good, and it depends on how active a person is. If he or she is already active, then maybe, as you say, once a day would be enough. But for a person who would work in a sitting position all day long, then it’s healthy. And if you sit down on the organ bench, during that time, it’s even more stressful for your body, right? So, it’s a constant struggle, right Ausra, finding courage and motivation to find time—to make time.
A: True! And I think that through life, always what suffers first is practice time when you have other needs.
V: Do you think, Ausra, that playing organ is a creative activity?
A: Of course it is!
V: And then, if it is a creative activity, would it make sense to do it first thing in the morning?
A: Of course, if you can do that, I think this would be the best thing, to practice in the morning. But…
V: And then you can do everything else, right?
A: Well, but since, let’s say myself, for example, I start teaching at 8 A.M., I get up at 6 A.M. I cannot imagine myself getting up at 5:00 or even earlier, just in order to practice before my school day….I think I would be dead in half a year after living like that.
V: But if you could play the organ from 8 A.M. to 10 A.M. and start teaching at 11…
A: It would be ideal, but not in this life time, probably.
V: So, we leave our listeners to figure out for themselves what’s the ideal time for them to practice, and how to find motivation, actually, to do this more often. What works for us obviously is to find some external motivation like playing in public once in a while at least, regularly. Then you’re forced to get on the organ bench, because you know that other people will depend on you. And actually, you will be ashamed to play in public without preparation. Right Ausra?
A: I hope so!
V: But not everybody, right?
A: I know!
V: There are people who schedule public performances without practicing!
A: I have heard so many sloppy performances, and it seems like people have no shame!
V: And we have friends like that, actually!
V: I hope they are listening.
A: I hope not.
V: Okay guys, this was Vidas,
V: 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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