SOPP574: In Total Organist I am learning a lot, from reading of the experiences of organists around the world
Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 574 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ruth. And she wrote an answer in return of my question in Total Organist community: How do you like Total Organist so far? And she wrote,
In Total Organist I am learning a lot, from reading of the experiences of organists around the world. I appreciate the opportunity to ask questions of them and also to listen to recordings of some of them.
V: Hm. Do you think, Ausra, that Ruth is referring to recordings of our Secrets of Organ Playing Contest, or what is she talking about?
A: I’m a little bit misunderstood her question. Because I don’t know, what do you think about it?
V: Sometimes organists who participate in our contests, like Jeremy Owens or James Flores, they publish links to their posts so that people could read their posts and listen to their contest entries. Maybe that is what Ruth is referring to.
A: Could be. Of course, I think in general that it’s probably the most beneficial for any person, well, to practice more, and to spend more time at the keyboard, rather than reading or listening about what other people are doing. Don’t you think so?
V: Yes, but you can augment that. Because when you are alone practicing, it’s just one thing, yes, you are practicing for your own enjoyment. But when you know that other people are doing it at the same time, and reporting their experiences, this is very powerful motivator, I think.
A: Yes, but I think nowadays there is a danger of, sort of develop an addiction to social networks.
V: What I mean - obviously you’re right - but what I mean is, for example this morning, James Flores recorded chorale prelude from Orgelbuchlein by Bach, Christ lag in Todesbanden. And I listened to his recording, and I got inspired to create my own chorale prelude based on this tune. If he hadn’t published this, if I hadn’t come across to this recording, then I might have missed the chance of creating. I’m not saying I will create it, or I have created in the past, but I am already thinking about it, and James has been the catalyst of this.
A: But do you think everybody who will listen to that recording will feel the same way and will start to compose something or create something?
V: You mean to James’ recording or my recording?
A: To James’ recording, let’s say.
V: No, no.
A: Because you haven’t created on that tune yet.
V: Yes, I mean, for everyone it’s different. They take what is inspiring for them, what their goals are. Not everyone is a creator yet, right? Some people are performers. And if they listen to Orgelbuchlein prelude like this, they might get inspired to perform it, to practice. The same piece, you know.
A: Well, I wouldn’t agree with you that performers aren’t creators. I think we are creators. Because what we are creating, we are creating our own interpretations of the given piece. Because you can take the same piece and let’s say, 101 organists would record it, and everybody would play a little bit different.
V: Of course you are a creator, I didn’t mean that.
A: No, I didn’t took it personally, so, I didn’t take it personally. But you know what I mean.
V: And you know what I mean.
V: We know what we mean in our minds, so we basically don’t say it out loud, but people who are listening to this might understand something from this conversation that I mean, if you are creating your own music, that’s a different thing than you are interpreting somebody else’s, you know.
A: Yes. You know, what I’m trying to tell, that there are sort of group of people who really want to participate in this organ life.
V: Mm hm.
A: And who attend every single recital in the area.
V: Uh huh.
A: But, you know, and they pretend that they know about organ a lot.
V: Discuss things.
A: Discuss things. But you know, if you ask them to sit down at a keyboard, they can barely play a scale for you.
V: Mm hm.
A: That’s what I’m talking about. Instead of, not wasting your time, but spending too much of your time listen to other organists, or other recitalists, you need to do something for yourself and sit on the organ bench and practice.
V: This is why I always advise to do creative activity first thing in the morning, whatever it means for you. This morning for me, it meant that I had to create a performance of my Opus 1, Veni Creator Spiritus, on the keyboard that I have upstairs in my room. So, instead of surfing social media let’s say, listening to a lot of other people’s music - although, I listened to James’ performance first, I have to admit. But it was just for 2 minutes (laugh). You know what 2 minutes means for me.
A: Yes, it’s at least 20 minutes, but it’s okay.
V: Yeah, but I got up at 5 a.m., so….
A: Well so in this case, I am just feel so hopeless. Because most of my mornings, the first thing in the morning, what I do is to prepare a breakfast for you and myself.
V: That’s a…
A: And then I just go to school.
V: But that’s later, that’s at 6:00 sometimes, right?
A: Yes, that’s right.
V: On a, or weekends, like at 8:00. So I am not saying that you should get up at 6 or at 5 like I do, because some people need more sleep. And maybe I need more sleep - we’ll see soon enough, you know?
A: Yes, Vidas will end up in a mental institution because of overworking.
V: Mm hm.
A: And creating too much.
V: Well, but it’s really exciting to see people create around you and being able to share your own pieces with them, and getting positive feedback, it’s intoxicating actually.
A: But is intoxicating a good word or not? Because as you said it, it seems very negative.
V: No, I meant addictive, addictive.
A: Yes, thanks for clarifying that. In general, you know, I think that everything in life has its own measures, and everybody has to find their own way. And just telling that you really need to practice, and after that, you need to listen to other people playing and talking and creating.
V: But before that, you need to have a goal while you practice, right? Before that, if you sit down on the organ bench and you don’t know why you sit down, it’s very hard to be productive.
A: But still, I’m talking about people who have either church position, or are concert organists, or, who, have their organ as part of their professional life.
V: That’s a good goal, yeah. Thank you guys. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: We hope this was useful to you. 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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