SOPP626: I am very interested in developing my sight reading abilities to a high level, where I could just grab any composition and play it at tempo
Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
Vidas: Let’s start episode 626 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Mario, and he writes:
“Hello Vidas, my name is Mario I am a 25 year old musician from Panamá.
My dream is to become Panamá's first organist, we have two pipe organs in the country and lucky for me I have access to both.
One is Spanish pipe organ with 2 manuals and 30 note straight pedalboard and 51 keys on each manual.
Second is a Renaissance pipe organ built in 2019 by a Polish organ company, it has 3 manuals with 51 keys also and a 27 note pedalboard.
I am very interested in developing my sight reading abilities to a high level, where I could Just grab any composition and play it at tempo, and I mean piano or organ composition. I am wondering if your sight reading course would be good for me.
I am comfortable sight reading hymns, but I don't have knowledge on pipe organ repertoire, only Bach.
I practice on a digital Piano a Yamaha p155. I bought an AGO pedalboard and it should arrive in 2 weeks.
Let me know if you can help me become a master at sight reading.”
Vidas: So Ausra, where do we start?
Ausra: Well, what I can say: Mario seems to me a very ambitious young man with a future vision!
Vidas: Yes. Now he has access only to two organs in Panamá. Both… the only two organs in Panamá. And he has a goal in the future to have a pedalboard at home so he could easily practice every day. Right?
Ausra: Sure, of course!
Vidas: The first thing that came to mind is how did a Polish organ company build an organ in Panamá?
Ausra: I also thought it sort of bizarre, and the choice of building a Renaissance pipe organ, which is also very bizarre. Are they sort of doing something with early music in Panamá?
Vidas: Yeah, strange coincidence. Maybe Mario could follow up and tell us the story of how this organ came to Panamá.
Ausra: Because I don’t think that Poland itself is very famous for Renaissance instruments. I think it’s more famous for Baroque and later instruments.
Vidas: Right. Well, there are a number of historical organs, probably old ones from the Renaissance times in Poland, but it seems strange to build in organ in the country which only in the previous days has only one previous organ. Right? And you are building a second organ which will be a Renaissance type organ.
Ausra: Yes, because this sort of very much reduces the chances of your repertoire, because if it’s a renaissance organ, then you will be able to play only Renaissance music on it, and it’s not such a large variety of repertoire.
Vidas: I hope we are missing something. Maybe there is something behind the scenes that we don’t know.
Ausra: Yes, could be.
Vidas: So, concerning probably the sight-reading goal that Mario has, he has probably a basic understanding of playing hymns. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, that’s what I understood, because he says that he sight-reads hymns. Of course he didn’t tell us if he just plays them on the piano, which is one thing, and if he plays them with the pedal, which is a big difference.
Vidas: Yes, it is. But obviously, if he took my sight-reading Master Course on the organ, then obviously, he will start with one single voice, like any other student, and progress through other voices, then within a number of weeks, he will start playing two voice combinations, later add three voices, and finally sight-read all four voices together. Does this plan sound like something Mario could do?
Ausra: Yes, obviously he could do it. Of course, I don’t know if he would be sort of fluent in sight-reading any music at any tempo after that, but I don’t think very many people could do that in general.
Vidas: This course is not a substitute for regular organ repertoire. You have to mix both things together. You have to simultaneously play repertoire and at the same time this course, let’s say. And then you will progress through sight-reading that repertoire which you are playing much faster. Does that make sense?
Ausra: Yes, it makes sense, of course.
Vidas: So that’s my main suggestion. Obviously, you need a pedalboard, and it’s best to have it at home, so maybe in two weeks, or maybe by the time that Mario hears this podcast episode, maybe he will already have acquired a pedalboard at his home. Possible!
Ausra: Yes, that’s possible, of course.
Vidas: I would think that a digital piano like Yamaha would have a MIDI outlet, right?
Ausra: I’m not good with technologies, but yes, I think it should have one.
Vidas: This particular model I’m not sure, but in general digital pianos should have MIDI-in and MIDI-out, so if it does then he could connect Hauptwerk.
Ausra: Yes, that’s a possibility.
Vidas: Hauptwerk is a virtual pipe organ software where you download samples, install sample sets, from real sounding organs, and you can choose many many sample sets on your machine and switch them according to the needs of your repertoire. If you’re playing Baroque music, you can choose a Baroque organ, if you’re playing Romantic music, you could choose a Romantic organ. French, German, Dutch, whatever you want, you know!
Ausra: But since Mario has only one keyboard and one pedalboard, I don’t think he could benefit a lot from adding Hauptwerk, because if you want to use Hauptwerk, you have to have at least a couple of keyboards. Don’t you think so? Unless you practice only Baroque music.
Vidas: Yeah, for this particular course, Sight-reading Master Course, this could be done. This could be done with pedals and one keyboard. Remember, we listen to the entire “Art of Fugue” on harpsichord without…
Ausra: Of course, but I’m not talking about “Art of Fugue!” I’m talking about what you just told about—the possibilities of Hauptwerk having all of these different French, German, Dutch instruments. I’m saying that it doesn’t make sense to have all these sample sets if you don’t have more keyboards. Don’t you agree?
Vidas: Alright! So, it seems that… but my proposition to try out Hauptwerk is because if you are playing on a digital piano, you will have piano sounds, and piano sounds are not the same as organ sounds. Maybe it’s just a basic one-keyboard organ sound that he needs, but still, to have a virtual, at least one sample set installed would be nice!
Ausra: Yes, especially since he will have a pedalboard as well.
Vidas: Right. So guys, we hope this was useful to you. Please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: 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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