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.
V: Let’s start episode 627 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Abe, and he writes,
I had a stroke which hit my left hand very hard. It is slow and lazy. Any suggestions?
V: Well, I’m sorry to hear about Abe’s condition. To have a stroke is always very painful, right Ausra?
A: Yes, I guess so. I haven’t had a stroke yet, but my mom had sort of a mild stroke when we were studying at the United States. But because she’s connected with medicine, because she graduated from the medical school herself, and worked in the healthcare system for all her life, she understood right away what is happening, and my father took her very fast to hospital, and basically she didn’t have any...
A: Complications, yes.
V: Side effects?
A: Side effects. And now she lives just a normal life.
V: Mm hm.
A: But the bad thing about strokes is that they tend to repeat themselves.
V: What causes strokes, do you know? How to prevent them, I mean, in the future?
A: If things would be so easy, I think nobody would have them. But in general, you just have to apply the healthy lifestyle, to lead the healthy lifestyle. To avoid stress, to eat healthy, to exercise, and of course to avoid stress, which is almost impossible, but…
V: You said that twice.
A: But I think this is the most important.
V: (laughs) I see. So playing organ, is it stressful, or not?
A: For some people might be.
A: Well, if you have important recital…
V: Oh, if you are playing in public, you mean.
V: And people depend on you playing well and they paid tickets perhaps - maybe not. But nowadays, public recitals are kind of, with real audience is kind of on hold, right, because of the pandemic?
A: Yes. But you know to answer Abe’s question seriously, I think we should know more a little bit about his condition, really. How it happened, was it connected to organ playing? And in general, I think he needs to consult his physician, because maybe he’s not allowed to play the organ because of what might happen.
V: You mean sitting in one position for extended period of time can cause some complications?
A: Yes, I think it’s not good for your blood circulation.
V: Uh huh. Well, if you’re sitting in front of TV, what’s the difference?
A: Well, I think it’s healthier to sit at the organ because you’re moving your legs and your arms while doing that. Not like watching TV.
V: And also thinking - your brain is working.
A: True. But in any way I would suggest not to take things too hard on yourself, and to take things easy actually, whatever you do. Plus, we don’t know what kind of stroke it was. If it was one time of where you have your blood…
V: Uh huh. I know what you mean. So basically, yeah, Abe should tell us more about it. Until then, he should consult the physician, and of course take physical therapy. Wouldn’t it help?
A: Yes, it might help, but of course it should be measured by…
V: Your doctor.
A: ...your doctor, yes. Because as I said before, strokes tend to repeat themselves.
V: Mm hm.
A: So doing too much might do side effects for you.
V: I would probably also have frequent breaks between organ practice sessions. Not practice more than 25 minutes at a time. Even less, probably.
A: It might be too much, 25 minutes. Maybe 10 or 15.
V: Yeah. Stop before you’re tired. Before, not after. When you’re still feeling good, you have to stop. Which is kind of counter intuitive. But that’s less risky.
A: Yes, yes. But in general, I think it’s beneficial to practice still to keep practicing, and try to work with that left hand a little bit in order to improve it. It might never be the same as it was before, but it might improve.
V: Yeah. You could take my left hand training course, right?
A: If it wouldn’t be too hard and too much.
V: With one hand only, you see? One voice. It’s an excerpt from Bach’s trio sonatas. What can happen from trio sonatas, Ausra?
A: I think a lot could happen, because of the trio sonatas, they are very hard.
V: What’s the worst that could happen? You can.. Yeah, but I transposed them in many keys. It’s not only in original keys, but throughout the circle of fifths, so sort of additional benefit is you will learn to play in those keys. You can obviously play it with your right hand and with the pedals if you want one octave lower or two octaves lower in the bass clef. But always keep listening to how your body feels. Right, Ausra?
A: Yes, I think it’s very important.
V: Probably it’s important if you’re relatively healthy, too - to always listen to your body.
A: You know, strokes come really unexpectedly and suddenly. And you might not get any warning before that. It happens to healthy people every day.
V: Drinking fluids - does it help in avoiding, preventing strokes?
A: Yes, I think this is one of the things that you have to do.
V: Mm hm. So you see, we are not certified doctors, but we have some suggestions. But obviously if you need more, or more specialized advice, consult your physician. All right, guys. 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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