SOPP634: Once the pandemic hit hard, I decided it was time to get an organ for my house so I could practice whenever it would be convenient for me
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 634 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Andrew, and he writes:
“I just wanted to say thank you for your "Mastering" series on YouTube.
I am a percussionist turned organist, and every time I'm struggling to learn a new piece, it really helps to watch your videos. Even though I'm not learning the same music as you, the same principles of practicing apply, and I learn so much better when I remind myself to take things in small parts in repetition.
You are doing a wonderful job of producing great content to help people like me.
Right now, I'm working on "In dulci jubilo" by JM Bach, "Nun danket" by Karg-Elert, and "I Love Thee, My Lord" by Shearing, as well as some other long term Franck pieces that will be taking me a while to finish learning.
The most challenging thing for me in playing organ is developing my kinesthetic sense between hands and feet, so I don't have to look away from the music and lose my place. I'm not a keyboard player by training, so I'm trying to take things slowly and learn from my mistakes as they happen, instead of just getting frustrated. Once the pandemic hit hard, I decided it was time to get an organ for my house so I could practice whenever it would be convenient for me. I also have a 2 year old son, so it's hard to get away from home for a long time to practice at church. I bought a nice custom package from Content Organs that I enjoy, but I also really like your creative setup and what you were able to put together from online stores.
Looking forward to seeing more videos from you soon!
Austin, Texas, USA
PS I will support you on Patreon!”
Vidas: So, Andrew is one of our recent Patreon supporters, which is very, very nice. Thank you very much for your generosity, Andrew! My CD, “Veni Creator Spiritus” is being sent to him as one of the benefits for this subscription level. So, what do you think, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, that’s a very nice letter. Actually, I never thought about people switching from percussion, as Andrew did, to the organ, but it’s really, really nice! I think percussionists have such a different experience, I think, compared to other musicians, but I think he could benefit from it very well, at least, you know, he won’t have to learn how to count music, you know, and to read the rhythms right.
Vidas: Right! Percussionists have very great… probably… diversification between hands and feet. Coordination between them is probably one of the best things they can do. Right? Because they play different rhythms in different hands and even feet!
Ausra: True! I think this might help a lot while switching the instruments.
Vidas: So, obviously it’s very nice to have him as a Patreon supporter. People like Andrew, and there are, I think, nine total Patreon supporters as of now, they really enable us to create more interesting organ videos for free for everybody to see on YouTube, and later to share with our Secrets of Organ Playing community!
Ausra: Yes, and it’s very nice that someone appreciates your videos, while I know that I spend half my day alone not without a reason, that you are doing a meaningful job!
Vidas: Yes, you’re probably referring to my long, long training video sessions. Yesterday, I think, I decided to create a video training on “Canonic Variations by Bach, on ‘Vom Himmel hoch da komm’ ich her’.” It has five variations, but in one hour or even more than an hour, I was only able to create half of the training program for this, and left the other half for another day. And you were waiting, sitting silently. Right? What were you doing at that time?
Ausra: Well, I was working on something as well, because I am busy, too! I am busy, too, as you well know.
Vidas: When you work, I just sleep! I just feel so relaxed when you play those ear training exercises, and I get on my couch and doze off.
Ausra: I hope my students won’t fall asleep while I’m playing for them.
Vidas: It’s possible if you are teaching them online. You never know what they are doing.
Ausra: Oh yes, believe me, I know now, because now we have to have their cameras turned on all the time. Otherwise I can just mark that they were absent during the lesson.
Vidas: Mhm, that’s right.
Ausra: But of course, I can see they turn their mics off, and I see that they are talking, for example, on the phone.
Vidas: Oh! You see that!?
Ausra: Yes! I see that and other things, believe me, you wouldn’t want to know!
Vidas: That’s not nice. They disrespect your work.
Ausra: Or, they turn on the camera but they slide slightly on the side that I still could not see their faces.
Vidas: They’re so clever!
Vidas: Not even clever, but I would say cunning!
Vidas: You know, sort of, they want to do their own thing while you’re teaching them!
Ausra: That’s right. Or I can see that they are watching something completely different, because I see the expression on their faces, and they’re watching, for example, something funny.
Vidas: It’s so stupid!
Ausra: I know, it is, but what can I do?
Vidas: You can… nothing, actually! You can only shame them in public in our podcasts!
Ausra: That’s true, but they probably won’t listen to them.
Vidas: Give them the link to this conversation when it’s live!
Ausra: Oh yes! Maybe I will!
Vidas: Yeah. If you won’t, I will! But I have no access to your class!
Vidas: So, Andrew has now a two manual organ setup, and it’s really nice. I think he has Hauptwerk installed, as you understand. Or not?
Ausra: Yes, probably.
Vidas: Hauptwerk really helps create beautiful sounds from home. What else? We can say, of course, he’s practicing those pieces… this was written a little bit earlier, so “Nun Danket” was suitable for Thanksgiving, but “In Dulci Jubilo,” by Johann Michael Bach is suitable for Christmas, upcoming!
Ausra: Yes, it’s a very beautiful piece for Christmas! A very beautiful chorale tune.
Vidas: I wish I could play it tomorrow. I’m playing at the church tomorrow, but it’s not that occasion.
Ausra: If you will not forget to go and to play as you did a couple Sundays ago.
Vidas: Right… good that not a couple Sundays in a row.
Ausra: I already thought they would never ask you to play in church again after that mistake!
Vidas: Yeah. Every day is the same, the schedule is the same. I’m staying at home and doing the same thing over and over, so it doesn’t make sense if it’s Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Saturday. I don’t know what day it is today.
Ausra: Well, I think after this pandemic is over, we all need to see shrinks!
Vidas: Can I be your shrink?
Ausra: I highly doubt it.
Vidas: But I’ll be nice! I’d advise you to take some vitamins, stretch, walk!
Ausra: I think the only advice you would give me is to record and to put something on YouTube every day!
Vidas: mmm….. yeah, that would be part of my treatment to you! YouTube treatment, program!
Ausra: I know you too well, and you know me too well!
Vidas: Oh guys, you see, we are so different! Ausra likes to create but not share, and I like to share everything! Oversharing sometimes.
Ausra: But people like your videos, so I think you are on the right track.
Vidas: I think they would like your videos, too, if you posted more often.
Ausra: Hmm… after spending half of my day every day teaching online, I don’t think you would want to do any extra videos.
Vidas: It’s hard to imagine, of course, because I’m not teaching half of the day online. If I were you, probably I would… of course I would not create long videos like I’m doing right now, and I would even not create organ videos, probably, but I would probably do harmonic analysis videos—something that comes very easily to me. You know, sit down, 10 minutes or 5 minutes and I’m gone, but creates value for people. You know? Less pain, but greater value.
Ausra: Well, you know, if I would receive so many nice comments as you do, maybe I would work on that more. But, since I don’t, why bother? I would rather watch Netflix.
Vidas: <laughs> Do you receive nice comments from Netflix?
Ausra: Well, at least I receive the satisfaction!
Vidas: Guys, if you’re listening to this, please, please, please go to Ausra’s YouTube channel and say nice comments to her. Or else, I will create fake YouTube accounts and start spamming your channel with nice comments.
Ausra: Please don’t do that; I will find out about it eventually and you will be in big trouble.
Vidas: How would you know?
Vidas: Oh yeah! Ausra has good intuition!
Ausra: Because right now, I guess only my students who are forced to watch my YouTube channel are watching it because they have to take that ear training course every week, to write one oral dictation and to do other exercises, and they don’t leave nice comments to me.
Ausra: Yes. But, you know, I’m thankful that they don’t leave nasty comments as well, which is, I think, some kind of progress already.
Vidas: True. True. Alright guys, this was Vidas,
Ausra: And Ausra!
Vidas: Please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: Miracles happen.
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Our Hauptwerk Setup:
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.