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 635 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Scott, and he writes,
Hi Vidas. I'm new to organ playing and came across your site. Do you have a course that goes in order from kind of the beginning? I'm an intermediate piano player who doesn't read well yet. I also don't have pedals nor multiple manuals right now. Just using a midi controller with organ presets. Can a membership on your site help me where I'm at now with organ?
V: So Scott is probably wondering about Total Organist.
A: Yes. I guess so.
V: But he is interested in learning the organ kind of from the beginning. What I don’t really get is how he can be an intermediate piano player, but at the same time doesn’t read well. So if you are intermediate, you already read well, right?
A: Maybe he meant that he doesn’t read difficult pieces well right away.
V: If you are a beginner you don’t read well, but if you are intermediate you are reading well.
A: But intermediate is not advanced.
V: Mm. I would think advanced players read very well. Not well but very well.
A: Maybe he’s just modest about…
V: Or maybe he’s more of a basic level organist, not intermediate level - pianist - let’s say pianist. What’s your instinct on this, intuition?
A: My guess that he needs right now, because he has only one keyboard and no pedal, to work on manualiter things, and do you have such a course in your Total Organist program?
V: Oh yeah. Specifically designed for people who don’t have pedals, or who start with piano skills first. I made fingering for all the Bach Two Part Inventions and Three Part Sinfonias. But also, for Cesar Franck’s L’Organiste. Basically, L’Organiste teaches legato technique with finger substitutions, and Bach works show you and teach you about articulate legato style, suitable for early music.
A: And all these great collections can be done on one manual, is that right?
V: Yes. For Franck, sometimes you do need sort of a second keyboard because of a different sounds required for the right hand as a solo melody, or the left hand. Because if they were written, let’s say for harmonium, harmonium would have a divided keyboard. Certain stop would only affect let’s say the right hand side of the keyboard but not the left hand side of the keyboard. So you can draw out one stop and play with solo out melody, but left hand would be softer, and vice versa. So if you only have one keyboard, then you would not get this diversification easily, unless you have let’s say Hauptwerk or Grand Orgue, let’s say - virtual pipe organ software, where you could have a sample set for one organ, one organ, but with divided keyboard. There are some Spanish organs like that, maybe Italian organs, maybe Positivs for three or four stops - they could be suitable for this kind of division between the hands. What do you think, Ausra?
A: Well what I think that it’s very important to spend every day practicing, no matter what kind of instrument you have at home. And maybe instead of searching for, let’s say more variety, other instruments, I think it’s more beneficial to spend that time just working and practicing and increasing your technique.
V: Hm. You are so right, Ausra. You are painfully right, I mean you’re right at the degree that I don’t have anything else to add. And I would like to add something, actually, but I don’t know what.
A: Yes, because you know, if we are talking about the same collection by Cesar Franck, L’Organiste, you can still do a lot on just having one keyboard without any other extra division and other manuals. Most of them can be done on one keyboard.
V: Yeah. I didn’t specify that some of the pieces need a sort of division between the hands, but a lot of them not.
A: So basically, all those, like Inventions by J.S. Bach and Sinfonias by J.S. Bach, and Cesar Franck L’Organiste can be easily done on one keyboard, and it’s just very important for Scott.
V: Exactly. And by the time you finish learning all Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias as well as most of the pieces by Franck in L’Organiste, probably you will have saved some money to get a MIDI pedalboard, or MIDI-fy your old pedalboard, sort of to be used together with the MIDI controller as a manual, together with pedals you could play both. It would be like a second step.
A: Yes, and at that time you can start learning new pieces with the pedals.
V: That’s a good advice. Thank you guys for watching, for listening to us. We really appreciate your questions. Doesn’t matter if you’re an advanced player or a beginner player, we really want to help you grow. And obviously there is no better way to grow than in a community. We have this Total Organist community on Basecamp, which asks and answers questions every day, reports how they’re practicing, what they’re practicing, what they’re struggling with, and they support each other. They sort of see commonalities between each of them, and it’s really really rewarding experience to be a part of that group. Even if you are an advanced organist, you would definitely benefit from being in a group of like-minded individuals who want to improve their organ playing skills, don’t you think, Ausra?
A: Yes, I think it’s nice to be a part of community where share same ideas, and have some struggles that are common for everybody.
V: From my experience, people basically quadruple their results from being a solo player, from studying on their own, and then when they join the community of Total Organist, in some months they quadruple their results. That’s unbelievable.
A: I would say maybe double at first, but of course I’m a pessimist, or a realist in life, and you are optimist, so.
V: Who wins in life, pessimists, or realists, or optimists?
A: They end up the same for everybody.
V: Which is?
A: Death, of course.
A: You shouldn’t be laughing about that - it’s serious things.
V: Yes, but since we all have the same results, so why bother? Can’t escape.
A: Well, don’t talk nonsense, okay?
V: All right. Ausra is getting too serious for this conversation, so we better go and play some organ duets now, right?
A: Yes, because we have recording upcoming next week.
V: Remind us, what will you be playing?
A: I’ll play Offertory by Alexander Guilmant, based on two noels. And of course I’ll play a bunch of duets together with you.
V: Christmas Oratorio excerpts, as well as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, and I will improvise something on the Christmas tunes. Wonderful! This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
V: This podcast is supported by Total Organist - the most comprehensive organ training program online.
A: It has hundreds of courses, coaching and practice materials for every area of organ playing, thousands of instructional videos and PDF's. You will NOT find more value anywhere else online...
V: Total Organist helps you to master any piece, perfect your technique, develop your sight-reading skills, and improvise or compose your own music and much much more…
A: Sign up and begin your training today at organduo.lt and click on Total Organist. And of course, you will get the 1st month free too. You can cancel anytime.
V: If you like our organ music, you can also support us on Patreon and get free CD’s.
A: Find out more at patreon.com/secretsoforganplaying
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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.