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!
Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: Let’s start episode 656 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Louis, and he writes:
“Hello friends: I have read all about your Pedal Virtuoso Master Course.
I would like to answer one important question for me.
I have seen that there are many scales and arpeggios.
I think that this is very good but I need to practice how to find any pedal without looking at the pedalboard. Have you got any special technique for this? Teachers in Spain use to say the same as some of your teachers: there isn't any technique, you only have to repeat many times while looking at the pedalboard and your brain will memorize the movements.
I think that is the problem. I want to find any pedal, any interval... without looking at the pedalboard and with a technique.
Please, tell me if you explain this in your course.
Thank you very much.
I hope to find what I need in your courses.
Vidas: So, Ausra, what do you think? Can Louis learn to memorize the places on the pedalboard without looking?
Ausra: Yes, but for doing that, I don’t think he needs to look at the pedalboard; I think that might be a problem if he plays pedals always looking at the pedalboard. I think that might be a problem why he cannot play without looking at it.
Vidas: Oh, you mean the problem might be apparent in the question—the way he asks, right?
Ausra: No, I mean that while he learns pedal technique, yes, he says that he’s looking at the pedal board and repeats things many times. I never suggested to anybody to do anything like that.
Vidas: Teachers in Spain, he says, but he says some of our teachers used to say… I don’t know what he means. My teachers don’t recommend looking at the pedalboard.
Ausra: Mine too…
Vidas: Where he got this idea…
Ausra: Mine recommended like pedal preparations, but not looking at the pedalboard.
Vidas: So, obviously, if you’re just starting and you’re thinking theoretically about this, let’s say you are thinking about this Pedal Virtuoso Master Course without doing your practice, then it’s one thing. It seems theoretical, and you sort of try to solve those problems in your head without practice. But when you sit down, usually people start to feel progress after a couple of weeks, and if they stick to this course until the end, then obviously, more improvement will come, and finding the keys in the pedalboard will not be a problem. Do you agree?
Ausra: Yes, that’s what I am thinking! I think that this problem comes because of not practicing enough—not spending enough time with the pedalboard.
Ausra: But I think that watching at, the pedalboard, really will not help. It may only harm your progress and slow your progress.
Ausra: Maybe sometimes in like a few spots over the difficult piece you might want to watch at the pedals, but not like be constantly looking at them.
Vidas: And it will come with experience, I think, too. The more he practices, as you say, the easier it will become to adjust.
Ausra: Yes, because we don’t practice on one instrument. We don’t play one organ all the time. Usually we have to play on at least a few organs or even more. If you are a concert organist, then you have to adjust to a new pedalboard quite often, so not all the measurements are exactly the same at each instrument, so you need to adjust every time. But it comes with time and practice, and with more experience.
Vidas: Yes. I don’t think Louis has taken the jump and started studying from this Pedal Virtuoso Master Course yet. I think he asked the question,… and that’s not his first question, actually, he asked a few more, but hasn’t subscribed to this course yet.
Ausra: I have never heard about any kind of pedal course that would teach you the one thing which is to press the right key without looking. Have you heard about anything like this?
Vidas: We can create something, but that wouldn’t be fair!
Ausra: I know, because it’s just so fun!
Vidas: The course could be titled something like, “Memorize all the Pedals.” Why, right? Why would they need to memorize?
Ausra: And you know, actually, there is only one situation when I have to look at the pedalboard, actually, while playing organ duets, and if I have to play it with the pedal part. Why is that? Because usually if I play solo I sit in the center of the organ bench, but if I playing duets, I have to share the bench with you, so I’m sort of sitting up-right or up-left, and it’s really different.
Vidas: Exactly. You’re not centered.
Ausra: That’s right. So sometimes I get in trouble after shifting to a different position and then I have to look at the pedal board.
Vidas: The same is for me, except I don’t use the entire pedalboard; I just use half of it when playing duets. Right? The other half is for you!
Vidas: Or, if you’re not playing pedals, I’m playing just the lower part and that’s quite enough. You know? Because it’s almost impossible to reach extreme right notes when you’re sitting in the extreme left.
Ausra: Yes, that’s true.
Vidas: My feet would kick you many times. So advice for Louis, I don’t’ know. Why did he wait? Why does he wait if he wants to achieve pedal virtuosity. Without practicing, there will be no pedal virtuosity, and certainly no improvement in terms of finding pedals without looking at the pedalboard.
Ausra: Yes, because there are no magic trick, and no magic word, no magic exercise that would entirely solve all your problems.
Vidas: If he’s not sure if this course is for you or not, remember always, you have a 30 day window where you can cancel and get a full refund. Yes, for four weeks you can practice anything from our courses and try it out, and then if you don’t like it, you can ask for a refund. Very few people do, actually.
Ausra: Because people are polite, and if they already used your material, they just don’t want to be jerks, I think,
Vidas: So you think they don’t like our courses? They just are afraid to ask? That’s what you mean?
Vidas: What do you mean then?
Ausra: Okay, don’t provoke me!
Vidas: Why not? Okay. What do we have here?
Ausra: We have Yoshke, my brother’s dog, and she’s helping us to record podcasts today.
Vidas: And usually she was very quiet, but now she’s started to lick and sniff all around us. Maybe she wants to play.
Ausra: Maybe she wants to add something about “Pedal Virtuoso Master Course.”
Vidas: She likes to work on the keyboard! On the computer keyboard. I’m afraid that she will press some kind of wrong button and my audio recording will stop.
Ausra: Could be!
Vidas: Okay guys, so 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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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.