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 685 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Odubiyi, and he writes:
“My dreams for the Organ is to be a master on the Organ. Things holding me back: light, faulty pedal notes, spending too much time without getting much progress. Art of performance”
Vidas: That’s a tricky question. Right Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, it is.
Vidas: Let’s decipher it a little bit. Unpack it, so to say. The dream. Master on the organ. Right? Odubiyi needs to master the organ, which kind of sounds like a general dream.
Ausra: Yes, very general.
Vidas: Not very specific. We need more information. What kind of music does he like to play? What kind of organs does he have to play? Right?
Ausra: What is his background as a musician? What kind of experience does he have? But from his note, it seems that he doesn’t have much experience and probably doesn’t practice a lot.
Vidas: Or doesn’t know what and how to practice.
Ausra: Could be, too.
Vidas: So there are some variables. Right? If Odubiyi, let’s say, wants to practice music on the, let’s say, general organ, general style organs, eclectic style organs, that might be with pistons, electro-pneumatic action. Right? It’s one thing. Unless people want to practice on the Baroque organs. Right?
Ausra: Yes. From what I understand, he doesn’t get much progress, and he cannot get the right pedal notes. That’s what I see from his question.
Vidas: That’s good! That’s good! You deciphered well, I think…
Ausra: Well, and that I draw a conclusion that he doesn’t practice enough, or maybe he practices in the wrong way.
Vidas: Okay, so Odubiyi probably needs to spend quality time with pedal playing. Correct, Ausra?
Vidas: And how would you improve your pedal playing if you were him?
Ausra: I don’t know... if I would be him…
Vidas: Would you play exercises, or would you play hymns, or would you play organ music?
Ausra: Probably I would do a combination of all of these three. If I would have an hour, let’s say, I would maybe do 10 minutes of exercises and then 15 minutes of hymn playing, and the rest of the time would practice the repertoire.
Vidas: Would you add some improvisation to that?
Ausra: Well yes, of course, especially if he is a church musician. Of course, he didn’t mention that, but I assumed that he probably is.
Vidas: What does it mean in his sentence, “light faulty pedal notes.”? “Light.” What does “light” mean? How do you understand it?
Ausra: That’s a very interesting description.
Vidas: Faulty pedal note…
Ausra: Faulty… no, that’s the wrong notes, probably. Yes.
Ausra: ...but light…
Vidas: Light… maybe short? Pedal notes too staccato…
Ausra: Well, could be.
Vidas: Could be. Or in general, passages that are written for pedals that he plays are not difficult to play—they’re light. Easy. Right? Could be that way, too.
Ausra: But if they are easy, then why make mistakes in playing them?
Vidas: Maybe they are not easy to him!
Ausra: Well, could be.
Vidas: So, you suggest he would do some combination of practice of hymns, exercises, repertoire, and improvisation. Correct?
Ausra: Yes. Do you think there is a magic way how to improve your organ performance without significant practice?
Vidas: No. No, no. Probably not. You have to be very decisive about what and when and how to practice, and for how long, and stick to it. Right? I think a good measure of progress is picking the same piece that you haven’t been able to play three months before and checking. So Odubiyi could make a test like this; take a very difficult organ piece with pedals and try to play it now, and start practicing the right way, and in three months, he could check that same pedal passage again, and see if it’s easier.
Ausra: Yes, that’s a good suggestion. Well everything in organ actually takes time. You know? And in all the other areas of your life, if you want to improve and you want to be really good at something, you need to spend quality time and to put some effort into it.
Vidas: Yes! Let’s say I was Odubiyi and wanted to play hymns. Right? So I would do combinations of practice the way people like to play organ pieces as well. Treat hymns like organ pieces, and would start practicing separate lines—Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. Then two part combinations—Soprano/Alto, Soprano/Tenor, Soprano/Bass, all those combinations, and then three part combinations, and then 4 part texture. After I can do each step three times in a row without mistakes in a slow tempo, then I can go on to the next step. That’s very specific, and Ausra is smiling. Why are you smiling?
Ausra: While you were mentioning all these steps, I could have already learned a new hymn!
Vidas: Well, yes and no! But if you don’t have any skills, you have to start somewhere, you know? And the best way to start is to be very, very precise. And my way of teaching, and I believe yours, too, is not playing any way you want, but very specific at the beginning. Maybe for a few months, even for a few years until you are satisfied with your progress. Right Ausra? The same is if Odubiyi wants to practice organ music. Pick one, two, or three pieces, but not too difficult pedal lines, and again play separate lines. If this music is polyphonic, then play four-part texture or three-part texture separately. One, two, three. Right? But if it’s homophonic—if it’s a melody and accompaniment, you can do hands separately, pedal line separately, both hands together, right hand and pedals, left hand and pedals and then all parts together. But again, be very very slow with your practice and aim for three correct repetitions in a row.
Ausra: Yes, that’s a very good suggestion.
Vidas: Same thing if you do exercises. Pick one exercise and do it three times in a row without mistakes before going to the next one. Right?
Vidas: Same thing with improvisation. Pick one texture that you want to master, then don’t go on to the next one until you can do it three times in a row without mistakes!
Ausra: Yes, and it takes patience, you know, and commitment.
Vidas: And record yourself. That’s very good. Not only audio, but video, so that you would see your body movements or positions if your body is moving too much, for example. If your hands are moving incorrectly, if your feet are banging the pedal board. Right? Your movements have to be very economical. Right?
Ausra: Yes, that will help you in the future to master harder pieces.
Vidas: Can we recommend some course to Odubiyi?
Ausra: Well, Pedal course probably.
Vidas: We have two. “10-Day Pedal Playing Challenge,” and then “Pedal Virtuoso Master Course.” This is a little longer course. So, for starters could be “10-Day Challenge…”
Ausra: Yes, I think so, too!
Vidas: ...and then if they like it, they can go on to the next one.
Vidas: “Pedal Virtuoso Master Course.” Alright guys! We hope this was useful to you, and please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. This was Vidas,
Ausra: And Ausra!
Vidas: And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: 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 Buy Me a Coffee platform:
A: Find out more at https://buymeacoffee.com/organduo
DON'T MISS A THING! FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.
Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Our Hauptwerk Setup: