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 689 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Martin, and his response is to the question, “What are his goals in organ playing in the next 3-6 months?” So he writes:
“Improving my pedaling technique, independence of hands and feet”
Vidas: That might be probably goals and also challenges. Right?
Ausra: Yes, and I think it’s so true about most of the beginners or even intermediate organists.
Vidas: We could recommend something from our courses/programs. Right?
Vidas: Definitely “Total Organist” has a lot of material to offer. Not only scores with fingering and pedaling but also programs like “10-day Pedal Playing Challenge”, or if you want a larger course, “Pedal Virtuoso Master Course.” For independence of hand and feet, what would you suggest, Ausra?
Ausra: Practicing combinations. That’s the most helpful thing.
Vidas: And what would you suggest to practice? Not how, but what?
Ausra: Well, you can improve your independence of hand and feet in any repertoire that you are working on right now.
Vidas: So basically, Martin has to look and be more specific; he didn’t write anything that he’s practicing right now. That’s too bad. We cannot suggest anything.
Ausra: But if he has trouble with independence of his hands and feet, then I’m meaning to coordinate between hands and feet, it means that while working on a new piece, that he cannot play all the voices at the same time. He needs to start working in combinations. Right hand and pedals, left hand and pedals, hands alone, pedals alone, then maybe try to put everything together. Usually for people who are right-handed, the left and and feet give the most trouble, because you want to play with your feet the same things that your left hand is playing, and if you are left-handed then you have the opposite problem; putting the right hand and feet together. And this problem usually disappears with time of your playing. You will improve with each new piece that you are learning. And let’s say after playing organ for a few years, you won’t have that problem anymore, or it won’t be so obvious.
Vidas: But there is a catch; you have to play with correct technique. By that, I mean if you play hymns and if you double the base with the pedals and your left hand, then you would not improve. Correct?
Ausra: Yes, and that’s very often the case with church musicians.
Vidas: Leave out the bass and not play with the hand.
Ausra: Yes what this is meaning, is in the left hand you need to play only the tenor voice in hymn accompaniment, and the base line to play it only with the pedal, and the right hand plays alto and soprano.
Ausra: And that’s a challenge for many musicians.
Vidas: Especially pianists, because pianists can almost sight-read those hymns with both hands, so they just double the pedals a little bit, which is wrong. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, at least in our opinion, yes, it is.
Vidas: It will not help to improve the independence of hands and feet. But I would probably suggest to Martin to add repertoire like meditations, slow pieces, adagios, with manuals and pedals, and then he can practice like Ausra says, in combinations. Not very polyphonically advanced music. That’s what I mean.
Ausra: Yes! Yeah.
Vidas: Why? Because…
Ausra: Because polyphonic music is very advanced.
Vidas: Yeah, and for beginners, it’s better to start with homophonic music—music which has melody and accompaniment.
Ausra: But of course, if you are willing to pursue your organist career, you will have to play polyphonic music later on, because look how many fugues there are that are written for the organ.
Vidas: So, do you think Martin has something to start with from our conversation right now?
Ausra: I hope so!
Vidas: Or do we have to suggest something else?
Ausra: I hope so…
Vidas: Yeah, I wish he was more thorough in his response, not just 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… 7 words, basically, or 9 words.
Ausra: So I think his first 7 words we talked quite a lot.
Vidas: Yes. That’s probably the best we can do from this. Be more specific, Martin, if you want more specific advice. Give us something to work with here, because we can speculate with what kind of organ you have or not, we can be way off. We can speculate what kind of music you like or don’t like, so we don’t know. We don’t even know what’s your skill level, even if you’re a really beginner or a little basic level organist. We don’t know your experience with the instrument at all. So we did the best we could do. Right Ausra?
Vidas: That’s nice. Thank you guys, please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: 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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