William writes that his dream is to able to play the organ well enough to serve as a parish organist when needed. The three big obstacles are arranging his time to allow more consistent practices, focus while practicing, and coordination.
When you have such a dream as William has, it inevitably involves learning a fair amount of pieces to gradually build your repertoire. Apart from being a crucial side of learning experience, this can also be a temptation which might lead to failure to reach your goal. Let me explain.
Every day, when we practice, we encounter new pieces, new delightful compositions that would be worth practicing. While for some people these pieces might go into the list called something like "to learn in the future", for others it's a shiny object. It's a distraction from your current project. So what happens is that a person jumps from piece to piece without ever learning anything in a deep way.
And I'm not talking about real sight-reading practice which I'm a big believer in. Ideally, sight-reading should be done in addition to your regular practice. To prevent these temptations from harming your long-term goals, here's what helps me:
Give yourself a deadline with some stakes involved. A date in the not-too-distant future which will hold you accountable. This might mean a recital, a concert, or a church service or anything like that which would involve you playing for other people. If you don't want to play in church, simply promise you will play something special for your spouse or a friend at home after dinner. Set this date together with them.
When you give yourself a due date, everything that isn't a part of your current goal suddenly fades away as non-essential. This is because you know - the consequences of not meeting your deadline would cost you more than the pleasure of jumping from one wonderful piece to another.
A deadline is a single most important thing which helps focus your practice, find time for it, and stay on course.
If you "innocently" postpone this deadline - your goal will also move away from you.
Duo V Ave maris stella (in Versets of 2, 3 and 4 voices, Fabordones, Intermedios, p. 5) by Antonio de Cabezón (1510-1566), a blind Spanish Renaissance composer and organist.
Holy Ghost, with Light Divine
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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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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.