Don't try to be him or her, though. Try to be you. Try to be your own category, try to be the one that others will want to copy and follow. Find your own voice.
As M. Gandhi said: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".
But this is of course one of the hardest things for us, to discover who we are, to find our own category, to be something worth following.
Here's the thing: You won't know (and I won't know and nobody else will know) if this is your true voice. Because the minute you think you found it, you need to strain to look for something new that challenge you enough.
I don't think there ever was a time in Bach's life when he told to himself - "this is it, this is the Bach's style which I will be known for centuries. I've done it, I'm going to retire now." No, every day he sat down at his table and wrote something.
The writing/playing/improvising doesn't have to be great. It just have to be yours. You won't know if it's great, if it's remarkable, if it's worth spreading. Others will decide its worth, if you let them.
But first you have to figure out what's your purpose for playing organ, what's your mission as an organist - is it just for your own pleasure, or you want to share your skills with friends and family, or play at church, or perform organ recitals, become an improviser, a composer, a creator.
But think beyond what you want to do, think about what your act as an organist will do to others.
Although finding our true voice seems like a massive undertaking, it usually gets down to the things that are at hand - taking that first step.
The step you are most afraid of, the piece that scares you the most, the improvisation practice that you are putting off for weeks etc. If you can concentrate on just one step without thinking too much about the future (but holding it in your sight), then you can take another step tomorrow.
Sometimes you don't know what this step is. Most of the time, I say. Then you leap. Leap into the dark without knowing where you will land but trusting that in the end it will be OK.
When we look up at other organists who excite us, whom we want to follow, if we were to ask them, the best of them would still say things, "I'm still learning", "I'm not sure what I'm doing."
Because the minute we stop learning, the minute we are sure of something, we stop progressing not only as organists but also as human beings.
Just be helpful to others and whatever you do, assume a digital-first posture (meaning share your work and process online). This will help your work and insights to spread.
I think in general, whatever we do, our mission is to become artists, to change (our) world, to make it a better place for everyone around us.
There's no recipe for this. If there was one, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't be as valuable.
No map, no step-by-step instructions.
Only a compass.
Eventually you'll figure this out just by doing, if you stick to it when they ignore you, when they laugh at you, when they fight you, when you win.
But of course you would have won a long long time ago - the minute when you learn how to give.
Yes, even today. Especially today.
Do work that matters. Share. Repeat.
[HT to John]
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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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