When you practice organ playing, solving small and major problems happens all the time - at times your hand and feet position is not right, at others - mistakes in rhythms or notes might occur, or even the fingering, pedaling, or articulation is not precise. Also your playing might lack a sense of mental focus and direction. All this prevents you from making a real progress in the piece you are playing in the short run, and a general technical and artistic development in the long run.
Let's say you want to solve those problems but here's the tricky part - how do you identify those problems? How do you know which one to solve first? What if you don't know where to begin?
Here's what I do (and it might be different for you). In every fragment of the piece I play I ask these 12 questions:
1. Are the notes correct?
2. Are the rhythms precise?
3. Am I using the most efficient (and historically informed) fingering?
4. Does my pedaling help to reveal the perfect articulation?
5. Does the articulation in the manual and pedal parts is precise?
6. Am I performing the ornaments in the way that the composer intended?
7. Does my registration help to reveal both the instrument's best capabilities and the compositional structure of the piece?
8. Am I sitting on the bench correctly?
9. Am I depressing the keys and pedals correctly?
10. Do I use pedal and finger preparation whenever possible?
11. Am I shifting position on the pedalboard in the most efficient manner?
12. Am I focusing my mind all the way through the current episode?
Try this approach and see if it helps you in identifying tricky problems in your organ playing.
[HT to Simona Stirling]
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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.