Vidas: And let’s start Episode 101 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. And today’s question was sent by Paul, and he writes that his challenge is mainly his age, because he is 75 years old. First of all, Ausra, isn’t that great, that people still continue to improve when they are at this age?
Ausra: Yes, that’s wonderful.
Vidas: Do you think it’s too late to get better at this age?
Ausra: I don’t think so.
Ausra: Well, because I know some people who are 75, and they are very active, and are improving every day.
Vidas: And there are opposite situations, where people are just staring at the TV screen all day long, and they get weaker and weaker every day.
Ausra: Yes, I think some teenagers are older than some seniors. Because they just spend all day long playing with their smartphones and PlayStations and so on and so forth.
Vidas: So, the fact that Paul sent us this question already shows us that he’s on the right path: basically, he has enough curiosity to improve himself.
Vidas: He is not satisfied with the current state, and he wants to get better all the time...Maybe faster than is possible, right?
Vidas: Maybe we should just basically support him, and inspire him to look at the situation from outside himself and really appreciate how far he has come.
Ausra: That’s true. Because in general, I will be very happy if I live as long as to reach 75 years old; that’s a gift from life already, and it’s so nice that he’s still able to do things.
Vidas: So, what helps? Of course, we’re not 75 years old yet, and we don’t know how people feel at this age; but general pointers could be: keep moving.
Ausra: That’s true.
Vidas: Keep being active, moving in terms of physically, and also mentally.
Vidas: So mental practice is, of course, on the organ, very well. But also physical practice, as well.
Ausra: That’s true. Do you think, Vidas, that practicing organ slows down ageing a little bit?
Vidas: While you get older and older?
Vidas: I think it should, because your body gets a little bit weaker; but there are ways to postpone that process a little bit.
Ausra: And do you think organ is a good way to help do it?
Vidas: Yeah, especially because it’s primarily a mental activity. You’re looking at the symbols of music on a sheet of paper, which don’t mean anything to other people, perhaps; but you translate those symbols into meaningful musical ideas. So this is primarily a mental activity, which of course can just expand your mental capacity over time; of course that helps.
Ausra: Yes, I personally strongly believe that organ may reduce the risk of such diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis--not to prevent them entirely, but to slow down the development of those; because while playing organ, you always have to basically use your coordination to coordinate your hands and feet, and look at the music; and it helps your brain keep moving.
Vidas: Remember in our Unda Maris studio, we have a senior person who is maybe in her--I would say, maybe early 70s? She maybe started playing the organ not long ago, but she has trouble walking, right?
Vidas: She walks with the help of canes. And she enjoys playing the organ a lot, because of all those reasons, of course. It’s a good exercise mentally, and also physically.
Ausra: Yes, that’s true. It’s better than sitting at the piano, because your feet are moving, too. That’s a great advantage, actually.
Vidas: Yes. So don’t feel like you have stopped your progress, Paul, and others who are this age--maybe older. We have a lot of students who are even older, in their 80s, and even somebody who is 90 (or older) years old! So just keep practicing, keep getting better--1% of your efforts every day; and by the end of the year, you can look back, and you will see how you will have progressed a lot. Thank you so much, guys, keep sending us your questions; we love helping you grow as organists. This was Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: 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.
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.