After twenty strokes
Water is warm in the lake -
It's time to practice.
Yesterday mezzosoprano Egle Sidlauskaite and performed at the church in Seduva as part of Tytuvenai Festival.
It was fun: from Handel to Amazing Grace, from Stradella to organ improvisations. By the way, people demanded not 1 but 2 encores.
I hope you'll enjoy this audio recording.
Today's question was sent by Ugochukwu:
What have been your experiences so far as an Organist, what's the best way of practice, what should be practiced and when?
Listen to our full answer at #AskVidasAndAusra
Please send us your questions. We love helping you grow.
Vidas: We're starting Episode 21 of #AskVidasAndAusra" podcast. Today's question was sent by Ugochukwu. He wants to know what are some of our experiences so far as an organist and what's the best way of practicing? What should be practiced and when?
Ausra, so when a person asks you about your organ practice experiences, usually it's not simple curiosity, is it? It's because your experience is supposed to be helpful to other people, right?
Ausra: Yes, but it's actually a very broad question. I don't know how to answer it in a few sentences.
Vidas: Well, let's start from the beginning. A little bit smaller segment of this question is what should be practiced and when? Meaning, what kind of pieces, what kind of music, should you practice? And then the second part of this question is when?
Ausra: Well, everything depends on your situation in life, because in my life I had so many different positions as an organist and as a teacher, so it's hard for me to tell. Because when I was working in church, definitely a large amount of my organ repertoire was related to the church, to the church music. I had to practice hymns and do interludes and to prepare for hymn festivals and think about liturgy, what is appropriate to the church service. Then, of course, when I was a student for many years because I have two master's and one doctorate and, of course, bachelor degrees, I had to play a lot of repertoire overall. Now when I'm performing recitals my repertoire and my practice depends on them.
Vidas: My experience is sort of similar to yours because we always did things together and my answer to Ugochukwu might be that you have to dig deep into your own needs, your own goals. What do you want to accomplish in organ playing for yourself in long term, maybe five years from now? Dig a little bit deeper, make a segmented plan of practice, and take small steps and see that each step is taking you closer to your goal.
Ausra: Yeah, sure. I remember when working in church always liturgical year was so important because you would practice different repertoire, for example, for Lent time and different repertoire for Christmas time. So you would have to look at the text of the music and find appropriate pieces.
Vidas: Right, because those chorals for the Nativity usually have special meanings, special connection with the Nativity scene and those are especially suited for this Christmas period. Sometimes even Advent, those waiting for Jesus’ birth. In short, I think people should plan their practice appropriately to their needs, to their goals. First of all, you have to figure out what you need to accomplish in, let's say, five years from now. You have to have a vision, right?
Vidas: Never practice just for today, for tonight. Always be far-looking; that helps you in the long run. And then the second part, Ausra, is when to practice. That's easier, right?
Vidas: How would you answer this question?
Ausra: You have to practice every day.
Vidas: Every day. Can you take breaks? Maybe you could practice twice a day and then take a day off?
Ausra: Well, definitely you can take a day off if you need it, but it's easier, it's better actually, to not skip a day.
Vidas: I like to imagine practice like taking vitamins. Okay, I can skip one day of vitamins and take two vitamins the next day. Would that work?
Ausra: No, I don't think so.
Vidas: But it's not a catastrophe, right? If you took two vitamins once, that would be still okay, I think. Once. But if you do this regularly it would be bad for your stomach. So if you skip, let's say, a week of practice, and you say you usually 30 minutes a day and you skipped a week of practice for some reason and then the next week you want to make it up and you practice seven times 30, maybe three and half hours. Sometimes it's possible, but still you need to take breaks. How about comparing this to vitamins? Seven vitamins in a row; that would be very bad, right?
Vidas: So the same is with organ practice. It's better to take small steps, practice regularly, every day, and then in the long run this kind of regular practice will always pay off.
So, guys, this was Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And please send us your questions. We hope to help you grow as an organist and the best way to connect with us is through our newsletter from the blog www.organduo.lt. Go there and subscribe if you haven't done so, and then you can reply to our messages. That would be the best way.
This was Vidas again.
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.