As long as skylark
Sings every day, he will stay
A world-class singer.
Today's question was sent by Robert. He wants to know how to become a world-class organist.
Listen to our full answer at #AskVidasAndAusra
Vidas: Let's start Episode 30 of #AskVidasAndAusra Podcast. Today's question was sent by Robert. He would like to become a world-class organist. Can we help him, Ausra?
Ausra: Well, I think we can, but he needs to help himself, as well.
Vidas: Right. What's the first step in order to get on track of becoming a world-class organist?
Ausra: Definitely, you have to play very well.
Vidas: Let's clarify. What does he mean, world-class? What is world-class?
Ausra: Probably touring the world with organ recitals, I assume.
Vidas: Circling the globe twice per year, like Guy Bovet.
Ausra: Or Olivier Latry.
Vidas: Or Cameron Carpenter.
Ausra: Sure. Definitely, I think you have to have international reputation, and in order to build it, you probably have to get a degree.
Vidas: Win some competitions.
Ausra: Yes, and definitely, play very, very well. I remember, Robert asked earlier that he cannot find time to practice, and how is it possible to find time to practice. Definitely, if you want to become a world-class organist, you must practice every day.
Vidas: It's given, right?
Vidas: It's not even a question, practice today or not practice today.
Vidas: Even if you don't have time today to practice, you practice, if you have this goal, to become a world-class organist. But this is very audacious goal, sort of "I want to go to the moon," right?
Vidas: It reminds of this. Or "I want to fly across the sun." That's great. I want to do this, too. But, you see, every great journey starts with one step, the first step.
Vidas: What would be that first step be, Ausra, today, for him?
Ausra: I don't know what level he is already, so it would be hard to tell. But, actually, for me, it's more important what I think about myself as an organist and not what the world thinks about me. Because if I feel confident about myself, I feel good about it and I don't need the world to acknowledge me.
Vidas: Exactly. Sometimes people have this goal to be world famous and tour the world and play in multiple different famous recital halls and cathedrals. I don't know why it's such a goal they have to have. Maybe they would be happy to just play well and to have exposure to play different organs, at first, right?
Vidas: Not necessarily like to play at Notre Dame in Paris, or Saint Paul's Cathedral in London, or tour the world. Because, for starters, it has to have a meaning for you, this type of goal, and not necessarily you have to be famous. It sounds like Robert wants to be famous, right?
Vidas: World-class organist, to be on the cover of every organ magazine. That's a great goal. I'm not criticizing this, but maybe for starters, maybe it's not for him right now.
Ausra: Well, I don't know how good he is as a performer, but it's really hard to tell. Anyway, I think when I think about life, these famous organists, I think this is such a hard way, actually, to live.
Vidas: It is.
Ausra: To give performances all over the place. It's so time- and energy-consuming.
Ausra: It's really very hard way to live.
Vidas: For example, if you want to live like a world-class organist touring the world, every week you would have to play at least one recital or even two.
Vidas: Could you imagine yourself doing two recitals per week, every year?
Ausra: Yes, and think about your personal life. If you have a family, for example, what do they say about it?
Vidas: Yes. Traveling the globe, could they travel with you? Maybe sometimes, of course, but definitely not always.
Vidas: Right. In order to know that this goal is exactly for you or not, for other people, you have to feel the taste of this life. So maybe, first of all, you have to be really good, in order to be invited to play someplace. But it's not too difficult to get a recital today. You have so many friends on social media who are organists, and you can develop great relationships with them and help them first and then send them samples of your performances. If they like them, you might ask them to invite you to their place to play. Or you could do an exchange, you invite them to your church and they will invite you to their place.
Ausra: Sure. That's probably one of the easiest.
Vidas: The easiest, yeah. It's a win-win situation. In order to feel a taste of this life, if it's really for you, just schedule five or 10 recitals this way, and see if you're not really tired of this, if it's really for you. Because, yes, you could get a lot of recitals playing different churches and many countries, but remember, they're not always lucrative, they're not always paid recitals.
Ausra: Sure. That's often the problem nowadays.
Vidas: In some countries, in some countries, I'm mostly never paid. You just play for the exposure on interesting organs. If you are okay with this, you have to ask yourself if you can afford it. So you have to have another stream of income to do this, to play for fun.
Ausra: I don't think that even one organist in the world lives only from making recitals. So you have to have either position in charge, or you have to teach, or do other kinds of work.
Vidas: Or you have to sell merchandise in addition to your own performances. You're selling yourself when you perform. You sell CDs and DVDs of your performances. You sell t-shirts. You sell different types of things in order to support yourself. Because otherwise the fees for organ recitals are not always great, to be worth the trouble of traveling and staying overnight, and doing all of this.
Vidas: Okay. So Robert, first of all, think about if you really, really need this, if it's for you, this type of goal. You will maybe benefit from just trying to have a few recitals scheduled this way, and then you will find out if it's for you. But, first, remember you have to be really, really good. You have to be flawless in order for people to invite you.
It all starts with today. If you can practice today and become better today than yesterday, then probably you're on the right track. Can we help people like Robert even further with our Total Organist program?
Ausra: Yes, I hope so.
Vidas: We have a lot of trainings, which help them to achieve their dreams in any area of organ playing, and with technique, with pedal technique, improvisation. Now we have a one month free trial of this membership program.
Vidas: So people who join this, say that it's so comprehensive, and they find what they need, and we're glad to be able to help them grow as an organist every day. Please send us your questions, and of course check out Total Organist at www.organduo.lt/total-organist.
This was Vidas ...
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: 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.
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