Vidas: We’re starting Episode 46 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. Today’s question was sent by Pat and he writes that he needs to follow our plan each day. And this is a difficult thing for him - sticking to the plan, sticking to the predesigned practice procedures that probably he thinks are helpful that we recommend.
So Ausra do you think that a lot of people struggle with this? They know some things that are useful for them but they just can’t really follow through with this plan.
Ausra: I think it’s in human nature. We are not robots. We seek pleasure first and want to take responsibilities only after that.
Vidas: Right. We simply make up a plan. Maybe it’s a good plan or somebody else devises this plan and recommends it to you and maybe you follow this plan for 3 days. And then what happens?
Ausra: And then you just lose patience and that’s it.
Vidas: Why do you think this happens after 3 days?
Ausra: Well, I don’t know. What do you think about it?
Vidas: It’s a tricky question, really. For everyone it’s different. As you say, we seek pleasure and after 3 days it’s not pleasure anymore. It’s work.
Vidas: It’s a tricky situation that Pat and everyone else is facing but there is no other way probably - just developing this habit of constant practice. You have to stick to your simple practice procedures for a number of days, for a number of weeks. Talking about yourself, Ausra, what does it take for you to develop a habit? How many days of constant practice do you need?
Ausra: Well, actually, I think what keeps me moving is a final deadline, a due date.
Vidas: Do you love this word?
Ausra: No, I hate it. I simply hate it. And during my studies, especially at Eastern Michigan University I just started to hate these words, “Due Date”. It sounded like a death sentence to me, all these due dates, papers, recitals and other stuff.
Vidas: But due dates are actually the things that gets you moving, helps you accomplish something. Without the due date it’s like a constant holiday.
Ausra: Oh, yes. And our studies there were so intense. I remember once I had a half an hour free time and I didn’t know what to do with it because simply my entire day was always planned.
Vidas: That’s true about summers, right? Sometimes when we have vacations, we have a different type of schedule. We don’t have to go to school and work. Every day starting from 8 AM. And we make up a schedule as we go and sometimes the schedule at the summertime is not the best time.
Ausra: Definitely. But you have to have leisure time. Just doing nothing.
Vidas: “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing”. Do you know who said that?
Ausra: No, but I’ve heard this sentence. It’s very famous.
Vidas: I just looked it up. It appears to be by Winnie the Pooh.
Ausra: Oh, he was a very smart bear.
Vidas: Yeah, just sitting and relaxing. Maybe looking at nature, enjoying an evening, listening to birds sing. Connecting to a person you love. This is very valuable because then your right side of the brain actually develops ideas and sets you on the path of actually taking action later. You basically feel refreshed after that.
Ausra: It’s like recharging a battery, I think. And going back to the question I think it would be very good to Pat and all of us to set up a goal what would you like to achieve. Maybe not a final goal but something like what do you want to achieve in a month or in two months?
Vidas: In the foreseeable future?
Ausra: Sure. It could help you stick to your plan.
Vidas: Exactly, if you say, “I want to become the best organist in my country?”, for example, or in the world. Sometimes people send us messages like this. It’s silly.
Ausra: Or in your house, if you have two.
Vidas: Yeah, you just kill one and you’re the best. That’s easy.
Ausra: Oh, thank you. Now I will be afraid of you.
Vidas: Exactly. Or I will be afraid of you. It’s a silly goal. So audacious and so without limits. Like you want to conquer the world and be the best in the world. Basically you have to want something achievable. Maybe have a goal for 6 months or 1 year or maybe 5 years from now - what would you like to do?
Ausra: Well, if you have a final goal, or some important goal, then you will know that playing everyday and sticking to your plan will help you to achieve your final goal.
Vidas: And that would be the motivation for you to practice every day. So why do you think people fail at motivating themselves to stick to the plan? It’s not a rocket-science of what we’re talking about. It’s common sense. Why do you think this human nature forces us to stop doing what we love doing actually and do something else?
Ausra: Maybe laziness?
Vidas: What do you mean?
Ausra: Well, maybe we are too lazy in our nature, I don’t know. But people who want for example to lose weight - some of them just stick their picture on the refrigerator door that they could see if they will keep eating what would happen to them.
Vidas: Oh, naked picture?
Ausra: Well, half-naked or naked, I don’t know.
Vidas: It’s a reminder, yes?
Ausra: Maybe you could do something similar to the organ?
Vidas: Record yourself. With mistakes.
Ausra: Maybe at the beginning you could record yourself and after a month later record again and compare it.
Vidas: And this joy that you get from seeing little bit of progress every month will get you propelled forward. You will probably get endless motivation because now you’ll know what is possible to achieve in a month.
Vidas: And you’ll think what about 6 months from now or 12 months from now or 48 months from now. You could multiply. And it compounds. Because we progress slower at the beginning and it accumulates faster down the road.
Ausra: That’s true. That’s like a snowball.
Vidas: So guys, we wish you to become those snowballs in organ practice and then you have this endless motivation and endless energy. Because you want it so badly and you can achieve this little by little step by step every day.
Vidas: And send us more questions. We love helping you grow as an organist. And the best way to do this (if you haven’t done so already) is subscribing to our blog at www.organduo.lt
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Thanks guys. 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.
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