#AskVidasAndAusra 99: I don’t always have the patience for a highly systematic and laborious practice
Vidas: Let’s start Episode 99 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. This question was sent by Paul, and he writes that he doesn’t always have the patience for a highly systematic and laborious practice. So, that’s a common problem among organists, right?
Ausra: Well, I think for any kind of people this is a common problem.
Vidas: What can we say? We don’t always practice systematically ourselves, right?
Ausra: That’s true.
Vidas: We’re humans, and we have weaknesses.
Vidas: I think the important part is recognizing our weaknesses, and learning from our weaknesses. But I think it’s unavoidable, sometimes, to make mistakes and do things that we regret later.
Ausra: Yes, that’s true. Otherwise we would become robots and computers that could just program ourselves, and do systematic practice all the time. But that’s just life--it’s impossible to do, be a machine all the time.
Vidas: What I think about organists who don’t always practice systematically, with patience, is that probably, they haven’t seen the results of systematic practice yet; and therefore, they haven’t been hooked on this. Do you think it’s safe to say so?
Ausra: Yes, I think that’s true. But also if you don’t practice systematically, you still get some kind of results. Maybe not as good results--
Vidas: Not systematic results?
Ausra: Yes, yes.
Vidas: Maybe not quantifiable results. Maybe you practice sporadically, right? And you get better one time, but you don’t know if you will get better in time for your next public performance.
Ausra: Yes. I think that public performance is that way which keeps us moving, actually.
Vidas: Mhm. Absolutely. I remember the time when we came back from America, from our studies, and there were some months when I didn’t play in public--maybe 5, 6 months, maybe half a year. And I remember at that time, I almost didn’t practice, because there was no external motivation--no push from deadlines and things like that.
Ausra: Yes, deadlines. This is the word that I most hate! “Due date,” “deadline”--ugh!
Vidas: But it keeps us moving, right?
Ausra: Yes, that’s true.
Vidas: You don’t have to set external deadlines, right? But you can set internal deadlines, for yourself, for your own enjoyment.
Ausra: Yes, that’s true.
Vidas: For example, if you’re planning to learn a piece or two on the organ, give yourself a deadline by which time you can play through it.
Ausra: That’s right.
Vidas: And make a plan. Because in order to learn, let’s say, a piece which has 10 pages in let’s say 10 weeks, you have to learn one page a week! It doesn’t mean that after 10 weeks you will be able to play this piece in public, right? Because you need maybe 1 extra month to get fluent and even better at this. And so...But practices like this--you give yourself a plan, and you proceed step by step.
Ausra: Yes, that’s right. So you just have to commit to do something--to learn a piece of music to play it in public.
Vidas: So for example, in our case, we are preparing for a recital in what, 3 weeks? about 3 weeks, in November. And there are some pieces--really challenging compositions among our repertoire. And if it wasn’t for this deadline in November--yes, we would play together, we enjoy playing in organ duet, but it doesn’t mean that we would practice and get better on time. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, that’s right.
Vidas: So although you don’t like deadlines, you must be glad that this public appearance is coming up.
Ausra: Yes, of course, it’s always nice to have that external push.
Vidas: Because what--for this concert, we are learning new music, right? And we are slowly getting better at this. So I think for other people, too, our advice could be to find a chance to play in public.
Ausra: That’s right.
Vidas: A piece or maybe 2 pieces at a time. You don’t have to play an entire hour or thirty minutes of program at once.
Ausra: Yes. So maybe make a tiny recital, play a fancy postlude after a church service. And never despair if practice will not go well that day, or you will be too lazy to practice; that’s just a perfectly normal, natural thing. You will do better the next time.
Vidas: That’s right. And please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. 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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