AVA197: I regret to inform you that my organ playing has been on the back burner for ages by now because of lack of interest down here
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start Episode 197, of #AskVidasAndAusra Podcast. This question was sent by Irineo. And he writes:
Thank you very much maestro, it was a delight hearing that sweet/inspiring organ work.
V: I think, Ausra, he wrote me back after listening to some of our pieces we played for Bach’s birthday recital.
A: I see.
V: It might have been Bach Passacaglia, or maybe your E Flat Major Fugue.
A: If it’s maestro then it’s not E Flat Major.
V: Exactly, he would write Maestra if it’s about you. Okay. So then he writes:
Well about my organ playing, I regret to inform you it's been in the backburner for ages by now because of lack of interest down here and besides things have become real tough for almost everybody. But I still write a few bars every now and then (about the lyrics of my piece, which I intend to eventually upload).
Keep up the splendid work and thank you again!
Very truly yours,
V: So, I think he’s struggling with sitting down on the organ bench.
V: Because he loves to listen to our conversations or to read about our discussions, um, or to listen to the pieces that we play, but, but then his practice, as he writes, is delayed, postponed. Because, because, lack of interest down here, down where he lives probably, right?
V: Uh-huh. So maybe he has a situation where he would love to practice but since realistically he cannot apply his practice to real live situation, you know like public, playing in public those pieces that he played at home. Then he doesn’t feel so motivated to play at home at all.
A: Could be.
V: What would you recommend, Ausra? Stop playing or find some inner source of motivation?
A: Well if it’s really important for you, if you really love organ then you must, you know, keep playing and doing what you are doing. I wouldn’t say that in Lithuania that we have such a wonderful situation for organists. That you know, we have big crowds during organ recitals, or you know, very high levels, general level of you know, church music. I would think quite an opposite but it doesn’t stop us from you know, doing what we’re doing.
V: For example, our colleagues don’t come to our recitals at all.
A: Never ever.
A: It would be a miracle.
V: With a few exceptions, right?
A: Yes, yes.
V: Mmm, hmm. Our maybe closest friends, but,,,
A: Even then you play something new and something really excited and something that is rarely played. And maybe this is the one time, live opportunity to hear such a piece performed live. You know, it seems like nobody cares.
A: And many graduates of organ studies in Lithuania, we stop playing at all. And that’s it. Some of them work at churches but not many of them.
V: And those who do work at churches, only minority of them play what they learned at school.
A: Yes. Not new repertoire.
V: Yeah, make themselves better.
A: And then you know, perform.
V: They just get by, because yes, it is very un-motivating to work in those situations because the church leadership doesn’t care if you play something new or not, if you play just a hymn or not.
A: Yes, if you are mediocre performer, performer or you now, or you perform well. So,,,
V: But we are artists, right? And artists, you know, make out, regardless if anybody is paying attention or not, right Ausra?
A: Yes, that’s true.
V: So the process is important; result is out of our hands, maybe. Yes we could strive to put our art out there, out to the world, right. That’s how we live too. Not too many people in Lithuania share their process, share their art. Be we decided to, not to hide it, right, under the table.
V: That’s how Irineo could behave too. It doesn’t mean that he has to you know, limit himself with his own Parrish or his own town when nobody is paying attention. But you never know. Maybe, maybe people around the world will become interested or find something useful. And he writes that he is interested in completing his song and uploading it on the internet. And that could be a great opportunity, right Ausra, to compose more pieces, more regularly.
A: That’s true, yes.
V: To keep up this practice. Because we learn and we grow and we learn again.
A: That’s true. Do you think that it’s very important for people that you know, somebody would notice you, and would say to you, to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing?
V: I think everyone needs attention. I haven’t met a person who doesn’t need attention. Even my dad who said ‘oh no, I don’t want to do any self-promotion’, and he painted for decades you know, without maybe anybody noticing him too much. But he would still very happy if, you know, people came to his exhibitions or people came visiting to his workshop.
A: Yes, that’s true.
V: That’s, I think natural, normal and nothing to be ashamed of. And those who say that, you know, no, I am so self-motivated and I don’t care if anyone is listening to me play, or something like that, then they just hiding something, right? They are acting. They have a mask maybe. And actually, they crave for attention but in another way.
A: So do you think it would be a good idea for Irineo maybe you know, to start draw more attention to the organ, in the place where he lives?
V: Oh, that would be very natural. He could become a center of attention in his town. Yeah, he would become, like, like number one place to go for people who are interested in something new and you know, unexplored. He would become his own category because nobody will be doing this and then he will not have any competition.
A: And would you think that this attention, would, you know, motivate him to practice more, and to improve his organ skills?
V: Absolutely! He will see that other people are depending on him to show up, to, to speak, to talk, to, to present, to, to play, to demonstrate. So I think the least he could do is to go to local church and to go to local school and meet music teachers if there are any. And say that he could invite those kids to the organ loft and arrange an organ tour, and play an organ demonstration for half an hour, and then answer kids questions, and let them play with, with a few fingers or even with their feet. That would be unforgettable experience for everybody.
A: Yes. I think that’s an excellent idea.
V: And if he would do that regularly, you know, like once a month, if for different kids, groups, then little by little he would become a ‘go to’ person in his town, in his area. And of course, Ausra, would you recommend him recording his own demonstrations and uploading to Youtube, or Musicoin or other places online, like, like DSound?
A: Sure. That way he would get even more attention, and more listeners, and more interest in the organ.
V: Mmm, hmm. And those places also pay you for your music, so he could earn some additional revenue while sharing his work.
V: Wonderful! Thank you guys for listening. We hope you understand how important it is to self-motivate yourself. And if nobody really cares about you, your art, then you make them care by finding other avenues. Uh huh. Not forcing them, but inviting them gently to go to an adventure together with you. And kids and children are most, most eager to learn new things, most curious.
A: Yes, because those, you know, childhood impressions, they are so important. And maybe some of those kids will become an organist too. And you will be the reason why he or she decides to become an organist. Wouldn’t that be great!
V: Wonderful. Thank you guys for, for listening, for applying our tips in your practice, and for sending us those beautiful questions. They’re really thought provoking, and we hope they are useful to you. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember, when you practice…
A: 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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