Charles Talmadge: I am learning many things from your daily messages. Many thanks. I am assistant organist here at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California (4 man./60 ranks). The sanctuary dates from 1900 and we are the third largest church in the Los Angeles Diocese. Steve O'Connor took my photo and is the excellent Music Director.
Harlene wrote me the following message:
"My dream for playing the organ is to be a more than just adequate church organist. I've been playing the organ for several years now in church, but I still consider myself a pianist who is playing the organ. I guess what I'm doing is okay, but I want to do so much more.
One thing holding me back is that I work full time and have a couple of part-time jobs, also, so finding time to practice is difficult.
Another thing is not having an actual teacher to show me how to play correctly, although I am learning a lot from your lessons. Again, I just don't have a lot of time to study them and practice.
Any help and advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you."
Here's what I wrote to Harlene:
Finding time for organ playing can really be difficult for a working person. But the thing is that you don't necessarily have to practice for several hours a day. In fact, short sprints of 15 minutes done daily might be something that almost every person can fit into their schedule. Also you can practice more on the weekends when there's more free time available. Sometimes you can practice just using the score but without the actual instrument (visualizing the activity and imagining the sound inside your head). This saves time and develops inner hearing.
Concerning finding a teacher: these days when so much learning is amplified by technology, you can be in one part of the world while your teacher is in the opposite part of the world. It even doesn't matter where you live as long as you have internet connection available. That's why I have started teaching organ playing online so that people like you who don't have the resources and a good and experienced teacher in their area can still enjoy the learning and the practice.
The first step is to admit to ourselves that we need this, that this activity enriches our lives and the lives of those around us.
What do you think? Do you also feel this obstacle to find time for self-improvement (and not only in organ playing)? And what helps you do it nonetheless? Your insights and personal experiences will surely be of tremendous help to others for whom this obstacle stops them from reaching their full potential. Please share your thoughts in comments.
Concert Fantasy on the St. Venceslas chorale by Josef Klička (1855-1937) who was a Czech organist, violinist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer in the late Romantic style.
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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.