Do you look at the pedals when playing? Sometimes it seems necessary, doesn't it? Especially, if you're trying out an unfamiliar organ.
What about the organ you know so well that you could play with your eyes closed (literally)? Can you play the pedals without looking?
I think a lot of organists find it frustrating to hit the wrong pedals when they're not looking at their feet.
Is there any secret or a shortcut that would make this task easier and pedal playing more reliable?
I think there is.
Try to apply pedal preparation in your organ pieces, also in hymn playing.
It works this way - as soon as your foot releases one pedal, with one swift motion slide it instantly to the next position for that foot and let it wait for it's turn to play. Both feet should do it.
That's it. Remember to practice small pedal fragments repeatedly in an extremely slow tempo without looking.
And one more thing - catch yourself whether you are playing with the inside or the outside portion of your foot. It turns out that the inside of the foot (knees facing inward) is more reliable when it comes to feeling the pedalboard and hitting the right notes.
Of course there are instances when sliding to the outside portion of the foot is also necessary but these occurrences are rather rare.
Try it and let me know if it helps.
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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.