Many organists who try to perfect their pedal technique play pedal exercises on the organ. However, it is not uncommon for them to feel the pain in the lower back area. Although the reasons for this pain might be several, today I am going to write about the pain which arises from incorrect playing technique. If you feel the pain in your lower back when playing pedal exercises on the organ, read on to find out the possible solution.
Keep Your Upper Body Straight
In order to avoid back pain, it is best to sit up straight on the organ bench. To achieve that, sometimes it helps to imagine that a string is attached to your head and it extends very far upward. Maintain the erect position and do not slouch. If you hunch and bend your upper body forward with your head down, your posture will not be correct and this situation may be the cause of future problems.
On the other hand, if you sit up straight, at once you will start to feel the difference in your breathing as well. Since breath, our posture, and organ technique are so much connected, it is important to observe the above point about the position on the organ bench.
Point Your Knees to the Direction of the Feet
Now, when your position at the organ console is correct, you can begin to work on the right way to play the pedals which may reduce the lower back pain. As you press any pedal, your knees should be pointing to the direction of your feet. In other words, try to avoid the situation when your knees point outward and the feet – inward. This is especially important, if you play in the extreme edges of the pedal board. Many organists perform such places incorrectly and as a result, they feel awkward. In fact, the lower back pain might arise from the incorrect pedal technique.
If you play in the extreme left of the pedal board, keep your upper body straight but your lower body (the legs) should be facing left. On the contrary, in order to play in the extreme right side of the pedal board – switch to the right side with your legs but face the music rack with your upper body.
You will be surprised, how much easier it will become for you to play pedal
scales and other exercises with your feet this way.
An invaluable resource for pedal exercises is Organ Technique: Modern and Early by George Ritchie and George Stauffer which I highly recommend.
By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments - the pipe organ? If so, download my FREE video guide: "How to Master Any Organ
Composition" in which I will show you my EXACT steps, techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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.