By Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene (get free updates of new posts here)
Oh, this was surprising! In a good way.
My student made a breakthrough. Although she's been practicing for 3 years, she really is just a beginner in her skills of playing the organ.
She finds it completely impossible to play hands and feet at the same time. So I make life easier for her and give her only manualiter pieces to practice.
We won't play difficult compositions. We won't even play hymns. 4 parts are too much for her.
But what works is two-part short polyphonic verses from the 16th and 17th century. Composers like Praetorius, Scheidt, Lassus or Cabezon. She even can articulate with detached yet singing style.
This way she has to deal with only two melodies at a time. Yes, they're polyphonic. Yes, each of them are independent. Yes, each of them has separate rhythms.
But that's a good thing and a challenge.
At first she even could read the notes easily, so she would write down note names, like C, D, E above music.
I told her this actually slows down her progress but of course she wouldn't listen. She thought avoiding short-term pain is more important than gaining long-term pleasure.
That's OK, you and I think this way very often too.
Recently, she started reading the music without the crutch. Slowly, with mistakes, but relentlessly.
And her playing is improving by the day. Every time we meet, it takes 10 extremely slow repetitions to have a breakthrough.
I believe in her.
Oh, and she's 65 and still trying to improve.
Now she wants to learn to play pedals as well.
If she can play the organ, she can do anything she puts her mind to.
Isn't this an empowering idea for you and me?
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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.