Written and drawn by Vidas, colored by Ausra (get free updates of new posts here)
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The following advice is based on an actual lesson for a beginning organ student I taught about 6 weeks ago. During the lesson he played for me the pedal line of my setting from Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. I tried to correct his pedal technique.
Later in the day, I took some notes in my schetch-book and started to add some drawings. Today Ausra colored them with pastel.
We want to share with you this comic now. Hope you will find it helpful. Keep reading and practicing.
Play pedals with your big toe.
In Baroque music don't play completely legato, unless composer wanted it.
When playing solo pedals, keep your hands on your knees.
Keep your feet close to sharps.
Avoid foot-crossing. Instead keep the knees together and the heels together as well.
To automate pedal playing, use pedal preparation.
When you play with toes, don't lift your heels off the pedals.
Don't use excess force - play mezzo piano.
Don't look down at the pedals.
Stay in touch with the pedals at all times. Slide from key to key.
Practice pedal lines super slowly.
Aim for at least 3 correct repetitions in a row.
Work in small fragments.
If you like dancing, you'll love pedal playing. It's not that hard. Besides, your legs are like the 3rd hand.
If you want to improve your pedal playing technique, keep the above points in mind when you practice.
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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.