Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 292, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ruth. She’s our Total Organist student. And she writes:
Ruth: My organ has completely broken down and cannot be repaired. So, I have spent quite a bit of time in looking for another. Through my teacher, I found another which is several hundred miles from here. The owner of it is willing to give it to me, but I need to pay for its transportation here. She had several persons come to examine hers. They have confirmed that it is in excellent condition. So, I feel fortunate. Meanwhile, I have been practicing on the piano. Has this happened to any of you?
V: And Jay, who is helping to do transcriptions of those podcast conversations, wrote:
Jay: Yes, similar problems. I have (had) an older Rodgers analog organ, that had a problem with contact wires under the keys breaking continually, mostly because of it's age, I think. It was becoming rather expensive to maintain it so I disposed of it, just this week. I was seriously considering putting together a Hauptwerk organ, but I was notified of a little-used digital organ, which is likely much less expensive, and, it has built-in MIDI connectors for Hauptwerk possibilities as well. It is scheduled to be delivered this coming week. One gets used to having a practice organ at home, and I miss it.
V: And then Jeremy wrote also, who is on our team too.
Jeremy: I don’t have room (or the money) for an organ at home, so I am in contact with three churches and a friend who has an organ in his home. They are all more than welcoming when I ask to come and practice. It would be nice to have an organ at home and not have to plan in my practicing plus travel time.
V: So, and then, you see wonderful discussion we have among those three organists in our Total Organist group.
V: Sometimes we ask people, at the end of the day, what are they working on, or what are they struggling with, or what their goals are for this week, or some of the inspiring things they have read or noticed that could also inspiring for other students in our group. And they all shared, and we all shared these things and little discussions happen within that group. Don’t you think, Ausra, it also is very motivating for people to see that other people having similar problems or challenges, or dreams, and they’re working together as a group then?
A: I think so, yes. I think it’s very important.
V: Like a little community.
A: Because sometimes when you have a problem, you think that you are the only one who has this problem, but then when you share it, it appears that other people have the same problem as well, or we already find out how to solve it, and they might have the experience, might help solve it for you too.
V: Right. Not everybody is involved in this kind of discussion, right? Everybody gets a question like that, ‘What are you working on?’, once in a while, ‘What are you struggling with?’. But some people are maybe more private people, right? They don’t think it’s interesting for them to work together as a group, so, because organists most of the time, they are alone, and some people enjoy being alone, and solving problem on their own. But on the contrary, for others, like maybe Jay, or Ruth, or Jeremy, this case too, they like having those discussions and support themselves too. So that’s how our Total Organist works. We support each other and we grow together. And going back to Ruth’s situation, I guess it’s wonderful that she has found a situation, an organ, even though it’s a few hundred miles from her, but hopefully, she will get that organ shipped to her.
A: Yes. Yes, I think it’s possible.
V: Do you think it’s worth investing some money into shipping?
A: Sure, because if the expert said, it’s a good deal, I think she should do it.
V: Uh-huh. And Ruth was curious what kind of digital organ Jay uses. And Jay said it’s a Rodgers 557, so discussion continues about those instruments. So it’s really interesting to see how people solve those problems around the world. And they have similar situations all over. Sometimes people go to church, like Jeremy, and if they’re lucky to get a decent church with decent organ, and organist, local organist would let them in and practice, that’s fantastic too.
A: True. And generally its not so common to have organ at home so you don’t have so much trouble and so many problems with receiving organ or moving them around, but I can see sometimes advertisements in the paper or internet that somebody will give, will donate piano. But you have to come and to pick it up for yourself.
V: If it’s in the same city, it’s not very far, but it if it’s in another city then it might get a little bit expensive.
A: And it’s often the case that people who live in apartment buildings, and lets say if you live, lets say on the tenth floor, and you cannot fit the piano into an elevator, then you have to take it downstairs manually, and it’s heavy job.
V: Four, maybe four muscle up and fit men.
A: I know. And it’s often the case if you sell your apartment and you have a piano in it, so one of the things is that you discuss with the new owners is that you will sell the apartment but we have to stick with that piano because you are not able to move it.
V: Mmm-hmm. Some people treasure their pianos so they travel with pianos everywhere. They go next too.
A: I know. And my when my parents sold the summer cottage, they sold the piano together.
V: Mmm-hmm. But we have in our current home, piano in addition to organ. Can you tell our friends where this piano comes from?
A: Well, it’s called Riga. And Riga is Latvian capital, and actually in the Soviet time we had quite a famous piano factory in Riga. And this, our pride piano, it was all over the Soviet Union, I think.
V: Exactly. So basically, we have two instruments at home and we’re quite privileged to use them. And the piano is tuned about one half step lower.
A: Yes. Because it was a while since it was properly tuned.
A: I think that was all the instruments, all the pianos, that if you don’t tune them for a while.
V: Right. So hopefully by now, Ruth has found some solutions to ship that instrument to her. But at any rate, I think it’s well worth putting in the money, or investing into shipping that instrument, if somebody is kind enough to donating, especially if its in a good condition, right? It’s a privilege to have an organ at home.
V: Even though sometimes people like to go outside to the studio or the church to practice. Ausra, would you prefer playing in, let’s say, your separate studio if you had one, or here at home?
A: Well I enjoy playing at home because it saves me time. Because if I would have to walk somewhere to church or studio, of course I walk to church for recitals, and I really have to practice on a real instrument which I will be performing on. But I wouldn’t do that every day. And since I have organ at home I can practice every day, and it’s very nice.
V: And I like to go to church often. It helps me keep my fingers in a condition to be ready to play heavy mechanical organs, which is what we have at church. And it’s nice to be in an old town of Vilnius too, to be in that part of the city while you work at school.
A: Yes, but if you would be teaching like 35 hours or 26 hours per week as I do, I don’t think you would have enough energy to walk to church to play every day.
V: We can switch you know. I could teach for you, and you could play for me.
A: Oh yes; I would love to switch.
V: (Laughs) but your students wouldn’t love me.
A: Probably not.
V: We would talk about internet and blogging and preparing them for the future of their profession.
A: We might like that instead of discussing problems related to the parallel fifths and octaves.
V: (Laughs). I know. Thank you guys for sending those wonderful questions, for having discussions in our Total Organist Basecamp group. And keep sending your challenges and dreams. We love helping you grow. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember, when you practice,,,
A: Miracles happen!
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