Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 370, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. Today we’d like to review our 2018 year, and let’s see what 2019 might bring.
V: So, Ausra, how was your year? It’s probably over by the time our listeners will hear this conversation. So let’s start with you.
A: Well it was very hard year for me.
A: And I’m really lucky to be alive. And always on New Years Eve, I’m thinking that I wish that my next year would be no worse than this one was, but actually, on this New Year’s Eve I actually hoping that the next year will be a little bit better than this was. Because if I would get another year as this one, I probably wouldn’t survive it.
V: What do you mean?
A: Well, let’s not go into much details, but I almost died—July of this year, so...
A: What else can I say to that.
V: Not too many listeners know about this but you were in the hospital, right?
V: Mmm-hmm. And afterwards you had to go to…
A: To perform a recital in London at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
V: In mid thirty degrees temperature. So it was extremely hot and very exhaustive, exhausting time. Anything else, that you remember from 2018?
A: Well this was sort of a highlight of my year. That July…
V: That combination.
A: Combination, yes.
V: Afterwards it’s downhill?
A: Yes. I, would just…
V: Mmm-hmm. Yes, so for me 2018, of course with your health issues I was very much also affected, and was worried a lot about your health and even whispered daring to go to London alone. But it was both of ours decision that it was worth the risk and we went both together, as a duet. Do you regret this decision, of going to London, today?
A: Well, no, I don’t regret it but because circumstances were so severe, I found London a very ugly city.
A: And now I’m not sure if it’s really so ugly or it seemed to be very ugly because I was so sick.
V: And when we wrote about it afterwards, some people actually shared our opinion.
V: So maybe it’s not entirely your vision of your mind.
V: Hallucinations. Yes. London has changed after the 2nd World War a lot, and...
A: Have you seen it before, that you are talking like this?
V: I was there, 3,000 years ago, like the king of elves, said in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, to Gandalf, I think.
A: You’re watching to many movies. You need to practice more organ.
V: Alright. Talking about practicing, my 2018 was interesting in the way that I was used to going to my church and practicing in the morning and putting videos on Youtube, especially those in slow tempos, so that our team of some transcribers could then later make fingering and pedaling out of those videos, which are proven to be helpful to our students all over the world. What else can I say? It’s interesting to see the community of Total Organists come alive with our Basecamp communication channel. Because every day, they get this question ‘what they’re working on today’, and they can comment, give feedback, what they’re struggling with, what they’re working on. At the end of the week they get the question ‘what they were struggling with’, what the challenges were. At the beginning of the week, they get the question, what are their goals for the week for them. And this communication with them, because it’s internal with the entire group, everybody can see them, and it’s so empowering for a lot of people who participate in this discussion. Of course there are people who tend to be silent and prefer not to get involved with others and prefer to learn on their own, which is fine. But those who do choose to communicate as a group, tell me that it’s very motivating to practice and to keep posting their answers, because we all grow together.
A: That’s right. I think it’s very important to motivate each other, and help each other.
V: Well it’s my own experience also, in many other initiatives that I was taking earlier in life. I dropped them because I was alone. I didn’t finish my Swedish language learning process because I was alone. I didn’t finish my Shotokan Karate training because I was alone. And many other things, right? But what I didn’t drop, so far, is drawing and posting comic—Pinky and Spiky comics on Steemit platform. And why? Because there is community there. We participate in contests, and we also organize Pinky and Spiky contests ourselves. And that’s also very motivating to keep going. It’s just one of side of my hobby, right? So the same is for organ playing, I believe, for people that want to advance. Ausra, are you a loner, or are you a team player, in your essence?
A: Well, probably not so much a team player as you are, because I’m more introverted than you are.
V: But I’m also not very well versed in dealing with large groups, like classroom setting, for example, it’s not motivating for me. But in a small group environment, it’s fine. Among friends, I’m well. People who are on the same track as I, are doing the same thing as I’m doing. I feel then comfortable with them. I don’t think me and you are so much different in this respect. It’s just maybe sometimes we feel that how we are perceived by others is different. Our perception is different. So continuing our discussion about 2018, I was really happy that Pope Francis came to Lithuania and I was chosen to play for him during his prayer at the KGB Museum.
A: In general I think that September was the best month of entire year, because we played that wonderful recital in Banchetto Musicale festival, and also heard many wonderful early music performances in Vilnius, during that festival. And then you performed for Pope Francis. It was really exciting.
V: And then I went to see Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra in Paslek, Poland, to see her play historical organ there, which was very exciting, at the end of September. So yeah, this year had very terrible life, I believe. July, I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience, and later on was easier and easier I believe, downhill a little, better and better I think. What about you? Do you feel that way too?
A: Well, yes, but you never know what might wait you around the corner.
V: We’re just talking about 2018 of course.
V: So yes, guys, we hope this year was a blessing to you and you continue to be healthy and your family’s continue to be healthy too, because without health, good health, it’s very difficult to continue to practice, right Ausra?
A: True. And you know what I learned after that recital in London?
A: Well, and you know why I took a risk of going there and performing?
A: Because I was very well prepared before that. Because, look before that recital—let’s be honest—how much could I practice?
V: Uh-huh. You spent two weeks, I think in the hospital.
A: A week and a half. But I already was sick before and then after that doesn’t mean that I was, I felt right away well, after a hospital.
A: It wasn’t like that—still feel the consequences of all that thing…
A: And I’m not completely cured, but, because I was really prepared in advance, that’s why I could go and perform.
V: Right. So I think what you mean to say here is like giving advice for people, who are scheduled to play sometime in the future and they think that they have plenty of time to prepare, but in fact they don’t have plenty of time.
A: Because you never know what might happen.
A: So you really need to get some sort of time pillow, I would say.
V: What do you mean? What is a time pillow?
A: I don’t know. Time pillow—that you put your time pillow and would not worry that you might be late to prepare for things.
V: So yeah, that’s a great idea. Because we know from our close friends, sometimes they think they have time, but things change, situation change, and they don’t have enough time to prepare suddenly, which isn’t nice when you have to sit down and play in public—not a nice feeling. So every day is a struggle in your mind, in our mind, what to do with your time, what to do with our time, and to do what we can to practice today, not tomorrow, probably. Because you don’t know what tomorrow brings. So going into 2019, we don’t know what this year will bring, right? It’s hard to guess and predict. We we’re hopeful, right? That as you say, it might be better than 2018. For example, I hope that we will successfully travel to several European countries abroad to organ festivals, to play. That would be a great thing. I hope that our help will be better than in 2018. What else do we hope for, Ausra?
A: Well, I’m afraid of hoping for anything, because I’m sort of very cautious about it. That if you would say something aloud, that it will not happen.
V: Uh-huh. I see.
A: But anyway, next year will be the year of the pig, and since the pig is my favorite animal, I hope it will be successful for me, and for you, if you will be nice to pigs.
V: (Laughs.) You see guys! What do I have to live with everyday.
A: (Laughs.) Poor Vidas.
V: And my animal, favorite animal is hedgehog, and hedgehogs don’t have year for them, so we only have to be good for pigs.
A: Well, anyway, I wasn’t born in the year of the pigs, but my mother is a pig. So if you will be good, nice to your mother-in-law, maybe year will be successful to you as well.
V: Exactly. If your mother-in-law is happy, then the son-in-law is happy too.
V: Everybody is else in your family is happy as well. Thank you guys for listening. We hope you will have wonderful 2019. Keep sending us your wonderful questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice...
A: Miracles happen!
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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