Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 383, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. And this question was sent by Gena, who is our Total Organist student. And, she wrote in the Basecamp communication channel as a reply to the question, ‘What are you struggling with the most this week?’ And she wrote:
Forcing myself to practice slowly to be very accurate
V: And then, she received a few comments, obviously because our students are writing there too. For example Dianne wrote:
This is my biggest struggle too, week in and week out. It is so hard for me not to want to rush ahead. Still working on my patience!
V: And Jay wrote:
I agree too. I think I could learn some things quicker if I could be more consistent in slow practice. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with this.
V: And Jeremy wrote:
The struggle is real. Keep being persistent.
V: And I wrote
Even after 25+ years of playing the organ, I have to be careful with this too. Don't worry! Slow down 50 percent and you will be fine. It's easier than it sounds.
V: And Ausra said later? (Laughs). Okay! Ausra, could you add your comment now?
A: Well, it’s a very common struggle for many musicians. Think about your childhood. I can guarantee that if you took piano lessons when you were a child, your teacher told you to practice slowly.
A: But did you do that? I’m almost guaranteed that you did not follow his or her advice. Because that’s a human nature—we want to get things as fast as we could.
V: Because if you did, you would never need our advice, by that time.
A: That’s right. So it’s a common human nature, to rush things through.
V: Mmm-hmm. We need instant gratification. Not need, but maybe want.
A: For example, most of the teachers tell you that you need to play the hard spots first, and don’t play everything from the beginning to the end, and you don’t need to rush in the tempo, and be mindful, but who listens to your teacher. Maybe some but I guess that not too many.
V: And it takes me to the idea that everybody needs to make their own mistakes and learn from their own mistakes, not from mistakes of others, right? Of course it would be wise to learn from others mistakes but that’s human nature.
A: I think this psychology of human nature—we think that if we will play things fast, we will learn faster, but that’s actually quite an opposite effect. Because you need to internalize that the slower you practice, the better results will be at the end.
V: And talking about Gena—she needs to ask herself, ‘what is forcing her to practice faster than needed’, right? What keeps her from practicing slowly? There is some kind of maybe stress or something—anxiety.
A: Well, this might be one of the issue, but there might be that maybe she doesn’t have enough time and, if you don’t have enough time to practice everything slowly, just work on one piece or on one episode, at that practice session. You don’t have to play everything at once.
V: I can imagine if, for example Gena has planned a recital, or a few recitals in a row, and they’re approaching faster than she wanted to, and she feels those deadlines, and that is very stressful, and when she gets on the organ bench, this stress level arises and she feels the need of speeding up, maybe practicing everything. If that’s the case, I think there is an issue with planning.
A: True. And also I thought that all the people might be divided into four groups of different characters.
V: Oh, okay. Interesting.
A: I think everybody knows that.
V: Okay. What group would I belong to?
A: Well, I think you know.
V: I don’t know exactly what you mean, so there are many groups in my mind.
A: Well, but two groups are, lets say faster and two groups are slower.
V: Uh-huh. So I’m faster, right?
A: No, I think you are slower.
V: Uhhhh. Okay.
A: So if you belong to those faster group people…
A: It might be harder for you to play…
V; Oh, I see.
A: in slow tempo too. And you don’t have patience to...
A: do slow practice. But in such a case, you need to overcome yourself.
V: Can you change your own nature?
A: Well, you cannot I think change it completely but you can, well, a little bit influence, you nature...
V: Or I would…
A: As a mature adult.
V: I would say you could learn to live with the strengths of your nature and ignore the weaknesses, right? Develop the strengths of your own character that for example, if I’m a slow person, I have the strengths of that character and weaknesses of the same character too, so I could develop the strengths more, like maybe calmness, maybe stability, right, that would be my strength. And weaknesses would get in the way less then, I would say. And for quicker people, this might be the opposite. For example, what your strong points will be, Ausra.
A: That I do things quick.
V: Quick. Exactly. And you can develop that even further by doing them quicker, even quicker. No probably…
A: No. I need to do them slower.
A: And to be calmer.
V: Ah. But what gives you pleasure, when you for example, practice the organ—faster or slower, tempi?
A: Well, that’s a good question. When I was young, I think faster tempo gave me more pleasure. But now just the age—I think I’m slowing down.
V: When you were young and beautiful.
A: That’s right.
V: And now you’re only beautiful.
A: If you say so.
V: (Laughs). Okay
A: Look guys, what I have to…
V: Put up with.
A: Put up with, yes.
V: Am I beautiful too?
V: Am I young?
V: Forever young. Excellent. So I’m really am glad that the people are supporting each other in our Total Organist Community, and have the way to interact with each other through Basecamp. And just when I think about it, I had an idea that maybe people from not Total Organist Community in general, but from our Secrets Of Organ Playing Community, right? People who don’t belong to Total Organist sometimes write letters to us and in response to the questions that other people send to us, and they want us to sent their answers to these people, so we are like mediators of this conversation, being in the middle. And sometimes it’s really inefficient. Ausra, do you think that having a way to communicate as a community of Secrets of Organ Playing would be better, like a group chat? I’m thinking about Telegram for example?
A: Well, sometimes yes, I think it would be beneficial to have that direct contact…
A: with people.
V: Because emails are quite limiting in direction, right? You can easily communicate with one person, or two, right? But as a group, it slows things down. So let us know if this initiative would be appealing to you. Would you be willing to join our, for example, communication channel on Telegram? Telegram is a desktop and phone app that works very fast and it has encrypted messaging services, and your messages are secure, and stay on your device, right? They’re not stored anywhere else. And it’s very quick. People from around the world can join in conversation. Okay, thank you guys. We hope this was useful to you. Please 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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