Vidas: Hi Guys! This is Vidas…
Ausra: ...and Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 416 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Tim, and he writes:
Dear Vidas, The course is working out fine for me, and I’m able to keep up to date with it. Sometimes, I do a few days ahead, depending on work commitments. I usually use a tempo of around crotchet = 16, and I find I am able to get all the articulation correct in all of the parts. Looking forward to the rest of it. Kindest regards, Tim.
Ausra, I think Tim is talking about our Organ Sightreading Master Course.
A: I see.
V: And the requirement, of course, is to sightread the piece rather slowly. For some people, it’s possible at 60, quarter note = 60, but you could do it slower. So in general, this course is a great resource for people who want to perfect their sightreading skills.
A: I think it’s crucial thing for every musician to be able to sightread things.
A: It makes life much easier.
V: You know what I’ve been doing recently? I’ve been opening every day my Orgelbüchlein collection, and putting it on the organ rack at church, and recording myself from above my head so that hands will be visible and I would sightread 1, 2, or 3 pieces every day in a slow tempo, but with ideal articulation, fingering, and pedaling. So, I’ve actually found out that this makes my playing more elegant in general and my skills keep sharp.
A: Excellent. So, how is it going? After you will be done with entire Orgelbüchlein, what will you play then?
V: I think I might go either in two directions. Either to sightread the 3-part sinfonias by Bach - I haven’t played them for a long time. Or, I might go to something more legato like Brahms or maybe Franck’s L’Organiste.
A: Don’t you think Franck’s L’Organiste would be too easy for you to sightread through most of those pieces?
V: Sure, but you know, to keep the fingering precise, that’s not too easy.
A: And of course, for us, some harder pieces in L’Organiste.
A: Some Sorties.
A: At the end of many cycles there is Sortie, which is probably more complex because it has all the themes from entire cycle.
V: Mm-hm. I shared Vater Unser yesterday, from Orgelbüchlein, this recording on Steemit and Whaleshares, and people have been reacting positively about that, even though they are not organists at all, you know, they are not specialized in classical music probably at all, but they appreciate seeing my hands and listening to good music anyway.
A: Yes, I think it might be even more interesting for non-musicians sometimes.
V: So, do you think Tim could also record himself while he sightreads?
A: Well, it depends on what his goal is. But sometimes, it’s good to record yourself and to listen to what you have done, and compare one of your recordings to another one, and see how you are progressing. Because what you hear when you are playing live is not the same as what you will hear after you listen to your recording.
A: Because sometimes, during actual performance, you might get quite a wrong idea about what you have done or how have you played.
V: Right. Of course, it also depends on how sensitive a person is to the critique or public reaction, right? I’ve been doing this for a number of years now, recording myself, livestreaming, and I am quite OK if somebody criticizes me, I can ignore that criticism or take it, you know, in some constructive manner. I wouldn’t probably take it too personally now.
A: Well, and what you’re talking about, you are talking about putting your recording for a live audience, for public in general. What I was talking about was more about educational part of performance.
V: That he would…
A: He would use this recording for himself, not to check how he’s doing.
A: Not to make it public. But of course, it’s up to person to decide. You like to exhibit yourself. Somebody maybe doesn’t so.
A: We are all different.
V: Yeah. And we all need different apps and different tools and different approaches to practice. So, guys, keep what’s working for you and discard what is not. And we are sharing our ideas. For example, my ideas probably are a little bit or more different from Ausra’s too, right, in some ways. So you could choose our approaches, pick and choose actually, from both of us, what works for you. And maybe adjust them. Not take it, like as it is, but maybe adjust to your own situation. It’s not like medicine. We are not medical doctors and we don’t prescribe you medicine to take three times a day without any consideration. Here, I probably think that you would benefit from adjusting to your own situation.
A: But anyway, sightreading is beneficial for any musician. So, keep doing it! Keep sightreading.
V: In your harmony and music theory classes, ear-training classes, do you think a lot of kids sightread?
A: Well, all my kids sightread, that’s for sure.
V: What about outside those classes? Do they sightread in their own instrument?
A: Some of them do.
V: Some of them. The best ones.
V: The most committed ones.
V: Exactly. These kids will go much further than those who do not, probably. Okay, guys, we hope this was useful to you. Please send us more of your 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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