SOPP428: Joining Total Organist is the best thing I’ve done since Christmas, and I keep telling everyone I know how amazing this program is
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 428, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ariane. And actually it’s not a question, but a feedback, because Ariane is one of our Total Organist student, and once a month they get this question where we ask them “How is Total Organist working for you so far?”. And Ariane wrote:
Joining Total Organist is the best thing I’ve done since Christmas, and I keep telling everyone I know how amazing this program is.
V: Hmm. This sort of feedback is so amazing to get, right Ausra?
A: Yes, it is.
V: Because, of course we love seeing people praising our program, that’s common sense and human nature, but also when we see people improve themselves, and become more advanced in their playing and reach another level faster than they would on their own. And with Ariane’s feedback, it’s quite obvious that she’s very happy about that and motivated to reach even further.
A: Yes, and I can believe it because Total Organist comprehend so many issues that are important to each organist, both church organists and concert organists, because it includes everything: hymn playing, sight-reading, improvisation, repertoire playing, and so on and so forth. So everybody can find something to improve in this program.
V: I think it’s modeled after us, after our vision of the organist itself. What kind of person does the organist have to be? What kind of specialist? Is it enough just to play the hymns if you’re a church organist? Is it enough just to play the repertoire if you’re a concert organist? Is it enough just to play your favorite pieces if you’re playing for your own enjoyment? Our vision is something more: you always try to do a little bit more than you’re capable right now, challenge yourself more, stay curious and open new horizons. Hence, we incorporated almost anything that is possible in organ playing. We’re not expert in every field, but we have good knowledge in many fields, and people also can choose: sometimes, if you’re not motivated to do all the things that we’re offering, maybe you can do some things, find some angle of organ playing that suits your goals and vision. And in general it’s much better than just sitting on the organ bench and playing without any goal, for example.
A: Yes, because in general I see the organist as a central figure in the church. Not replacing the priest you know, but like a cultural center of the church. So he has to communicate with the church staff, and also with the congregation and choir members, and conduct choir.
V: Plus, organists are most often the second if not first most educated person in the parish.
A: That’s right, so you need to be a learned musician yourself so that you can inspire other people around you, maybe teach some kid, give some lessons. So I think organists are a crucial figure in the church, especially in remote areas, where churches are a cultural center for the congregation and the town.
V: And for an organist to grow, for each of us to grow, we all need three types of people, not one, not two, but three I would say: this idea comes from James Altucher. He’s a blogger, podcaster, marketer and entrepreneur. And he says basically that we need people that are at our level, above our level and below our level, in our life. So of course we need people who are equal to us, sort of on the same boat, because we keep motivating each other right? For example, you and I Ausra? Do you consider me below your level or above your level? Or equal?
A: Hahaha, that’s a tricky question! Because in this question I have like a triple answer to you.
V: OK, give all of them.
A: Because if we would take musical level, I would consider ourselves on the same boat, except that I’m not a good improviser as you are. So in improvisation level, I see you above myself. But if we talk about domestic life and our sort of daily routine, cooking, cleaning etc, I would say that you’re quite below me. What do you think? Do you agree?
V: I couldn’t agree more. But I have to contradict you with improvisation. You think you’re below me in improvisation because you’re afraid to try. And when people are trying new things, they start to develop themselves much faster. If they’re afraid to try, they start to discourage themselves and think that they’re not worthy, or somebody else is better. And I’m not specifically talking about you, I’m talking about everyone that I know, including myself. Because even though I improvise, there are plenty of people I know that are better than me, like those masters you here sometimes in recitals. But that’s OK because I’m not trying to be like them, I’m trying to be like me, and that’s what I suggest to you and others as well. So Total Organist helps to stay on track and motivated by finding our peers on that program. On BaseCamp we have this chat everyday, and questions being asked, and people can really support each other. We also need people that are above our levels like masters, who could be beacons in our life, right? And hopefully, for our students, we should be beacons, because they look up to us, right? But also for us, we need other people that are above our level as well, right? Other masters from around the world, or maybe famous composers that have lived before us, that could be an inspiration as well. And then, we need people below our level, whom we could inspire and teach and elevate, and motivate to grow. And that’s what our community is all about. All those 3 types of people are present there, plus, minus and equals.
A: Yes, and helping each other, which is so important.
V: Yes, that’s according to James Altucher, very good idea I would say. No one is living in a cave, alone, like a hermit. And we need to stay in a group, in a community, even though we might never see each other physically, but today with technology we can easily connect with just about anyone on earth. So I’m really amazed by Ariane’s response, and I’m really happy that she’s happy. And she’s telling everyone she knows about our program, she’s evangelist, our ambassador, which is really great.
A: True, because when you praise your own program people might get suspicious but then somebody else says a nice thing, which is very pleasant.
V: Hmm. But sometimes we need to tell good things about ourselves as well. IF we know that this program is really working, is great and suitable for many people, why should we stay silent you know?
V: In a perfect world, our students could spread the word for us, but it doesn’t always work that way, because our students also look up to us: if we’re not confident about our program, they won’t be confident either haha. So we’re telling everyone right now that this program is working. Ariane and tenths of other people around the world are a proof of this, and if you want to grow faster in your organ playing than on your own, consider joining us. We’ll see you on the inside. 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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