Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 451 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by David, and I asked him how his organ practice is going, and he wrote:
“Very well! And I played a full service - as substitute organist - last Sunday. And they applauded after the postlude. Miracles really do happen (when you practice)! Played ‘Lobet den Herren mit Pauken und Zimbeln - Alla Händel’ by Karg- Elert (also listed as ‘Festliche Musik Alla Händel’). For the prelude, I played ‘Heut‘ Triumphiert Gottes Sohn’ - using your very helpful fingering!
This is the first time I’ve played as a substitute organist at a different church (beyond my own church) for many years. So it really is possible to relearn to play the organ (at age 64)!”
V: What do you think, Ausra?
A: Well, it’s very nice when people experience something new, and they try different churches, and they see that people appreciate what they are doing. It’s really like a miracle. It shows what the diligent practice can do.
V: Exactly. I thought it’s wonderful that people applauded him, that they showed their appreciation! Sometimes, when I play at St. John’s’s church during Mass, when they ask me to substitute for a band or a group of young people performing popular music, I always try to perform solo organ compositions, improvisations as well, so people have this tradition of applauding after the postlude, which is really nice.
A: True, it really shows appreciation.
V: When he writes, “so it really is possible to relearn to play the organ at age 64,” what do you think the biggest challenges are at this time of life?
A: I think probably the biggest challenge is to convince yourself to believe in yourself, that you can do it. I think that’s the main obstacle that you have to overcome.
V: Mhm, because if David is practicing at age 64, it doesn’t mean everybody is doing something with their hobbies at age 64. Right? Sometimes, well, it’s almost retirement age! In some countries, it’s already retirement age, and people don’t get much ambition after retirement, which I think could be the opposite.
A: Yes, because I think that if you keep going and doing some things that you like, or learn new things, or relearn things, it will help you to stop your aging.
V: Yes, at least postpone it. Slow it down. And, I think the key to this feedback of David is that he played it in public. Right? And he had this motivation to learn a few pieces when people could hear him. At he just practice at home, which would be nice, of course, but probably the results wouldn’t be as great, because you really need to push yourself when you are preparing to play in public. Even more than when you are playing for your own enjoyment. Don’t you think, Ausra?
A: Yes, I think that the public performance is our final goal for each musician. Not necessarily an organist.
V: And of course, to help you motivate yourself during your organ practice, to sit down on the organ bench to practice strategically with a goal in mind, we have created the secrets of organ playing contest, which runs every Monday, and people who participate, of course, only a small number of them—3, 4, sometimes 5 people—but it’s growing! In recent weeks, we’ve seen interest increasing in this contest, because participants started to talk about their real motivation boost of this contest, and when they participate, they really tend to show bigger motivation to practice, and don’t skip any days, and they tell us these things, which is really nice to hear. So, do you think, Ausra, people like David, not necessarily David, but who also who are over 60 years old, for example, would benefit from such a contest?
A: Well, yes, I guess, because it would be sort of a live performance, too, because you have to record yourself, and to share with your audience!
V: And, perhaps the largest challenge to overcome here is technology. Right? To find a tool to record yourself, and then upload it to YouTube.
A: But usually, if you have a smartphone nowadays, it’s not a problem.
V: Exactly. I was observing people on the street—everybody has a smartphone of some sort. Not every smartphone has a good microphone, but I think good enough microphone for us to hear what is being performed, it’s quite satisfactory. Right? We’re not talking about CD quality or radio quality here. So, it’s possible. It’s just a matter of saying to yourself, “I can do it.”
A: True, I think this is the most important step.
V: So, if you guys want to participate in this contest, go ahead and write to me your preferred username on the Steem platform, and I can create an account for you with this username, and delegate a little bit of Steem for 90 days to start your journey on Steem, and then once you keep posting and keep earning Steem, you will be able to continue and to go on your own. Thank you, guys, this was Vidas!
A: And Ausra!
V: We’re really grateful that you are sending us your questions, so please continue doing that. 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.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.