SOPP486: I was on a one week boat trip and could not practice at all. Instead I fell from the ship and almost broke my back!!!
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 486 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ariane, and she wrote on BaseCamp:
“I was on a one week boat trip and could not practice at all. Instead I fell from the ship and almost broke my back!!! Thank God I just got badly bruised.”
V: So, this was a discussion that other members of Total Organist jumped in. For example, Ruth wrote, “Hello! I am very sorry to hear about your back injury. Please take good care of yourself so that you can return to playing the organ, again.” And Ariane responded, “Thanks a lot! I am back on the organ bench already. What a stupid accident that was!” Laurie wrote, “Wow! I'm glad it's not broken. Hope you're getting around and sleeping ok.” And Vidas wrote, “This is scary! Did you fall into the sea?” And I think she responded that it was an accident in the lake. So she first fell onto the deck, and then into the lake, somehow this way. But now she’s ok. What do you make out of this, Ausra… out of this discussion?
A: You know, I think it has a happy ending, because the worst scenario might have been that Ariane might have drowned, and the second worst scenario is that she might break her back.
V: But isn’t that nice, that people are responding and commenting and supporting her.
A: Yes, very nice. I think it’s important at such a moment to receive the support.
V: Yeah, you are not alone in this accident—at least it feels like this. So, Ausra, did you have any boat accidents in your life?
A: No, so serious. Never.
V: Maybe a bike accidents?
A: Yes, I have had bike accidents, of course.
V: Me, too. One of the most common ones is like you put your foot where the wheel is, and it gets jammed, I think. Right?
A: Well, yes, I had something similar, and I had a more serious accident when I was a child, but do you not want to hear about it?
V: I see.
A: Well, I couldn’t walk for some time after that accident, so…
V: My only bad accident was in the childhood, probably, worth remembering, is that I got in the way of two guys fighting in the middle, and one of them threw a knife at the other guy, and I was in the middle, and it hurt my eye. Not the eyeball, but somewhere next to the eyelid. So, I was taken to the hospital, and I remember my grandmother nursed me while my mom went back home from school. Yeah, it was an accident, but it wasn’t a sharp knife. It was like a pocket knife with the blade not drawn, so it was OK.
A: You got lucky, I guess!
V: Yes! But it still hurts when I try to remember it.
A: Well have you ever hurt yourself sitting on the organ bench? Have you had any injuries from playing the organ?
V: Not that I remember. I know you have been hurt in Sweden. Right?
V: Tell us more.
A: Well, that organ was a four manual organ and has an organ bench which you cannot regulate. It’s a historically based organ bench, so if I wanted to play on the fourth manual and the pedals at the same time, since I’m really short, I had real trouble. And I was reaching really high, really bad with my right foot, and suddenly I felt like this lightning going throughout my body.
V: It struck a nerve.
A: Yes, it struck a nerve. So later on, I could not sit for like a month, and it was a really bad time, and I had trouble walking, too, because I could feel this electricity going up and down my body for like a month or even longer.
V: Can you feel the side effects of this even today?
A: Well, sometimes, yes, after sitting for a long time.
V: Yeah, too bad. I think my only injury while playing an instrument was piano. I played “Scriabin Étude,” I think, in high school, and….
A: Wasn’t that in the Academy of Music?
V: Maybe… no it wasn’t.
A: So you were playing Scriabin at school already?
V: Maybe not Scriabin. Maybe Rachmaninoff. It was something Russian, and something with big chords. Could be Scriabin. I think it might have been Scriabin, a short one; the easy one, if there are easy ones in Scriabin’s output. But I played it stupidly, and hurt my little finger of the right hand, so then I had to practice with only my left hand for an entire semester.
A: Impressive! You must have developed your left hand technique pretty well after this semester.
V: No, I was just lazy.
V: No, I’m not Dupré. Dupré...remember how he hurt his wrist of one hand, he practiced left had and pedals with a vengeance, and developed perfect pedal technique….
V: ...in his childhood. Excellent. So, what’s your final advice to Ariane and others who might have suffered some injuries recently?
A: Well, take things easy, and take care of yourself.
V: And to avoid injuries on the organ bench, always take a rest before you feel tired. Then you will never get tired, like me.
V: Alright. Thank you guys for listening. 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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