Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 523 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Robert, and he answers my question where I asked him how is his organ practice going. He writes:
“Oh I wish you hadn't asked. Not well I haven't practiced in a very long time. Health and other things are preventing me. I must get moving soon or I will not be qualified to call myself an organist any more. I do read and soak in and enjoy and certainly appreciate receiving the emails and all the good instructions. Hopefully soon I will be applying it.
Thank you for asking.
What can you say for starters, Ausra, to Robert, who hasn’t practiced in a very long time?
A: Well, a term “very long time” is sort of relative, because for some people a week without practice might seem as a very long time, but for others, half a year might not be a long time. So, I wish people would be more specific about terms like this.
V: True. He writes about health and “other things,” which is also not specific.
A: True. So we can just imagine things in all that, because if it’s health, then you need to know if it’s a constant problem or it’s a temporary problem, and other stuff.
V: But he writes in the next sentence that he must get moving again or he will not be qualified to call himself an organist anymore, which means that he can start practicing. Right? Even though health and other things are preventing it. So it’s subjective challenges that are bothering him.
A: I think it’s not only for Robert. I think it’s true for everybody, that we try to find excuses if you don’t want to do things right away, sort of we are trying to procrastinate.
V: Do you think that Robert needs a little push?
A: Yes, a push might help.
V: Like extra encouragement and external motivation; you know what I mean.
A: Yes, to schedule recital to play in. Then you have to move.
V: Oh, no! No! That’s too harsh for people who haven’t practiced for a long time. I think our Secrets of Organ Playing Contest would be helpful. Just one video a week. It doesn’t have to be long…
A: You know, for somebody, one video a week, that’s a real challenge. It might take too much energy and time to do it.
V: Imagine just one hymn a week, then. It still counts!
A: Well, as you say.
V: I think so, yeah, if he wants it badly enough. First of all, he has to be willing to sacrifice the comfortable feeling of being where he is now. In this situation, he is comfortable. Even though he hasn’t practiced in a very long time, he is in a known area, a known environment, and when he starts practicing, he will become progressing somewhere he doesn’t know, and this might become uncomfortable. So first of all, he has to be comfortable with being uncomfortable to extend his comfort limits. Don’t you think?
A: Yes! What would be other options without your competition and steam platform?
V: That’s a tricky question, because it helped me, it helped people who participate…
A: Do you think that like a regular church service on Sundays might be something, too?
V: No! Obviously it’s a big motivation to perform in public even in a church service, yes! But what’s easier? To find a church service and start playing in public, or just to take out a cell phone and record yourself?
A: Well, but thinking about the future, and about all those perspectives, I would think finding a church to play in is more…
V: More beneficial.
A: More beneficial.
V: Because when he plays in church, he still can participate in the contest, too.
A: Sure, so you could, so to say, shoot two bunnies with one shot?
V: To shoot two bunnies with one shot. Exactly, yes.
A: Not a very nice idiom, but I think you get the idea.
V: Two birds, maybe, English speaking people, say.
A: It could be.
V: Lithuanians don’t hunt birds, only bunnies, it seems. So, this is our advice for Robert and many other people who are sort of stuck in a state without practicing for some time. It could be a week, or more, or it could be in between projects, in between recitals…
A: Well, sometimes we have to take time off.
V: How much time is needed?
A: It depends on the specific situation.
V: Plus or minus. A month or less?
A: Two weeks, I would say.
V: Two weeks?
A: Because sometimes one week is not enough to have a rest or break.
V: Yes, you need to adjust and during that week maybe you can plan things ahead.
A: Well, planning is also a work, so…
V: Okay, two weeks without any organ practice, any thinking about organ… does reading about our conversations and podcasts count?
A: I guess!
V: So people could still read them, but take two weeks off if they deserve it. Right?
A: Sure. Maybe somebody doesn’t need it… doesn’t need to take breaks.
V: Excellent. 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.
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.