Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 575 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Jeremy, who is transcribing our scores and adding fingering and pedaling, and is our member of the Total Organist Community. He writes:
“I like that Total Organist is keeping me focused on my practicing, and how to practice.”
V: Ausra, what does he mean?
A: I think that’s what he means, what he says, that it helps him to stay focused on his practice and because it shows how to practice it means that it improves his practice, too!
V: What is the opposite of focus in this case for Jeremy?
A: Well, the loss of concentration, I guess.
A: Distractions, yes.
V: Have you been distracted in your life from your organ practice by any other exciting things, let’s say?
A: Of course, but not so much because of exciting things, but probably because of very serious and unpleasant things.
V: Can you name one of them?
A: No, I can’t.
V: Just one?
A: Because it’s just very personal.
V: Ah. I thought maybe that ha something to do with school, you know?
A: Oh! Do you mean overworking all the time?
A: Yes, that’s one of them, but… I didn’t mean that when I said it.
V: So, if Total Organist is keeping Jeremy focused on his practicing, this is a good thing. Right? But I’m thinking, “How is this program keeping him focused?” By which means? Do you have any idea?
A: I think it’s because it consists of so many things that everybody can find something useful and something to work on.
V: And this could be a distraction at the same time, right?
A: I don’t think you would find any of the Total Organists that would do everything in this program. I guess you just find what your weakness is and what you want to learn the most, and then you work on that.
V: But there are hundreds of scores and programs and trainings. You can get lost, right?
A: Maybe you need to write a smooth guide through your Total Organist program.
V: Step by step!
V: But for everybody, as you say, it’s very personal, and the goals are personal. And I know Jeremy is participating in our weekly contest—Secrets of Organ Playing Contest—week after week, and it’s been great to see him work through Bach’s “Orgelbuchlein” Chrorale Preludes regularly. It’s amazing to see him progress and to actually read his reports, what he has been doing over each day, and I think when a person writes about his day, what he has been working on, then it makes him think about his day, about his activities. And sometimes, if you don’t think, you don’t notice things that you do, and you don’t know if you are productive or not—if creative or not. And when you are reporting like this for everyone else to see in this group, I think it really helps him to stay focused, as he says, for tomorrow also—for tomorrow’s goals. Don’t you think?
A: Yes, I think so. I think you are absolutely right.
V: That’s why I take your activity reports and also publish them on Basecamp so other people could also know what you are doing.
A: Do you think they are useful?
V: Nobody said that they’re not.
A: Well… if you think that they are useful, you may put them there.
V: Yeah, I think they are useful, because they help people feel that you are human, you know, not hiding behind a screen, but a real person.
A: Okay. I am a real person, “Hi!” Well, anyway, I think if I would have had such a program let’s say 25 years back, I think I would have benefited from it very much.
V: You think that 25 years ago you would have benefited from this program a lot?
A: Yes! When I had just started to play the organ.
V: Hmmm. There was no opportunity for anyone to create this. Right? No Internet, capabilities of streaming, and uploading….
A: I know, and I just think it would have saved me a lot of time and a lot of trouble.
V: We started organ playing back in 1994, I think,
A: Yes, that’s right!
V: And that was before even blogs were created! Blogs were created, I think, just before 2000, the first blogs, but they became mainstream around 2002 picked up by big media, and I also remember that I noticed the word “blog” mentioned also on the Internet and on TV around that time, but I hadn’t done anything with it. I only dreamed about it, and started writing blog posts only in 2007 in Lithuanian, and in English in 2011.
A: Yes, and now it’s just so nice to have access to all that information and organ playing technique, because I remember my first lesson with George Ritchie at Lincoln, when he asked by which method book I was taught to play the organ, and I said, “By none!” And I remember how he looked at me.
V: You didn’t use any textbooks.
A: Yes, I know. And I just felt like I came from the middle of the jungle somewhere, basically learning how to play organ from monkeys!
V: Well yes. Nowadays, you cannot say that it’s lack of information that’s stopping people from mastering the organ or practicing the organ. Not anymore, right?
A: Yes, but I don’t think that much has changed in Lithuania, because I guess with their kind of music, they still don’t use any kind of method books, so…
V: Good thing we have a global audience and are not limited to a Lithuanian audience.
A: Yes, that’s right. At least we can share our experience.
V: Thank you guys! We hope this was useful to you, so you see how the Total Organist community is being inspired by one another, and keeping on track with their organ practice, and reporting back at the end of the day about their daily practice activities, and about their weekly goals, challenges, and this helps them move forward much much faster than they would be doing on their own. Right Ausra?
V: Okay, this was Vidas!
A: And Ausra!
V: 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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