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Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Let’s start episode 602 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Wendy, and she writes:
Your organ duet recital was wonderful… so inspiring. You and Ausra are a great team. Many thanks for sharing your huge talents. I am one of 3 organists who play for services at a Catholic church in Ipswich Queensland Australia...St Mary's. My training is as a pianist. I don't have an organ at home and my organ pedal skills are very limited. Enjoy your coffee!!
Best wishes, Wendy”
V: So, Ausra, Wendy sent us a donation for our recital! Remember?
A: Yes! Thank you very much Wendy! We enjoyed our coffee that you gave us.
V: Coffee is important, right? We have to keep up our strength before and after the recital.
V: Do you enjoy decaf coffee or regular, Ausra?
A: Well, I enjoy decaf more.
V: Me, too. So, we tend to drink all kinds of decaf coffee, usually in the morning, but also in the middle of the day sometimes, after a good day’s work, too.
A: Yes, but not so much now, when the CoViD-19 is all around us.
V: You know, while thinking about this recital, our 12th recital, which was so inspiring to Wendy and I hope to other people as well, it’s so wonderful that people are appreciating our organ playing as a duet, right?
A: Yes! We are very excited to play together. It’s so much fun. Although it’s probably harder to play a duet rather than solo work, but it’s more satisfying, at least for me.
V: Would you prefer playing solo or as a duet?
A: Well, I like to share responsibility during a recital, so I think it’s nice to play a duet.
V: But I mean if we play together in one recital, would you rather play solo or as a duet?
A: I could go either way.
V: So, yeah! Usually people who watch our videos enjoy looking at our solo performances as well as four-hand and four-feet performances as well. This is really very exciting to watch a couple of organists make music together and do all kinds of Secrets of Organ Playing tricks.
A: True! So do you enjoy playing duets?
V: Of course, playing duets with you is one of the highlights of my day.
A: Then we should play more often together!
V: What are we playing? Can you share the secrets behind the scenes with our subscribers right now?
A: You mean our solo work or our duets?
V: Yes, as a duet.
A: Well, we will have to play two recitals in August if the COVID-19 won’t prevent those from happening, you know… so we will play the huge program, which will include Mozart—two pieces by Mozart—one by Beethoven, then one piece written by Vidas, four pieces written on the theme of Lithuanian folk songs. And what else, Vidas, do you remember?
V: I think we need to specify what kind of Mozart pieces we are playing.
A: Well, “D Major Sonata” for four hands, and we are learning the “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”
V: This is a very famous piece. Sometimes people play it as a solo work arrangement, sometimes as a duet, too.
A: So basically, this is the one piece on our program, so…
V: Originally it is written either for string quartet or string orchestra, so we can play it easily as a duet—two parts each.
A: Yes, but we need to do it and start learning actually, not to talk about it, but to play more.
V: You mean the third movement is very hard, right?
A: Yes, it’s very fast.
V: Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of a little bit, too. On our Hauptwerk setup, the touch on these keyboards is very light. So there is no resistance like you would find in mechanical action organs.
A: Well, we just need to turn on our tracker and practice on our tracker organ!
V: And we do that sometimes.
V: You know what? Maybe we could also share with our subscribers the fact that we might get a new organ frame, wooden frame! Remember, our friend yesterday, a carpenter, came over and he promised to build a wooden frame for our Hauptwerk setup.
A: I think that will be great, because I was afraid that you are going to build one by yourself, and that might end up as a big disaster!
V: Plus it would take me many weeks, and to do it with a regular saw, and our friend, the carpenter, has special equipment and gadgets and especially experience!
V: And this way our Hauptwerk keyboards won’t be sliding backwards and forwards when you play Franck.
A: Yes, true, because now the more difficult the piece, you play them more careful you need to be.
V: Yeah, but it’s fun watching you play romantic music with these keyboards.
A: Do I look like an elephant in a china shop?
V: More like a hippopotamus on ice!
A: Thanks for that! Good to know!
V: Yes! So you guys will see it soon enough. Obviously, we’ll play an online recital as well, even though we are scheduled to play this piece August 1 in the festival in Anykščiai, Lithuania, and then later, August 23 in Rokiškis, Lithuania. But we obviously will play it online, first.
A: Yes, we have to do that in order to practice.
V: So, talking about Wendy’s concerns and challenges, I think she doesn’t have an organ at home, and this is a hindrance to her, and her pedal skills are very limited. What would you say to her, keeping in mind that she’s working as a Catholic church organists in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia?
A: Well, one of the solutions would be to get a MIDI pedal board, and at least one keyboard.
V: MIDI keyboard, like the ones we use for our Hauptwerk setup.
V: And then you could connect those two things to your computer, usually MIDI keyboards connect via a USB cable, very simple, nothing else is required, but if you need to connect a MIDI pedal board, like we have at home, for example, you need a MIDI-to-USB converter. That is a special cable, another cable, that one side goes into the MIDI instrument, and another side goes into the USB of the computer. We use a USB hub, which actually is a powered hub. It connects to a power outlet, and it has many USB slots. We have two hubs, actually. One is with 10 USB slots, and another is with 7. And we need a lot of them. Right? Because we have many keyboards and other gadgets, too.
A: True! Too many, I'm thinking.
V: Yeah. And if we would plug only those to the computer, not into the power outlet, then the computer would probably be overheated, and it would consume too much power. But now, this hub is consuming the power outlet’s power, and it works just fine. So, we really recommend this. Right?
V: If she doesn’t have an organ at home, yet, Wendy could maybe practice more in the church!
A: Yes, that would be a possibility, of course we don’t know how far from the church she lives!
V: Obviously not far enough, because she is playing there, at least, for services.
A: Yes, but if you, let’s say, play for service once a week, maybe you don’t have to go to church every day.
V: Probably not. Yes. As an emergency situation, I would also practice on the table. If nothing else is available, I would probably print out paper keyboards and pedal boards, and glue to them together. They are real size. You will find them in our website https://organduo.lt on the front page on the side bar on the right. Just scroll down, and you will find those paper keyboards and pedal boards. They’re very helpful for people who don’t have any instruments at home, at least temporarily.
A: Yes, that might help actually. It’s better than not practicing at all.
V: So, guys, please apply our tips in your practice. They really help. And keep sending us your questions; we love helping you grow. And stay tuned for our next online recital as a duet or a solo. We frequently post them on YouTube, so please feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channels. My channel, Secrets of Organ Playing, and Ausra’s channel as well. This was Vidas,
A: And Ausra,
V: And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
V: This podcast is supported by Total Organist - the most comprehensive organ training program online.
A: It has hundreds of courses, coaching and practice materials for every area of organ playing, thousands of instructional videos and PDF's. You will NOT find more value anywhere else online...
V: Total Organist helps you to master any piece, perfect your technique, develop your sight-reading skills, and improvise or compose your own music and much much more…
A: Sign up and begin your training today at organduo.lt and click on Total Organist. And of course, you will get the 1st month free too. You can cancel anytime.
V: If you like our organ music, you can also support us on Patreon and get free CD’s.
A: Find out more at patreon.com/secretsoforganplaying
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Our Hauptwerk Setup:
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.