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: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 617 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by David, and he writes,
"I didn't see this video when it was posted because I was buried with work at the time. Thank you for posting it and this podcast. This week, I am experiencing the same thing, but with a simple hymn that I should have no trouble with, but one measure is just not coming, and I, too, felt like hitting the (imitation) organ as I was practicing... (but I didn't do it... it already doesn't fully function properly on Sunday mornings). This made me realize that sometimes this is a normal thing to experience."
V: Ausra, can you feel what David is talking about?
A: Yes. I get, have that feeling, that it’s about my practice of the Litanies by Jean Alain.
V: Yes. So David is on the team who transcribes these podcast conversations. And he transcribed the previous video, or the previous conversation, 614, when Ian asks about organists frustrated video. So David also apparently experienced the same thing, but with a simple hymn playing. So I thought of talking about it a little bit more, because people seem to resonate with your frustration these days.
A: Yes. I think all of us get frustrated at times - not always, but sometimes.
V: I don’t.
V: I’m very calm and pleased when I’m practicing.
A: Maybe you are dead then.
V: Maybe. I don’t know. So obviously…
A: Or maybe you are a genius and you don’t make bad mistakes and you don’t struggle so much, and everything comes easy to you.
V: Maybe that’s because I’m applying my secret 10 step method of practice.
A: It is so boring. I couldn’t do them all.
V: Just once in your life you could try it.
A: I think my life is too short.
V: (laughs) Better to hit the keyboard several times.
V: Bang the keys.
A: It’s like when I was a girl and studied at the art school, I used to put a book or my notes under my pillow for the night before an exam.
A: Or before a test. Hoping that during the night time, all that information will go up to my head, to my brain, and I will learn everything overnight.
V: Did it help?
A: Well, I haven’t failed any of my exams, so maybe it did help.
V: Did you prepare for those tests in some other way besides putting the textbook under your pillow?
A: Well yes, actually. I read them and I took them before reading them, so.
V: Maybe it’s a combination of both.
A: Could be.
V: Positive thinking, wishful thinking.
A: And actually maybe I need to put that Litanies under my pillow tonight and record them, for example, tomorrow.
V: Mm, good idea.
A: Because I would never put the music under my pillow, but maybe I need to start doing that.
V: Well then, I would put Vierne’s Fugue from the First Symphony under my pillow.
A: Wonderful! Let’s try that.
V: I already recorded the first part, the Prelude from this symphony, but just can’t get the Fugue up to speed. So I am frustrated, Ausra.
A: So you need to apply your 10 Step program.
V: I did, but it’s not that fast, not that easy, you know. You have to sit for weeks.
A: Maybe you need to add another 10 steps to your program and have not a 10 step program, but 20 step program.
V: Well obviously, I emphasize going from step 1 to step 2, and from step 2 to step 3 in a very methodical manner, because don’t rush. If you rush, let’s say, you just play a difficult piece once through and stop it at the beginning of each beat, and then after that you do the step 2, which is stopping at every half note. If you do that, I don’t think you’re ready to proceed to step 2 yet.
A: Oh yes.
V: I think it’s better to spend some time on step 1 - on each step. Like maybe a day or two or three, play at least 3 times in a row without mistakes each step.
A: Well yes, but for that you need patience.
V: Yeah, that’s right. And we are very impatient these days. We want quick results.
A: Well yes.
V: So Ausra, do you have advice for people who have no patience?
A: (laughs) Hit the keyboard. It won’t hit you back. I’m just kidding, of course.
V: Hit the keyboard and you will feel better.
A: Actually yes, you will feel better. But now that so many people have commented about this particular video, I’m sort of feeling happy because it attracted new subscribers of course to my channel. Of course I received all kinds of comments. Thoughtful like this one, but also some crazy. Some people even did not understand that actually I’m playing on the organ. They thought it’s on the piano, and some didn’t like music at all. Well anyway. But you know, it makes me sort of upset because my serious videos, who I think deserves much more of attention actually are unnoticed, or almost unnoticed, and this one received so many feedback.
V: So much feedback, you mean.
A: Yes, so much feedback.
V: It’s because people are vampires. They long for blood. Blood thirsty. If you bleed, they watch. If you fall down, they watch. If you are hurt, they watch.
A: Do I need to cut my wrists while practicing?
V: No, but you see why this video got more popular than others is because you showed them your emotion, your frustration, which should be embarrassing for professional concert organist, right? To show it in public. People, general audience thinks that difficult advanced pieces can be basically sight-read and fluently played during recital. But obviously not the case.
A: True. Like my cousin just recently asked me if I still need to practice. So people simply don’t understand, those who don’t practice themselves and don’t play musical instruments, how much real time it takes.
V: Yeah. So one way to get attention is to emphasize your mistakes. Which is crazy, right? Your polished videos should attract more attention than these practice videos, but that’s the way people are wired, I guess. If organists are watching this, they are happy to see another organist fail and they’re happy that they’re not in this video themselves, hitting the keyboard. You see the point? Kind of happy for themselves. You make them feel better, you know?
A: Yes. But I make myself sort of like a goat out of myself. Like in the Jewish tradition, do you know that story, they took a goat to desert.
V: And, what happened to the goat?
A: Well, I think it died.
V: Oh, right, right, right! I don’t remember the source of this story, but…
A: I think it’s in the Bible.
V: Sure. But it’s an interesting comparison, yeah. So I guess I also need to play more Vierne Fugue in public failing, hitting the keys and pedals probably, and eventually more people watch. But probably, the point is not to get their attention, though. The point is to master the piece.
A: True, true. But I don’t think you would be able to hit the keyboard like I did, because you don’t have so much passion as I do.
V: Passion for what?
A: Passion for life!
A: Passion in general.
V: I see. We’re differently wired, right?
V: Yeah, so I guess our listeners are also different. Some of them are calmer, some more passionate like you.
A: Yes, and you are simply happy all the time. I don’t know what about.
V: I try to think that life is too short to worry about it, about failures.
A: And I think that life consists of all these various emotions, and you have to live it through.
V: Good. Are you frustrated right now?
A: No, I’m not.
V: You’re calm.
V: Maybe because you had lunch?
A: (laughs) That’s one of the reasons.
V: I’m calm too. Maybe I’m digesting. Hm. I know: I eat more than you, that’s why I’m calmer.
A: Maybe I need to start to eat more.
V: Hm. Not sure where this discussion leads, but okay. So guys, please send us more of your questions if you like to see Ausra fail more. (laughs) And me! We would be happy to show you our frustrations. 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?
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