SOPP623: Although I often needed more than fifteen minutes to work on a given assignment, my feet now know where to go and my hips and body now support my balance and the ability to play a passage legato while avoiding foot strain
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 623 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Robert, and he writes,
I completed your Pedal Virtuoso Master Course in late August and upon your request, below you will find my feedback.
Without a doubt, I am very happy to have taken your course! I discovered it online at the beginning of June after searching for ways to improve my pedal technique which was holding my organ playing back. My goals consisted of learning how to sit comfortably on the organ bench so that I could play the pedals and maintain my balance, discover for myself how to develop more flexibility in my ankles, and learn how to use my feet more efficiently in order to play more advanced passages as well as reduce strains put on my foot muscles and joints (i.e., prevent future injuries).
After spending twelve weeks working on the given assignment for the day, to my surprise, each goal saw improvement and not just a slight improvement! Although I often needed more than fifteen minutes to work on a given assignment, my feet now know where to go and my hips and body now support my balance and the ability to play a passage legato while avoiding foot strain. One thing I did that helped solidify what I had learned in previous weeks, was to review previous assignments in addition to the daily assignment. Currently I am reviewing the course by playing every scale and arpeggio from a given tonality three times a day for one week (this is my fourth week, so I am reviewing scales and arpeggios in E minor which is Day 1, No. 4 from each of the twelve weeks).
Transferring this success into repertoire, I can now play Moto Ostinato from Nedělní Hudba (now known as Musica Dominicalis) by Petr Eben with far more control and accuracy than ever before; by working on my pedaling, the hands are able to play the manuals without distractions due to poor balance. As far as looking at a piece I have wanted to play that seemed like an impossibility before this course, I am now able to play the last three studies of Ten Studies for Pedal Playing by Flor Peeters at a slow tempo; I now have techniques that will enable me to play these studies successfully in the near future.
As far as possible improvements to your Pedal Virtuoso Master Course, if you could make a few more videos demonstrating some of the exercises in various weeks of the course, this would be very helpful. I am truly grateful for the two arpeggios you made for me last month on YouTube because I got to see the roles that your hips and body play in enabling you to play the pedals at the extremes of the pedal board (especially in octaves). The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when it comes to pedal playing but in my experience, a video is worth a million words (my wife suggested that I spare you a long list of questions by asking you to make a video)! I also think that a few more videos on YouTube might give you more students; after all, that is how I found your course.
In the future if you should offer another course pertaining to pedal mastery (such as Part II dealing with trills or historical pedaling), I would definitely be interested in taking it. Also, if it is okay with you, I would like to email you any additional pedal questions that I may have, should they arise.
In closing I cannot thank you enough for designing a course that has helped me to improve my pedal and organ playing exponentially. I am also very grateful for the two videos you made upon my request as well as the pedal gifts (Bach’s Pedal-Exercitium and Alkan’s Etude No. 1) that I practice every day, in addition to reviewing your course.
All the best to you, your wife, and all that you do.
PS: If anyone is looking for organ shoes with heels that are 2 or 3 centimeters in height, I strongly recommend Tic-Tac-Toes (a dance shoe company that makes organ shoes as well) from Gloversville, New York, USA. They are more expensive than other organ shoe companies that I am aware of, but I am very happy with my 1 ¼ inch heel (3.175 centimeters) organ shoes. Hope this information is of help to you.
V: This is a very long feedback that Robert wrote, and I’m very grateful for it.
A: Yes, it’s very nice, and I think on the top of it, there is not much that we could add to it.
V: Other than to promise to make more videos, right?
A: Sure, because it seems that it really helps people to learn, and to improve pedaling skills.
V: Yeah. He’s so dedicated. I don’t require students to refresh the materials on a regular basis from this course. After you learn everything, you could play other pieces. But no - he comes back to the course and plays for a week, three times a day, those exercises.
A: Well it’s true, this letter shows that Robert is a really hard working student. And he’s also an excellent writer. I really much enjoyed, very much, how he put together all his words and all his feedback about your course. So well organized. So clearly structured.
V: Yeah, exactly. Wonderful feedback as I said before. And obviously improvement with more videos demonstrating some of the exercises would be really helpful. I just got busy creating other videos for other courses, and probably will come back to creating more videos. Maybe eventually to be a video course, right?
A: Sure. I think people would appreciate it.
V: Okay guys, so if you haven’t checked out Pedal Virtuoso Master Course, Robert obviously thinks you should. And Ausra and I agree. If you would like to get the same or even more improvement that Robert has with his pedal technique, there is no doubt that this course on one level or another will be helpful to you, even if you don’t work as diligently as Robert, you will still notice much improvement.
A: Yes, I believe so.
V: Yeah. All right, guys. Please send us more of your questions. We really appreciate it. 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.