SOPP496: If you will not find your motivation then you will not find the right touch or good fingering or pedaling

in secretsoforganplaying •  26 days ago 

Vidas: Hi, guys, this is Vidas.

Ausra: And Ausra.

V: Let’s start episode 496, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Delphine. And she wrote an answer to my question when I asked her ‘what are some things you are struggling with’. She writes:

My touch
My fingering
Pedals
Motivation

V: Well, in those four keywords, Ausra, where would you like to start with?

A: Well…

V: Motivation?

A: Motivation probably. Cause if you will not find your motivation then you will not find the right touch or good fingering or pedaling. But I think the motivation is the thing that the person, her or himself, needs to find. Because if you will not want to find it, nobody will help you.

V: That’s right. Ausra, did you have motivation to practice yesterday?

A: Well, yes! I was glad that I had free time and could go to church and practice.

V: I said yesterday because today is early in the morning and we were recording this podcast first thing in the morning so obviously we haven’t had the chance to practice. But yesterday you had.

A: Yes. Because, I think that practice is a privilege and after you realize it you won’t have a motivation problem. Because if you are not motivated enough to practice it means that you don’t understand that, really, practice is a privilege. And the privilege being able to sit down on the organ bench—it’s a big thing. That means that you are healthy enough to be able to practice at all. Think about all those people with disabilities that cannot move, sit in a wheel chair, and if you are sitting on the organ bench it means you are healthy enough to be able to use your legs and your arms and your brain too. So sometimes even thinking about it should be enough for you to motivate you to practice.

V: For me also yesterday was a boost of motivation because I knew that in, in what, in ten days we have an organ duet recital coming up. So if we wouldn’t practice every day now, people who will come to our recital will be deeply disappointed.

A: True. And this is another aspect of motivation that if you are performing and not necessarily during a recital but maybe during church service, you help people to uplift them, to inspire them, to make them to feel better. So I think it’s another aspect of being motivated to practice organ. And if you are, for example, a religious person, then there is another aspect for you to be motivated and to practice the organ. Because so much of organ repertoire is based on the religious god.

V: So you glorify the God.

A: True. And I think for religious person this must be also that motivation.

V: Then practice is like a prayer.

A: True.

V: In some sorts. Prayers can be multi-faceted—have multiple angles of emotions.

A: Plus also if you are sort of physically active person then it should be for you a privilege to practice organ too. Because I don’t any other instrument that you would be moving your arms and legs at the same time. So it’s kind of physical activity too, playing organ.

V: Mmm-hmm. Of course. But please take frequent breaks. Before you get tired you have to get up and start moving again.

A: Yes. Yesterday we have practiced only half of our program. So today we are, will be working on the second half.

V: Yeah. And let’s talk now about her touch. How to learn the correct touch on the organ.

A: Well, the best teacher of the right touch is actually the clavichord. But what to do if you don’t have it, then maybe Vidas can help you.

V: Vidas! Why Vidas?

A: Because I saw in your eyes that you want to talk about.

V: Because I’m the smart one.

A: True.

V: Okay. Thank you for the compliment. I think that the touch on the organ is a different one from the piano. Because piano responds on the strengths of your depression of the keys or pedals. But on the organ we try to use as little force as possible, and try to keep the fingers with the contact, in contact with the keys at all times, if possible, whenever possible. At the beginning if it’s not very difficult piece, I think it’s one hundred percent possible. So even those fingers who are not playing at the moment should not be lifted up in the air, but should be gently resting on the keys, not depressing them but resting. Okay, that’s about finger position. And touch should be light. Just think about mezzo-piano, I would say. Pianissimo might be to soft to even depress the keys—not enough force, not enough weight. But mezzo-piano would be probably enough for most of instruments.

A: I agree.

V: Unless you are playing a heavily mechanical instrument with very heavy couplers, like we have at St. Johns. But we don’t use them too often. Okay? Then there is a touch question about different repertoire, different historical periods. In general speaking, in music composed before 19th Century, we use articulate legato touch with small articulation between each and every note, but not too choppy. And for later music we use general touch legato, with some exceptions.

A: Yes. Such as the end of phrasing or repeated notes.

V: Right. So that’s what she has to know for starters about touch. What about fingering? How to learn correct fingering on the organ? Can you learn it overnight.

A: No. I think it comes with experience, but it also depends on what kind of repertoire you are playing. Because in Baroque time, one fingering was appropriate and later on it changed quite a bit.

V: Mmm-hmm.

A: But of course the easiest way to get the correct fingering would be to get some fingers course for starters.

V: I was just thinking about that, going to suggest that, we have hundreds of scores prepared for you...

A: True.

V: to save you time for starting. And even better, recently, I have been uploading hundreds of videos along with those scores, so you can see my hands and sometimes even my feet, when I play, from above. And whenever I play in a slow motion those pieces, and if you have the scores in front of you, you can compare my fingering with the scores, with the hand position. And Jeremy who actually is on the team who transcribes those scores for us, he mentioned that it’s actually very interesting to see those videos and compare with his own choices. So I guess it’s a learning experience for him too—educational. You can use those as educational resources to learn how to figure out fingering and pedaling for yourself.

A: Yes, this question by Delphine, I think that fingering and pedals question is actually the same question, because...

V: Mmm-hmm.

A: It relates to the same topic.

V: Yeah. For early pedaling we use only toes.

A: And for later you add heels as well.

V: Right. There is some systems of course and we teach them in Pedal Virtuoso Master course, based on scales and arpeggios if you want to get deeper into this subject. Alright guys. But I hope motivation question is paramount here, that we started talking about in the beginning.

A: Yes, and the last think I could add about motivation would be that, think about it. It’s a privilege you are playing the king of instruments.

V: Yes.

A: The organ is the king of instruments, so.

V: Even Mozart would be very glad that you are doing this.

A: That’s right.

V: Mozart’s father.

A: That’s right.

V: Because Mozart wrote his letter to his father about the queen of instruments because actually, in German…

A: That’s because of German, yes.

V: German…

A: language.

V: "Die Orgel" is feminine in German so he used queen. And actually this is a joke then later used by pianists because they say piano is a king of instruments, not organ, because organ is a queen of instruments. But don’t never believe pianists.

A: True.

V: Alright. See you guys. Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice…

A: Miracles happen!

Vidas and Ausra 2 MP 2.jpg

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