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Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast

Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast

By Secrets of Organ Playing
Conversations about all things organ playing. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene talk with experts from the organ world - concert and church organists, improvisers, educators, composers, organ builders, musicologists and other people who help shape the future of our profession.
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SOPP641: How do you decide on a tempo for these preludes and fugues?

Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast

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SOPP651: My goal is to become a church organist and excel in hymn playing
This question was sent by Doug, and he answered my question, What is your goal in organ playing, and what are some challenges that he faces when he tries to reach this goal.  So the goal is to become a church organist, and basically advanced in hymn playing.  And the challenges are three: Pedal techniques. Taking a hymnal with one line and converting it to swell, great and pedals on the fly. Grand Orgue or Hauptwerk conversion for home organ to practice on.
14:34
April 14, 2021
SOPP649: I thought that if there is a pickup measure in a song that the last measure of the song and the first measure should add up to one measure
This question was sent by Bob, and he’s taking our Melodic Dictation Course Level 1.  He writes, "Vidas, I have a question about 4 kl. 280 in Melodic Dictation Week 9. I thought that if there is a pickup measure in a song that the last measure of the song and the first measure should add up to one measure. But in this case there is a rest contained in the last measure, so the two measures do not add up to one measure. How do I decide whether I should add the rest or not? Or is it one of those times that it does not matter? Thanks. Bob"
12:23
April 14, 2021
SOPP644: My dream is to serve as an organist and lead the choir in my church organisation
This question was sent by Paje, and this is the answer to my question, “What is the goal in organ playing, and what are some challenges that get in the way of this goal. So: “1. Dream to serve as an organist and lead the choir in my Church Organisation. 2. Lack of consistent mentorship, lack of accountability, lack of clarity on what to focus on first as a beginner.”
11:36
March 31, 2021
SOPP647: My dream is to be a great concert Organist, and to be one of the most significant Organ performers in this century
This question was sent by Nabil, and he writes, 1) My dream is to be a great concert Organist, and to be one of the most significant Organ performers in this century. Because I believe I have something new to bring. Also to be the first Organist in a Cathedral (good organs usually are in big churches), to push the people in the church with me looking towards heaven in their prayers by making great music… V:  This was his dream.  Number 2, it’s obviously the challenge, and it is 2) * Not having Organ or even Classical Music atmosphere around me. V:  He lives in Israel.  Also * Planning to study Organ and Church Music in Europe (it's very hard and complicated plan) * I need support in social media to get known Love you and Ausra!!!
13:04
March 17, 2021
SOPP645: These organ shoes would be very good for my funeral
his question was sent by Katrine, and she writes, Thanks for asking about this Vidas. 1. To be as fluent and reliable at organ playing as I am at the piano (professional accompanist/repetiteur by background) 2. Getting the set-up right for feet and being confident that I am practising in a way that will lead to accuracy - not sure if stool height is correct, shoes are perhaps too wide etc. Unclear on where feet should be able to reach (get pain in legs if I stretch too far and have hurt knee trying to insist with my right leg that it can reach the bottom notes!) and not sure how best to practise pedal scales (have seen varying advice on toe/heel use). Many thanks! Katrine
10:53
March 10, 2021
SOPP642: With renewed energy I have heaped my attention on BWV 529, and various choral preludes, BWV 604 a favourite
This question was sent by Rosemary, and she writes,: “Happy New Year greetings to you all. This day dawned breathtakingly beautiful and we will all be glad of the shade in the garden as the heat rises. A new year ahead in which our prayers and hopes are with those frontline workers caring for victims of Covid 19, and discoveries for containment. May you all and your families stay safe. Your comments, goals and plans are incredibly inspirational for me, with renewed energy I have heaped my attention on BWV 529, and various choral preludes, BWV 604 a favourite. Studying your improvisation and trying out some variations. Thanks to you all and the very best of good wishes for a happy and productive year ahead sharing your wonderful talents. Rosemary”
16:50
March 3, 2021
SOPP640: There can be no doubt that the sight-reading course helped me particularly with issues of rhythm which I always found a weak point so I am grateful for that indeed
This question was sent by Pieter, and he writes,: “Dear Vidas, Thank you for sending me the extra exercise supplementary to the sight reading course. I appreciate that very much. Firstly let me apologise for my late response after finishing the course. It has been rather busy with various things. You may recall that when I first approached you asking your advice my goal to improve my sightreading skills was very much focussed on obtaining the CRCO (Colleague of the Royal College of Organists) diploma. I had already achieved credits for the paperwork and repertoire but not the musicianship tests. I am pleased to tell you that I achieved the last part of the qualification in the summer session and I therefore now have my CRCO qualification! I was really delighted to achieve this as it was a real challenge for me but after a lot of work, my efforts paid off! There can be no doubt that the sightreading course helped me particularly with issues of rhythm which I always found a weak point so I am grateful for that indeed. Although transposition was something I found slightly less challenging, this is also a sort of sightreading so I am sure the course helped me there too! I think I am done with organ diplomas so I will concentrate on learning repertoire now and just enjoying playing the instrument that I love but I have to say that my all round musicianship skills have improved through the experience of preparing for a challenging qualification and that has to help my playing in the general sense.This question was sent by Pieter, and he writes,: “Dear Vidas, Thank you for sending me the extra exercise supplementary to the sight reading course. I appreciate that very much. Firstly let me apologise for my late response after finishing the course. It has been rather busy with various things. You may recall that when I first approached you asking your advice my goal to improve my sightreading skills was very much focussed on obtaining the CRCO (Colleague of the Royal College of Organists) diploma. I had already achieved credits for the paperwork and repertoire but not the musicianship tests. I am pleased to tell you that I achieved the last part of the qualification in the summer session and I therefore now have my CRCO qualification! I was really delighted to achieve this as it was a real challenge for me but after a lot of work, my efforts paid off! There can be no doubt that the sightreading course helped me particularly with issues of rhythm which I always found a weak point so I am grateful for that indeed. Although transposition was something I found slightly less challenging, this is also a sort of sightreading so I am sure the course helped me there too! I think I am done with organ diplomas so I will concentrate on learning repertoire now and just enjoying playing the instrument that I love but I have to say that my all round musicianship skills have improved through the experience of preparing for a challenging qualification and that has to help my playing in the general sense.
16:48
February 24, 2021
SOPP643: My challenge is with getting enough courage to play hymns with pedals
This question was sent by Whitney, and she writes, My challenge is with getting enough courage to play hymns with pedals. I can do it fine when practicing, but I get way too nervous when I’m playing at Mass.
11:47
February 17, 2021
SOPP638: As you know, I am not 'original' in my writing as I recognize everything I create is derivative - a fusion of everything I have ever heard or played
This question was sent by Graham, and he comments on my recording of the practice session of his Idyll. So he writes,: “Wonderful, Vidas! It was written in the summer of 2020 during the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic. I saw a competition advertised for a meditative piece for organ and this composition appeared nearly instantly! I do love Erik Satie's 'Gymnopedies' (I have heard you play No 2 on the organ!) and there is a strong French impressionist influence in this piece. It came together remarkably quickly from an initial improvisation to the finished composition as I was very near the deadline for submitting for the competition. As you know, I am not 'original' in my writing as I recognize everything I create is derivative - a fusion of everything I have ever heard or played. I love the music of Cole Porter and George Gershwin and Irving Berlin . . . so there is a trace of those songsters deep inside the piece as well. It sounds gorgeous on the Salisbury Willis - a sound I never expected to hear. THANK YOU!”
12:04
February 17, 2021
SOPP636: I still feel like I am a slow learner, but I know how to pull apart a new piece and start making it work
This question was sent by Steven, and he writes: “Hi Vidas. Organ playing is going okay, thank you for asking. These days I am making more time for practice, which is key. I still feel like I am a slow learner, but I know how to pull apart a new piece and start making it work. Pedal work continues to improve, with the biggest aspect I'm noticing is my accuracy. The right foot position (like keeping toes touching the "black" pedals) seems to be super helpful. I have a teacher, and we have lessons every other week for one hour. I typically work up a couple hymns out of the ELW, sometimes an introduction or related piece with those hymns. Then I have several other pieces in various states of progress.”
09:20
February 10, 2021
SOPP634: Once the pandemic hit hard, I decided it was time to get an organ for my house so I could practice whenever it would be convenient for me
This question was sent by Andrew, and he writes: “I just wanted to say thank you for your "Mastering" series on YouTube. I am a percussionist turned organist, and every time I'm struggling to learn a new piece, it really helps to watch your videos. Even though I'm not learning the same music as you, the same principles of practicing apply, and I learn so much better when I remind myself to take things in small parts in repetition. You are doing a wonderful job of producing great content to help people like me. Right now, I'm working on "In dulci jubilo" by JM Bach, "Nun danket" by Karg-Elert, and "I Love Thee, My Lord" by Shearing, as well as some other long term Franck pieces that will be taking me a while to finish learning. The most challenging thing for me in playing organ is developing my kinesthetic sense between hands and feet, so I don't have to look away from the music and lose my place. I'm not a keyboard player by training, so I'm trying to take things slowly and learn from my mistakes as they happen, instead of just getting frustrated. Once the pandemic hit hard, I decided it was time to get an organ for my house so I could practice whenever it would be convenient for me. I also have a 2 year old son, so it's hard to get away from home for a long time to practice at church. I bought a nice custom package from Content Organs that I enjoy, but I also really like your creative setup and what you were able to put together from online stores. Looking forward to seeing more videos from you soon! Thanks! Andrew Fuhrman Austin, Texas, USA PS I will support you on Patreon!”
15:16
February 3, 2021