Apr. 1, 2016

Sharpening Your Playing Tools

You've set a goal to be successful at organ playing, to learn to play this instrument to the best of your ability.
You begin a systematic approach to practicing and learning. only to find the hours in the day to devote to it just aren't there.
Your mind tells you that you need a minimum of 30 minutes a day working scales and arpeggios at the piano, 30 minutes a day for stretch exercises, 30 minutes a day for pedal exercises, 30 minutes a day for sight reading, 30 minutes a day for running over old repertoire, 30 minutes a day for new repertoire, 30 minutes a day for improvisation, etc., every single day, not to mention study of registration, national and historic schools of organ building, harmony, counterpoint, and composition away from the instrument, only to discover that this regimen isn't where your life is.
Your life, through no fault of your own, may be full of frequent interruptions.
Health issues also may have to be considered.
Even with professional organists employed at playing regularly in big places for large groups of people, it just never lets up for them to spend time on things like this, each and every day, without fail.
Some days they may have so much administrative work that they don't make it to the bench.
Or maybe they're too exhausted mentally to make it to the bench.
This happens to the best world class performers, every last one of them, and they have to deal with it, same as you.
We all have to deal with it, each and every one of us.
The difference is, for those who are successful, is that their single minded focus, their strict plan to do the work that's important, no matter what, is still there, day to day.
Being a pro like this, is an attitude.
In today's busy world where everything else is tugging at our time and there can be many unexpected gaps, it's better not to burden our mind down with how many minutes for practicing we have today, or had yesterday, or may have tomorrow, but instead to keep a clear mind for the playing, take what practice time we have, and go on from there [ See blog, Cross Comparing ].
Each time we sit down to the organ, just this simple contact alone plays its own role in helping to keep our playing tools sharp.
Those who are successful make the time they do have with the instrument count.
Every time we sit down and play, even if it's just for 5 minutes, our playing tools are being sharpened.
Where there is contact, sharpening happens.