Jul. 14, 2016
Practicing And Memorizing, Part III
(con't from Part II)
One of the biggest obstacles to learning to play the organ is not having a full size pedalboard at home, or maybe having to travel and not having access to an instrument at all, perhaps for days on end.
Professional musicians as well as amateurs can spend a lot of time traveling and often use this time to practice in their head (photo); when you do this, it's called "internalization."
Having played the instrument for a long time means that it's easier to visualize the keys mentally; however, even if you've only started to learn, you can still internalize the music and practice it away from the instrument.
The way this works is, you mentally visualize the manual and pedal keys, then imagine the physical act of playing short musical phrases -- the movements of hands and feet.
Then, you try to hear in your head, in your "mind's ear," the sound from the page as you "play through" the music in your mind -- all the while imagining how it feels, physically, to perform it.
Some performers find it helpful to even sit at a table and go through the physical hand and foot motions of playing the keys and pedals while sitting in the chair, even though there isn't an instrument in front of them.
A lot of memorization can be done away from the organ this way, by just doing some silent reading of the score, hearing it in your head, and sorting out fingering, hand division, and which foot plays the pedals.
There's no equivalent substitute, of course, for contact with the real thing, but this technique of internalization has the potential for helping a lot with the memory process in situations where it's the only viable alternative.
(con't in Part IV)