Jul. 17, 2016

Interruptions, Part II

(con't from Part I)
When you sit down and attempt to create a spec (specification) of how to divide your time every day at the keys to get somewhere with your organ playing, and you're trying to make yourself into a well rounded musician, the BARE minimum plan usually looks something like this:
1. Manual technique (including piano) -- 15 min.
2. Pedal technique -- 15 min.
3. Sight Reading/Transposition -- 30 min. (15 min. ea.)
4. Improvisation/Modulation -- 30 min.
5. Practicing hymn introductions/playing stanzas different ways/harmonizing a simple hymn tune -- 30 min.
6. Practicing accompanying (choral works/vocal solos) -- 15 min.
7. Practicing/Reviewing old repertoire -- 30 min.
8. Practicing/Learning new repertoire -- 45 min. (3 pieces @ 15 min./ea.)
TOTAL -- 3 hours
This doesn't even include study away from the instrument of such critical and essential subjects as harmony, counterpoint, form, analysis, composition, registration, various national and historic schools of organ building, etc., which form the foundation stones upon which every organist builds his/her own temple of musicianship supported by the 8 pillars of practice listed above.
If, in your workaday schedule, you can devote 3 hours a day, every day, to all 8 of these skill areas, you're feeling well, you're not too tired, and you don't have something interrupting you constantly, pulling you away from it [See blog, Uninterrupted], you're very fortunate indeed.
So many students it seems, even many organists who make their living at it, simply can't follow through with this, each and every day; sometimes, when they play in a big place, it just never let's down for things like this; some days they have so much administrative work that they can't make it to the bench; or maybe they're too exhausted mentally to make it to the bench; their time disappears with the setting sun (photo).
Many amateur talents who love the instrument and its music but don't happen to make their living at it are in the same boat; they might not have 15 minutes all day long to spend on it.
So many of us therefore have to get into a different mind set [See blog, Cross Comparing].
We have to develop a mission.
That mission involves some self-evaluation.
Where our lives are, the size and nature of our supply of printed music, what we've got at home to practice on, our overall health, and whether we're just starting out or coasting on the steam we once had, all need to be factored into the equation.
The same recommendations won't apply to everyone; someone who's taking care of a helpless person around the clock, whose supply of printed music is limited to hymn books, whose personal instrument at home has no pedals, who's dealing with some health issues, and already plays pretty well, will be dividing their time among these 8 skill areas differently than someone whose variables are different.
We need to decide therefore, what it is we're wanting to do with it, where we're already strong and where we could use some work, which of these 8 skills are most necessary to get us there, shift the emphasis to those, and concentrate on them.
No matter how we spend whatever time we have for it, when we're all done the idea is to be able to play so we can enrich our own lives and the lives of others, to get beyond the mechanics and reach the hearts of our listeners, and to enjoy [See blog, Just Play It].
It's important, that all 3 of these things are happening together.
(con't in Part III)