April 2017 Organ Lesson - Changing my practice habits (again)
April 26, 2017

April 2017 Organ Lesson – Changing my practice habits (again)

Last Saturday, I had another organ lesson. The highlight of the lesson was receiving approval of my playing of “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee”. And I will be starting on the Fugue from the Prelude and Fugue in E Minor. Between now and the next lesson, I will be polishing the prelude.

Most of the lesson was like other lessons. I was able to play through the pieces at home the night before. They sounded okay to me. Then, at my lesson, I am not able to play them as well. This is due to my practice habits and geometry.

April 2017 Organ Lesson - Changing my practice habits (again)

Practice Habits

I am having to face the fact that my practice habits are hindering my progress. I am not using the tools I know that will help me, like the metronome and recording myself. I have heard this from Michael before, but have failed to make permanent change.

Change is hard. Earlier this year, I read The Compound Effect (affiliate link). This book emphasizes small changes as they are easier to stick to long term. The small new habit can have a big impact when done consistently over a long period.

I am going to focus on using the metronome during every practice session. That seems like a small change to integrate.

I did successfully break my toe hopping habit I mentioned in my previous post!

Geometry

And I had the problem of not being able to quickly adjust to the organ at Michael’s church. All organs are not same. The church’s organ has 3 manuals (keyboards) while mine has 2 manuals. And the height of the bench (neither is adjustable) is different.

The distance to the manuals and pedals are different enough to through off my playing. This cannot be an excuse and will be something I need to overcome this to be able to play at churches or funeral homes.

The solution is to play on other organs more often! My husband said I can’t buy another home organ (maybe another free one will come my way!) now (we don’t really have space for it). Being able to play at local churches occasionally would help, if I can make an arrangement. I’m not ready to substitute for another complete service yet!

Remembering my original goal

When I started out taking lessons more than 7 years ago, my main goal was to be able to play for a church. My progress has been much slower than I expected.  And, playing the organ well is much more difficult than I ever imagined. Michael and I discussed my goal briefly as he feels maybe I need to play for a church to get some momentum with progress.

Then, the day after my lesson, I attended a local chorale concert. The group sang “Lift High the Cross” accompanied by organ. That is one of my favorite hymns, which I discovered only after I started lessons and heard it played on Pipedreams. This may have been the first time I’ve heard it performed live.  Hearing it again helped me remember why I started on the path to becoming an organist!

Have you had success changing a habit?

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February 2017 Organ Lesson - Toe Hopping habit
June 2017 Organ Lesson - Tempo Redistribution

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June 2017 Organ Lesson - Tempo Redistribution - June 30, 2017 Reply

[…] my previous lesson, I decided to write down how I am practicing. This way, when Michael asks me “how did I […]

Roger H - May 21, 2017 Reply

Thanks for the wonderful list of resources. And congratulations on your courage and perseverance. That first public service can be tough. I’d suggest you consider gaining confidence by finding a smaller church where the environment is less intimidating, or volunteer for Sunday evening or Wednesday services. You might also consider playing organ, or even some piano, for smaller gatherings (Bible study, etc.), to gain confidence. There’s no substitute for playing time in public. Best wishes!

Mom - April 28, 2017 Reply

Change is hard. Somewhere I read it takes 21 days to change a habit. That is a long time if you are trying to not to eat sweets or maybe no bread. Must be why people are always starting over when trying to change diet plan.
Exercise is hard until you sort of get addicted to it.
Changing computer programs can be hard.
Changing the way you practice will be hard but worth it.

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