Category Archives for "Goals"
It’s been 2 weeks since my last organ lesson. The delay in writing this post is because the lesson was tough for me. I relapsed into old habits without realizing it. However, Michael recognized my old habits. One habit that resurfaced was slowing down for harder sections and speeding up in easier sections.
I must admit that I didn’t follow through on the list I made after my previous lesson. The list is sitting on the music rack. I saw it every practice session. I even read it during some of the sessions. But looking back, I wasn’t doing the items on the list.
One positive during the lesson was I finally got Lo, He Comes on Clouds Descending checked off my assignment list. Nothing new was assigned.
Sometimes, I feel like closing the console and looking out the window instead of working on my issues! But I am not giving up.
I am currently reading The Magic of Thinking Big (Amazon affiliate link) by David Schwartz. I came across this encouraging quote after my lesson:
We must have persistence. But persistence is only one of the ingredients of victory. we can try, try, and try and try and try again, and still fail, unless we combine persistence with experimentation. – David Schwartz.
I have been persistent over the last seven years in sticking with organ lessons. What I have been lacking is the experimentation. Michael gave me instructions at the lesson and I will think of them as an experiment.
Between now and my next lesson (currently scheduled for the end of November), I will be working on “becoming the metronome”. To accomplish this, I will be making a very short noise with my mouth (like ta, or tsk, or da) almost with my metronome at first.
This approach is different from my previous attempts to be like the metronome. In the past, if I was practicing with quarter note beat, I would sing or hum the entire beat. Instead of feeling the beat, I was learning to sing it in my own manner which may have not been correct.
What tactics have you used to break old, resurfaced habits?
On July 16, I had another lesson with Michael at his church. I had made some recordings the night before and knew that I was not as far as long as I had wanted to be going into my lesson. I attempted to cram in extra practice that night, however that didn’t improve me enough to get a passing mark on anything at my lesson.
I still do not have the syncopation correct in “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending.” I feel a bit crazy knowing that once again I spent 5 weeks (the time since my previous lesson), practicing it incorrectly! I managed to not cry during my lesson. I am frustrated, but I also want to get it right. This one has been on my assignment list for over a year now!!!!!!!!!
We did the clapping and singing exercises again at this lesson that we did at my previous lesson. I need to do more of that at home. I was good at it the first week or so after my last lesson, but really didn’t make it a habit. And now, Michael says I need to emphasizing the right beats when playing. I suppose it is good that he gave me something new to figure out! Michael played it for me at the end of my lesson and I recorded it to have as a guide.
My next lesson will be sometime in September. It has been easy for me to revert back into old habits a week or so after my lesson.
While I was driving home from the lesson, I got the idea to make a list that I can keep at the organ to help me have better practice sessions. This list will remind of all the things Michael has told me to do at home.
Seeing the list when I practice, will help me make these things a habit and better at home practice. Hopefully, this will lead to improved playing at a faster rate than what I have achieved previously.
What else should I add to the list?
I am still struggling with syncopation. On April 30, I met Michael for another organ lesson. I haven’t played the organ since then. Tomorrow, I will get back on the bench.
My expectations going into the lesson were very high. I had been working on my mindset for a few weeks. I had practiced every day in the week leading up to my lesson.
I knew the classical pieces would need to be repeated as they were not strong enough yet. And I had underestimated the complexity of “Herr; num selbst den Wagen halt”. It looked easy!
I’ve been working on “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending” for over a year. I felt like crying during my lesson, but I managed to hold back the tears. It was better than my previous lesson, so that is a positive, but the syncopation still needs work. Michael gave me a suggestion for a different way to practice. I am hoping this will help me to get it right!
I decided to take a break after my lesson. I was going to have a busy week working on my book and we had a trip planned to visit the Mammoth Caves. This seemed like a good time for a break.
My hope is that taking a break will help me to change some of my practice habits more easily. I need to stay committed to different practice techniques for more than a few days.
I need to make a habit of recording myself even when I think it sounds okay when I play it. I will need to rely on the metronome to help me learn to feel the beat. We noticed that if I made an audible sound for sub-dividing, my tempo was better than when I just did sub-dividing in my head. I will practice making an audible sound along with the metronome.
I am also reading The Power of Neuorplasticity now. I will learn how I can reprogram the “programs” in my brain. Perhaps choosing different thoughts will lead to better organ playing. Time will tell.
Even with the current hardship of syncopation, I still believe that I can learn to play pieces in tempo. I am not giving up!
I haven’t thought of a good question to go along with this post, so I will just thank you for your support!