Confidence and practice technique – April 2013 Lesson

Last Saturday at my lesson two themes emerged: confidence and practice technique.


I have been learning the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” for several months. I choose to start my lesson with this piece. I was nervous as it had been 6 weeks since my last lesson. Also, I had lost a week of practice time due to illness. When I am nervous, my playing sounds nervous. My first couple of attempts did not go so well. Finally, Michael told me to focus. He knew I could do it. Then I played the hymn much better. I need to learn to have confidence going into to a lesson as eventually as I will need confidence once I am ready for public performances.

Practice Technique:

We ended the lesson with Fugue from Prelude and Fugue in C Major (BWV 553) which I have been working on for over a year. I am still having issues with holding a consistent tempo (speed). I slow down for harder sections and speed up for easier sections. This is not a new problem and has been discussed at many lessons. The problem is with how I practice. I keep doing the same things over and over again which ingrain the wrong habits into my brain.

Albert Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

To combat this insanity Michael suggested I practice in small sections, only 3 or 4 measures at a time, alternating with and without the metronome. I should also record myself so that I can get better at critiquing myself and hearing my problems on my own.

Overall, the lesson went well and it was a joy to play the pipe organ. The picture below was taken from the balcony just before my lesson began. As you may remember, the organ at Trinity Episcopal Church is in the balcony. This is the organist’s view of the nave from the balcony.

Organist’s view from balcony at Trinity Episcopal Church
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Heidi Bender writes about her experiences of learning to play the organ. She started on the adventure in 2009.

She also writes on her website Tons of Thanks, which helps people write thank-you notes. Heidi is also a cat lady who writes at The Joy of Cats.

4 thoughts on “Confidence and practice technique – April 2013 Lesson”

  1. That is a beautiful place. Practice does not make perfect… perfect practice makes perfect. When I teach softball pitching, baseball pitching, and hitting I break it down into about 10 different things they must do to get it right and we only concentrate on one of those at a time. We practice each a few times and then I have them do it all without thinking. I try to build proper muscle or technique memory this way so that they do not have to think about how they will do the next step. It becomes ingrained in how they do it. One step practiced at a time again and again.

  2. Hi Heidi,

    I have a mug which says “insanity is inhereited
    from your kids”. Maybe Albert’s definition is better. I agree that practice over and over the wrong way does not produce a better outcome. Dad just finished your book about habits. Maybe skim through it again and see if there is a bebifical thought for you. I like the apperance of the church. Those lights are similar to the ones in my church when I was growing up. Mom


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