On January 16, I had my first organ lesson of 2016. Sometime in December, I decided that working on 6 pieces was too many at one time given that I only practice about 30 minutes a session and 4 of the pieces were assigned at my previous lesson. We focused on the 4 pieces that I had spent time on. At the end of the lesson, Michael looked at the Walcha prelude he had assigned previously (this is one that I stopped practicing) and decided that I wasn’t ready for it yet and switched me to #12 in the Walcha book: Herr; num selbst den Wagen halt.
I also shared that I am not able to easily play through the older pieces that I have learned. Michael said if I learned the piece well, that it should come back fairly quickly. I am hoping that turns out to be true as I spent more than a year learning some of the pieces.
Michael also suggested that I start practicing sight reading for at least 5 minutes a practice session. He explained how to figure out the tempo of a hymn by looking at the time signature and singing it until the first breath should occur. if I can’t make it in one breath, than its too slow.
Due to having surgery this past week to have 2 dental implants put in, I have only had one day so far where I’ve practiced the sight reading. I hope learning to sight read becomes a turning point in my progress!
The Syncopation Nemesis
This lesson was like many past lessons. I continue to struggle with syncopation. I understand the math behind the note values but there is a disconnect between my mind and my hands. I tend to hold on to the dotted note too long. Or then I over compensate and do not hold it long enough. This means I am not “feeling the beat”.
While playing “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending”, I was able to play it correctly (eventually) with the metronome. At home, I have been working on “feeling the beat” and subdividing.
It seems that I am not to the point where I can trust myself yet and will need to do more practicing with the metronome. I also need to get in the habit of recording myself more often so that I can hear the issues myself at home.
Some Good News
“O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” was interesting as I thought I had the problem of playing the eighth notes as quarter notes when I learned it. Michael said my playing of it was fine but on the slow side. This was good news. The real issue is that I have been learning it very slowly. A few days before my lesson, when I checked the tempo at home with metronome I wasn’t able to play it at performance speed. I am on the right track with this one and need to practice it more often to get it to performance tempo.
I will get there!!
Despite the issues, Michael has confidence that I have the chops to play these pieces correctly. I will keep working and plan for success!
How have you defeated syncopation issues?