July 2016 Organ Lesson: Developing better at home practice

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.

July 2016 Organ Lesson - Developing better at home practice

I still do not have it right!

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.

Developing better at home practice

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.

At Home Practice list of questions:

  • Can you rhythm sing it?
  • Can you clap it?
  • What would Michael say if he was here?
  • Have you made a recording lately?
  • Have you listened to recordings of others playing this?
  • Would it be easier if you played it a bit faster?
  • Are you emphasizing the correct beats?
  • How is the tempo?
  • Are you making a sound when you play?
  • Have you checked this with the metronome?
  • Are you following the marks Michael added to the score?

What else should I add to the list?

June 2016 Lesson: Ending the insanity practice method
October 2016 Lesson - When persistence with experimentation is required
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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 “July 2016 Organ Lesson: Developing better at home practice”

  1. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting a practice session started. About 15 minutes in, I generally enter “the zone” and things go well. Getting to the zone is the difficult part. Your list of questions is a good list.

  2. That seems like a good list to me. Maybe you are not really focused at practice time.
    Is it the last thing on your list of “things to do today”?
    You are committed to a lot things so maybe need to switch order around once in awhile or take just one thing off
    the “must do” for a week or two and spend extra time at practicing the organ.


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