June 2012 Lesson

Last Saturday, I met with Michael Gartz for another organ lesson. Before my lesson started Michael played through a few of the pieces that he would play during service the following day. This would have been the perfect opportunity for me to take a few pictures of the church and pipe organ. I didn’t think of this until after I was home. But as always, I enjoyed listening to him play!

This lesson was like many others. I played pieces and Michael provided instruction and pointed out issues. The most profound problem was my continued inability to keep a consistent tempo. This is depressing, but I will not give up!

I need to change the way I think about sixteenth notes. When I encounter them in a slower piece I play them much faster than they should be. I don’t really have an explanation for why I think this, but it is evident when I play. I don’t always hear the issue myself though and sometimes I think I have corrected the issue between lessons but really have not.

In the Bach piece, which I have been working on for over a year, I do not play the sixteenths consistently, especially in the difficult sections. This means that some are played at the correct rate of speed but others are too short or held too long. The result is the piece sounds jerky when I play it. Nobody wants to listen to jerky organ music! The world doesn’t need another bad organist.

Until my next lesson, I will be using the metronome as I practice to help me correct the tempo issue. If you have any suggestions please post a comment!

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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.

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