At the start of my organ lesson on June 11, I shared with Michael how depressed I felt after the previous lesson. That lesson felt like rock bottom.
He asked “What did you do about it?”
I told him about taking a break. The break was 11 days off. Then I practiced for 3 days and took another 7 days off. This is the longest break I have taken since I started organ lessons in 2009.
I also decided to practice how he has been telling me practice for years. I’d been doing the insanity approach for the past few years: practicing in the same way, hoping for a different result at my lesson.
This meant I needed to make a sound along while playing. Not just in my head. Not just relying on the metronome to make the sound for me.
He asked “Why did it take so long to actually do what he said?”
This is a very interesting question. I have been paying him for advice as my teacher for over six years. At most (if not all) lessons, he encouraged me to make a sound while I played.
* In the past, I was making the sound in my head and thought it would be the same effect.
* The metronome felt like a suitable replacement.
* I would try it for a day or two, and then revert back into my old habits.
* I didn’t want to admit that I needed to make a sound to be able to play on tempo
* I had tried making a sound on my own (without using the metronome at the same time), only to discover at a lesson that my sound making wasn’t reliable.
* Feeling embarrassed to make sounds in front of Michael at my lessons.
* Maybe a part of me didn’t believe it would work for me
What I did during my practice time
I practiced making a sound aloud along with the metronome. I needed the metronome to keep me honest. I also recorded myself much more often, with and without the metronome.
Instead of practicing 6 pieces, I focused on the 3 hymns and the Bach prelude.
Turns out, practicing how Michael said worked! I could play on tempo at my lesson! I played “Angels From the Realms of Glory” very well and it was checked off of my list. I still need to keep working on the other 2 hymns, but I am making progress. Michael could tell a difference.
Given my progress, I had the courage to play “Crown Him With Many Crowns” by memory for Michael. I have been playing this piece for warm up at home. He said it was at 95% and gave me a couple of suggestions for improvement.
Stay Fresh, Refresh Update
Then I shared my goal of remembering how to play the pieces I had learned once but I have forgotten how to play. Back in January, a Facebook Memory reminded me of Nun Bitten Wir by Buxtehude.
I have been slowly relearning this piece. I played it for Michael. He said I should work towards polishing and memorizing it.
That way if I am ever at a church or somewhere with an organ, I’d be able to sit down and be able to play something without having music with me.
Michael was also very kind. When I got home I check Nun Bitten Wir with the metronome and I was way off!!!
The morale of this lesson:
If you are doing something and it’s not working, change it up! Resit the insanity method and you also do not need to wait for rock bottom.
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