March 2013 Lesson – A lesson in multitasking

A couple of Saturdays ago, I traveled to Toledo for an organ lesson. The theme of the lesson became multitasking as I had trouble learning the new hymns and Bach piece assigned at my previous lesson. What do you think of first when you here “multitasking”? I think of my job where I often have several tasks going at once. 

How does this apply to an organist?  

Organists need to be very good at multitasking to be successful. Each hand and foot usually has it’s own “task” to handle. The notes for the left hand will not be the same as the right. The feet are playing the pedals. The tempo must remain consistent. Registration (stops) may need to be changed throughout a piece. Pages may need to be turned. Some organists also direct a choir while they play! 

I’ve learned that playing the organ is harder than it looks! To improve more quickly, I need to practice each “task” independently. For example, learning the part for each hand separately before playing them together. 

What could you learn more quickly if you broke it down into smaller pieces?
Music from Sainte-Clotilde, Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival
Would you stop for a free concert?
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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.

6 thoughts on “March 2013 Lesson – A lesson in multitasking”

  1. Wow Heidi…what a task. I can manage two hands and a foot pedal on piano but organ is much more difficult. I know you practice a lot so someday you will be perfect. Several things I do have many steps but guess maybe not actually called multi tasking. Things like cooking. Some recipes have many steps before you put everything together. Even my scrapbooking has many steps before putting a page togeter.

  2. I think with most things breaking it down into parts and learning them and putting it back together is a great way to learn. I teach softball and baseball pitching and hitting and I have broken each down into steps where I get the player to concentrate on one step at a time as we practice even after they are good at putting it together. I think it helps to always come back to working on the basics to continue to improve. Keeps you out of bad habits too.

  3. That’s a lot of multitasking! And coordinating movements, too, it sounds really tricky. Hope everything starts to move smoothly for you. 🙂


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