Lesson Archives - Page 8 of 9 - Heidi Bender

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April 10, 2014

April 2014 Organ Lesson and my first YouTube video

Last Saturday, my organ lesson did not start out very well. It felt disastrous to me! I choose to start with the hymn, “At the Name of Jesus”. I felt nervous performing for Michael. I also had to adjust to this pipe organ as it had been 8 weeks since my previous lesson. I played wrong notes and had trouble with the syncopation. I had hoped to get a passing mark on this hymn but I had too many issues and it will remain on my assignment list.

The next hymn “O Love, How Deep” went much better. I enjoy playing this hymn. The coordination needed for the pedal line was a challenge and learning it felt like an accomplishment. Before moving on, I asked Michael to record me playing it. This recording is below!!!

My first ever YouTube video.

It is not perfect.

I was scared to post it knowing that it could have been better. My friends and co-workers have given me so much encouragement and support since viewing it that I am realizing it is okay that it is not perfect. This video represents how I played for those 30 seconds.

Also, Michael pointed out that even the video was not flawless, I kept going. I didn’t stop or hesitate. I did not continue to play subsequent wrong notes. I kept moving and found the right notes. We will all have rough spots in life. It’s how we get back on track that is important.

The rest of the lesson went fairly well. I received a passing mark on “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”. I still need to work on “Berceuse”. I have improved enough on the prelude of Prelude and Fugue in F Major (BWV 559), that my next challenge is to play it faster and work towards a performance tempo. We ran out of time and only spent a minute or two on the Fugue.

Michael declared that I am capable of playing every hymn in the United Methodist hymnal. He means the technical aspect. The harder challenge is learning the art of playing each hymn. I was assigned two new hymns: “Crown Him with Many Crowns” and “Be Thou My Vision”.

I hope you enjoy the video! Thanks for watching it.

January 4, 2014

Making it more complicated than it needs to be – December 2013 Lesson

My hands on the swell manual
My hands on the swell manual

My hands on the swell manual. Is that the best fingering?

I met with Michael at the end of December for my last lesson of 2013. The lesson went well overall. I demonstrated improvement since my previous lesson which was an accomplishment itself. December was a very busy month with concerts and activities to attend. I also had a nasty cold for a week which decreased my practice time.

During the lesson, I was reminded of an important lesson that we can all apply to our lives:

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be!

Prior to my lesson I had spent time working out some new fingerings (which finger will be used for the key corresponding to each note). I thought I was being crafty and thinking it through, exploring all of the options, and making the best choice. My goal was to determine efficient fingerings that would also be comfortable for my hands. Even after deciding the fingerings I thought were best, I still had trouble executing the section.

In playing this section at my lesson, Michael noticed that was having trouble. I tend to hesitate when I’m not confident in the fingerings. Michael watched my fingers. Then he offered an alternate fingering. His way was much easier and less complicated. It was an approach that I had not considered. With enough repetition, I would have eventually made my fingering choice work. But, oh how thankful I am for any easier way!

In our every day lives, we can benefit from input from from others if we are open to it. In this case taking the advice was easy. Michael is my teacher and I pay him to give instruction and guidance. Recognizing when we are complicating things can be a challenge. However, with experience, we can learn our own signals. Like for me, if I continue to struggle with a fingering that is a red flag. Another tactic, is to take a step back and ask yourself, “is there an easier way?” when things feel complicated.

If you are making things more complicated than they need to be, ask others for input. Or check out Marc and Angel’s blog where they share 28 tips to make your life less complicated on their blog. An outside perspective could be the key!

June 25, 2013

Completing a goal

A year ago I set a goal to practice ten hours in a week. This week, for the first time ever, I am on track to reach this goal. I have failed at the same goal for more than 52 weeks in a row! I admit that most weeks I haven’t really tried after I realized it was more of a challenge than I anticipated.

It’s been over a year, why now? Why this week? 

Close up of Calendar showing practice times.

Close up of Calendar showing practice times.

I was able to practice for 5 hours between Saturday and Sunday giving me hope that I can actually do it. Part of completing a goal is actually believing that you can do it! I had felt discouraged initially when I didn’t reach the goal. For many weeks, I hoped to be at 10 hours by the end of the week, without planning for the time in advance. I said I would plan in advance but never followed through with the planning.

I also have an organ lesson coming up on Saturday. It’s been 9 weeks since my last lesson and I want to finish strong and play the best I can at my lesson. Prior to other lessons, the week leading up to my lesson did not contain much practicing which impacted my performance at the lesson.

What goals do you need to finish? The Time Management Ninja blog has great information and tips on completing goals. I recommend 10 Questions You Must Answer About Your Goals if you need some motivation to get started.