We want smooth mashed potatoes - February 2014 Organ Lesson
February 17, 2014

We want smooth mashed potatoes – February 2014 Organ Lesson

“We want smooth mashed potatoes.” – Michael Gartz.

Mashed Potatoes

Mom’s Mashed Potatoes

I had an organ lesson on February 9, 2014 with Michael. I delayed posting the summary as I wanted a picture of real mashed potatoes. Instead of making my own mashed potatoes, I decided to wait until having Sunday lunch at my mom’s when I knew she would be making some. She makes the best mashed potatoes ever!

So what do mashed potatoes have to do with an organ lesson?

When playing the Prelude from “Prelude and Fugue in F Major” credited to Bach, I had issues with tempo. I played a few of the measures too fast. I have been having this issues for months and it has become a bad habit! Playing these measures too fast makes the music sound lumpy and we do not want lumps! “We want smooth mashed potatoes.” On a positive note, even with the issues I am having Michael indicated that my playing was much better than my previous lesson!

I also had tempo and phrasing issues with the hymn “O Love, How Deep”. Michael decided to demonstrate and he allowed me to make a video of it. I am finding the video to be very helpful. I can see when he lifts his hands and am getting a better feel for how it should sound when played by an excellent organist.

I played through all of my assigned pieces and I will need to repeat them all for the next lesson. I am feeling confident that I will be able to get at least 3 of the 5 checked off at the next lesson. Perhaps, I should have more confidence and aim for 5 of 5!

Perhaps, the most encouraging part of the lesson was what didn’t happen before the lesson. Prior to every lesson I have had so far, I have felt very nervous. This manifested as a strong need to use the bathroom before the lesson. And sometimes I felt like a could barely make it to the church! Prior to this lesson I didn’t have this nervousness and felt calm.I cannot pinpoint what changed but I may have turned the corner in the nerves department!

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April 2014 Organ Lesson and my first YouTube video - April 10, 2014 Reply

[…] performing for Michael. I also and 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 […]

Mom - February 20, 2014 Reply

I was wondering how the mashed potatoes fit in to your lesson.
Nice you think mine are the best. Would be nice if life was as smooth as mashed potaotes.
I never enjoyed doing a recital but some people really like the attention that gives.

    Heidi Bender - February 28, 2014 Reply


    I love your comment “Would be nice if life was as smooth as mashed potatoes.” That sounds like the making for another blog post.


Mary Jane Felix - February 18, 2014 Reply

Do you ever play at recital’s? I was just thinking that when I read your blog. It would be a good experience for you if you did. If you think you are using the bathroom a lot for lessons, enroll in a recital!!!!! hahahahaha

    Heidi Bender - February 18, 2014 Reply

    I have not played a recital yet!

      Ellen - February 22, 2014 Reply

      I enjoyed reading about mashed potatoes as it relates to playing the organ. What a fun way to think of playing smooth!

      The next time I have a recital I hope you could come and play too. It would be fun to have a recital just of students in varying ages and varying stages of development. Maybe in the fall. Your thoughts?

        Heidi Bender - March 12, 2014 Reply

        Hi Ellen,

        The recital with students of all ages sounds like a great idea! Maybe I will feel confident enough by fall.


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