Welcome to The LDS Organist Blog

The purpose of this blog is to help pianists learn to become true organists. Many individuals believe that if you play the piano you can play the organ, but the instruments differ greatly. While this blog is specifically geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, much of the information shared can be utilized by all. I hope that the information I share here will help you become an effective organist in your ward, stake, or other congregation.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Line Upon Line

Teaching keyboard
Image Source

Have you ever learned from someone who seems to know exactly what you need and when you need it? My organ teacher constantly amazes me. When I began studying with her after a break of over a decade, my technique was pretty poor when it came to hand position and wrist movement.

Instead of overwhelming me with everything I was doing wrong, she first had me work on quieting my right wrist.

When I had that under control, we worked on my left wrist.

Once I was doing okay there, we worked on me pressing the keys with less force.

Then we worked on starting to curve my fingers and not approaching the keyboard with flat fingers.

Once again we had to work on quieting my wrists.

Then we started to work on pulling my hands forward and curving my fingers.

Every time I had plenty of time to master the concept and didn't realize how far I still had to go. Each success was met with praise and encouragement. Now I'm working on an excercise where my fingers stay in front of the black keys at all times.

As I practiced that exercise this morning, I couldn't help but contrast this experience with another teacher I had in the past:

As a self-taught flute major, I had issues with some technical aspects of playing the flute. My flute teacher was trying to help me, but she lacked the depth and experience necessary to teach me properly. Instead of changing things "line upon line," at every lesson I was given four or five new things to try, then the next week I was given four or five different things to try. At the end of the semester, I felt like I couldn't even play the flute anymore!

When learning the organ, or teaching others to play the organ, make small and simple changes. Don't overwhelm yourself or your student with huge changes. Start small and before you know it, great things will happen.

1 comment:

  1. I've had no official organ, and sometimes understand in striking detail what I've been missing. For instance, I bet if I managed to keep my fingers in front of the black keys, I'd have fewer problems accidentally hitting thumb pistons and changing all my stops at inopportune times :)

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