April Showers Bring May Flowers or Practice Brings Performance Success at an Organ Recital

The two”P” words,”Practice and Performance” are the “showers and flowers” of the art of playing the organ. As an organist prepares for a recital, I find the analogy of glorious spring flowers and glorious recital performances fitting.

· Seedlings chosen = organ repertoire chosen. Just as one carefully decides which plants to include in a garden, one must also carefully choose appropriate repertoire for a successful organ performance.

· Soil prepared = fingerings and pedalings prepared, analysis started. A meticulous gardener makes sure the soil of her garden is prepared by tilling, fertilizing, and watering. An organist must do the same careful preparation by diligently marking fingering, pedaling and cadences.

· Plants placed in the soil = slow practice begins with hands and feet alone. As tiny plants are placed in the soil to start taking root, an organist begins slow steps of carefully learning the repertoire so the music takes root in the fingers, feet and mind of the organist.

· Plants are watered = encouragement from teacher, colleagues, family and friends. New plants cannot exist without water and organists learning repertoire cannot succeed without the “you can do it!” encouragement of those in their lives.

· Plants take root = understanding of the piece comes together, parts together practice begins, chordal and cadential analysis continues. As a new plant takes root, it becomes strong. As an organist continues careful practice, the new music becomes strong.

· Plants buffeted by April showers (or rain, heavy wind and hail) = frustration over the number of repetitions needed to learn a cadential phrase or a difficult pedalling start to creep into the practice routine. Plants reeling in the wind of a storm stay in place because their roots are deep. Repertoire studied carefully survives the occasional doubts and frustrations of completing the learning process.

· Plants bask in the sun and start to bud = the slow repetitions with the metronome, the careful work to avoid making a mistake more than three times starts to bring success with what was originally a difficult piece. The arrival of spring buds indicate a plant has survived and persevered through storm and trial. Playing a piece in for the first time its entirety after careful work over many months elicits the joy of a new formed bud.

· Plants send out more roots and buds start to open = soundscapes are chosen to enhance the beauty of the notes now starting to sound like beautiful music. The glory of opening buds displays an inner beauty of a plant, something that has been hidden. When a soundscape is chosen for a piece, it suddenly takes on a new life.

· Buds become flowers = the diligent practice pays off and the full piece is played for the teacher with success. Ah, the beauty of a full blossom. Organ music carefully learned and played successfully for the teacher who has nurtured it and encouraged you from the beginning is a moment of beauty.

· Plant shows its full beauty and glory with every perfectly formed flower surrounded by beautiful foliage = the music chosen, \carefully practiced, nurtured through storm and doubt, now comes to full bloom and is shared with family and friends. Glorious is the moment you become a concert organist.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan has made music her life. She is a performer and teacher and loves sharing her music and helping others realize their goals of becoming organists and pianists. http://www.promotionmusic.org

Jeannine received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oregon specializing in Classical Organ performance with additional studies in Class Piano Pedagogy.

She also actively performs throughout the world and is known for her unique programming which strives to bring music alive for her audiences. Find out more about Jeannine at http://www.promotionmusic.org and the new book On The Heels of an Organist.

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