Many organ players practice and practice and never seem to progress. There is no secret to becoming a better organ player and here are five ways for you to get better fast!
1. Practice every day.
Practicing every day is your foundation to becoming a better player, if it is correct practicing. There are no excuses for not getting some time in at the organ every day. I have seen students practice on airplane fold-down trays, hotel room desks and even in their laps! It's like brushing your teeth; get in the habit of doing it every day. Remember, if you're not practicing your competition is.
2. Practice with a goal.
Practicing is work. Too many people "run" through their song to get it done with. This will get you nowhere. Before working on your piece for the day set out a goal to accomplish that day and don't stop until it is achieved. The best musicians never say "Am I done yet?" Don't practice it until you get it right (this leads to the mistakes coming back); practice it until you can't play it wrong.
3. Practice the hard parts first.
I know this is tough to do, but you will accomplish more and feel better about it. Find the hardest section in the piece and work on that first, make it become the best and easiest part of the song and you will never had that dread of "Oh no, here comes the hard part of the song!" while you are playing the piece. Work on the sections of the song that need the extra work and then play the whole song from beginning to end.
4. Practice without mistakes.
Many people think this is impossible, but it is not. It all comes down to control of speed and focus. If you are making too many mistakes you are simply playing too fast. Get out the metronome or tun on the rhythm unit and go slow enough to play it five times in a row without a mistake. Then advance to the next faster speed (one notch at a time). Playing fast and clean is easier than you think, but it only comes from learning it slow and without mistakes first. Concerntrate on what you are playing and then try altering from legato to staccato, or from timing of long-short to short-long. Play smaller sections until they are clean and then add on another section. Many people think "Well I only played one mistake on the page" but if you play only one mistake on each page and the piece is 15 pages, that is 15 mistakes!
5. Practice the power of five.
Practice the part or piece at least five times. Once does nothing, twice is jut warming up, three times won't get you any better, four times is just barely getting it and five times is solidifying what you have learned.
If five times is not enough you are either playing it too fast or you need another five times. There have been times when I have argued with myself saying "I don't want to play it another two times!", but I know that this is only hurting my own playing and I play the song two more times.
In playing the organ there are no shortcuts, no YouTube magic tricks, no ez play ways to becoming a great musician, but good practice and a great teacher can save you time in the long run and make you a better organist. .