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The question of how hard is it to play a pipe organ cannot be simply answered with how difficult it actualy is to play, because there is also the fact that this is not an instrument you can easily purchase and bring home, so why would you learn to play such a bothersome instrument? and how hard is it to master?

History of the Pipe Organ

The first organ design. Greek.

The Organ has been around for quite some time, dating back to 200 BC in Greece, and it is beleived that it was made by a man called Ctesibius, however he did not mean to make a musical instrument ike the one it came to be, it was mostly to explain and demonstrate the principles of hydraulics.

Many years after that it started being used as an instrument and eventually around 400 BC it was used during weddings and other celebrations.

The first organ design was also not sustainable, and eventually the design was made simple by replacing the piston, valves, and water cistern. However after this redesign the world did not see much organs until around 900 BC when the medieval church organ came to be and after that it kept evolving while its popularity increased all around Europe.

Hard To Play?

Saying that it’s hard to play may be accurate, of course any instrument is hard to play at first, but there are a few things that make this instrument a bit more intimidating than others.

The thing about the pipe organ is that there are many things you need to be aware of when playing it.

It’s not the hardest instrument to play but it’s by far the easiest,to master the instrument and feel comfortable, your body needs to do a lot of things at the same time, more specifically, it requires you to be thinking about five different things at same time while playing.

You’ll be playing the keys on the organ, using your feet to control pedals and holding the notes, since there is no sustain pedal like on the piano.

When it comes to stops, which produce the range of notes needed, you will also have to control the sound by changing the positioning of these stops.

In conclusion, easy to learn, very hard to master.

Katelyn Emerson

In an interview with bachvirtuosifestival.org Katelyn Emerson talks about her experience playing in beautiful cathedrals.

BVF: Share your feelings about playing in some of the most world-renowned cathedrals around the world?

KE: Since even the smallest of pipe organs has a few dozen pipes and the largest have several thousand, it is far too cumbersome to bring along one’s own organ when traveling, so one of the most unique and interesting parts of being an organist is getting to know a new instrument (or more than one!) for each recital. What comes along with such a unique challenge is also being able to view extraordinary place from the most unusual angles: seeing the Cathédrale Notre-Dame from the balcony, being the organist of whom hundreds of tourists are taking photographs at the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland, seeing the façade of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ from the console on the stage during a recital, enjoying the incredible serenity of Spain’s Montserrat Monastery prior to the concert – all of these are experiences that I would never have had if I weren’t fortunate enough to do what I do. Perhaps the most important thing is simply being interested in having such experiences. So much of the time, playing the organ seems to require interest in history, in architecture, and in art before any note is played. Without the curiosity in what makes our world, our lives, and our music “tick,” such experiences merely become a completed checklist, not life-changing memories

The pipe organ has special connections to specific places which makes it a very unique instrument.

Click the link for an interesting beginner’s guide.

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If you are interested or involved in music in any way, chances are you’ve had to deal with others, whether it’s composing or just playing, teamwork is a very important part of music, even more so when many young musicians want to start bands and make great music together. This part of music is almost essential to learn how to play and facilitate a way to achieve chemistry with other musicians should be a priority.

Playing alone vs Playing with someone

Of course, playing by yourself also has a lot of merit since most of the practice will be alone, and a part of the musical growth can only be gained in an introspective kind of way, but there is also a huge amount of experience that can only come from playing with someone else, let’s review each pros and cons.

Alone

The beginning has to be by yourself, there is no way you can really make a deep bond with the instrument that your playing or your voice if you try with someone else, in the end music is all about expressing something, and if that connection is not made before playing with other people, chances are, playing will be very difficult and you’ll feel insecure about what you want to play.

In short, a beginner’s way is a bit lonely, because it’s as simple as having a relationship, you don’t get married if you yourself don’t have a defined personality and desires, and the same way works for playing with others.

The bad part about playing alone, is not so much about the fact of just playing or practicing by yourself, the problem comes when you as a musician become isolated, this can have consequences such as running out of ideas or getting stuck in a loop of inspiration. It can also make you a bit rusty when it comes to improvisation and playing long sets non stop.

With Others or in Band

As for playing with others, there are many advantages, starting with, learning from others.

No one is the same, everyone has its own tree of music influences and tastes.

The beautiful part of sharing this, is that you discover new ideas for yourself as well as get a good feedback on your play-style.

Of course this can be counter productive if your partners have personal issues or differ too much from your style.

The right people with the right chemistry will help you achieve a new level of musical prowess, and even affect the way you compose your own music. For example, in an improvisation, you exercise a lot of the tools you have on the fly, which is a form of creating and composing, just unpolished and fast, this can later be noticed in how fast ideas will pop in your head.

Playing with others can also bring satisfaction as a musician, because it’s not easy to perform synchronized with other people in harmony and following the same tempo. This happens on a great scale with orchestras where a great amount of people work together to achieve a perfect sound; although of course, there is a path to follow and more guidance than to say for example Jazz, or Rock bands, where improvisation takes the stage many times. In the end there has to be a balance in order to get the best of both worlds, and appreciate both ways of playing by what they are.

In music education, this should be a priority because while orchestras essentially become big bands,every member feels isolated from each other in a way.

This sentiment of sharing and playing with others is not quite present, and it should.

 

 

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It’s very hard to get into music without finding a link, something that attaches you sentimentally and technically as something to improve and use to express yourself. Unless learning how music works, this is reading, writing, and all of the structure of music, is just a hobby, there are always instruments, and or voice, but how do we know which in instrument is the one? Well it’s all about trying out every instrument you can get your hands on. Here are a few tips on how to approach some of the most played instruments in order to make the experience more entertaining and appealing.

Singing

While singing could be seen as something else rather than an instrument, this is the first mistake one can make. The voice is an instrument, and just like any other one has to learn how to use it, a good voice won’t come from a few days of practice, and because we use our voices everyday it’s easier to become insecure, listening to ourselves doing something different than speaking because it doesn’t sound like the usual speaking voice, but that is ok, because it’s not, it’s something else, it’s an instrument, so make sure to switch to instrument mode, and don’t pretend to have your everyday recognizable voice an expert singer so fast, find your instrument voice.

Guitar

One of the most common issues when starting to play guitar, is that the strings don’t sound as well as they should because they are not being pressed correctly. This is a very early stage but it can be quite frustrating because when trying to play chords or go a little faster it doesn’t sound good. The best thing to do is to let your fingers adjust to the pressure that has to be put, and be patient to try and play some scales in between chords as a warm up. But most importantly, experiment and have fun, because it’s one of the easiest instruments to get creative with.

Piano

Playing piano is one of the most precise experiences in music, that’s why it’s one of the “go to” instruments for teaching music. When approaching to a piano it won’t be very hard to pick up a few notes, memorize and play a tune and that is what you should do first, because it’s very welcoming in that way. The complicated part comes when using both hands, where usually one acts as the bass and the other does all the complicated melodies. The easiest way to use both hands at first is to start with one note on the bass in harmony with the melody, and after that play with octaves in the bass to give a real full sound while practicing with both hands.

 Bass

While it’s also a string-based instrument like the guitar, it doesn’t mean that the approach is the same, every string-based instrument has its own set of rules if you will, and a certain feel to it. When it comes to bass it’s less about fast mobility and more about precision, due to the sound and size of its strings. The best thing to do is to know when and where to play a certain note, since the bass gives a lot of what the body and rhythm is in a composition.

Drums/Percussion

Here all the attention goes to rhythm, although of course percussion requires tuning, and precision in its notes, the first approach should be to keep a good rhythm, and as you get more comfortable, add more layers to the overall body of it. Of course, it depends on the type of percussion being played, but the best most complete example are drums, since it’s a package of percussion types all being played by one person, that’s why developing limb independence while keeping track of the rhythm is the most important thing here. So, if planning on playing drums, work on that rhythm with your foot on the kick, and the hi hat, everything else has to fall into place after that.

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