|Proper Prior Practice Prevents Piddly Poor Performance
Once again, David and I have been traveling and performing and once again, I’ve met creative colleagues — teachers, performers, church musicians all. Of course, we talk about our work in all its guises and share ideas, thoughts, repertoire, and pithy comments.
From my conversations with Gregory Largent in Saginaw, Michigan comes the inspiration for this article — the 7 P words. These seven little words just happen to be very apropos this month with the Jordan Organ Studio Spring Recital just a few weeks away.
Let’s take this pithy little phrase apart and see just what we performers are up against!
Proper = of the required type; suitable or appropriate.
Prior = existing or coming before in time, order, or importance.
Practice = to perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
Prevents = keep (something) from happening or arising.
Piddly = pathetically trivial; trifling.
Poor = worse than is usual, expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality.
Performance = a person’s rendering of a dramatic role, song, or piece of music.
Pretty, Pleasant, Pleasing, Profound, Polished, Passionate Performances!
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with her husband David, media artist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — live organ concerts with multi-media.
Archive for the ‘Organ performances’ Category
Effective organ practice can be difficult to maintain on a consistent basis. Why? Are we approaching our practice too casually? Is our organ practice starting to get monotonous with technical exercises and boring repetition? Are we spending too much time playing what we like to focus on or enjoy but neglecting those important technical exercises or compositions that will help get us to the next level? I am certainly guilty of all of the above.
|Finding time is another factor that can impede a disciplined habit of practicing the organ. Life — with hours spent working, family obligations, social engagements, and church can leave little time left to practice the organ.
Idea! Adding an element of the sacred to your organ practice may spiritually enrich your practice experience. A colleague recommended incorporating spiritual devotion into my organ practice rather than adopting additional spiritual practices or setting aside more discretionary time for devotional study. How wonderfully practical! Practicing the organ also then becomes a devotional act and a spiritual practice.
Hymnody provides a rich treasury of devotional lyrics. Many hymn texts are based on scripture so also incorporate a biblical element when used as a source of devotion. There are also a number of books and resources published to support using hymns as a source of devotional practice. These include Open Your Hymnal- Devotions that Harmonize Scripture with Song by Denise K. Loock, The One Year Book of Hymns by Robert Brown, and Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions by Kenneth Osbeck. These resources provide devotional readings based upon classic hymns of the Christian faith.
Adopting contemplative or meditative aspects to your organ practice may contribute to experiencing the music more deeply. By doing so, you enhance your ability to play musically rather than intellectually. Another benefit is the positive psychological associations that may occur when organ and devotional practice are blended. An organist may gain more confidence, resolve and commitment to improving organ skills. Organ practice becomes much more than tackling the assignment from the prior lesson and assuring oneself of being prepared or appearing prepared for the next lesson (or church service or recital).
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, a teacher with an active organ studio has also been a church musician most of her life. She is also a concert organist and with her husband David, media artist, is the creator and performer of Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — live organ concerts with multi-media.
Jeannine: Let’s look next at your work with two projects that stand out to me as something unique and of great significance in the organ world – the young organ artist recitals series at Central Synagogue, NYC and Musforum.
Why is it important to promote a young organ artist recital series?
Dr. Archer: I direct an artist and student organ series at Central Synagogue in NYC. Artists play on the second Tuesdays of every month and I bring young people from organ schools across the country to play on the fourth Tuesday of every month October-May. Students have the opportunity to play in a large venue on a large instrument in a concert situation.
The series was started by the Gabe Wiener family after gifting a four-manual Casavant to the Synagogue in 2002 in Gabe’s memory. I was approached by the Wiener family to start this series which I was delighted to do.
Jeannine: What is Musforum and why is it significant?
Dr. Archer: Musforum was started after I had some disappointments in institutions. In my travels, I discovered other women have had some of these same disappointments where they are passed over in the application process, where they are treated unkindly in the workplace, or where they’re summarily dismissed. Those disappointing things happened often because the women had succeeded – they played beautifully, their choir sang beautifully, or they got a review in the local newspaper which drew attention to their beautiful work and that’s the reason, too often, that the persons in charge were unkind to them. This is not how things should be. When people do something beautiful and positive they should be recognized, and promoted and supported and encouraged. I was hearing stories such as these and experiencing my own disappointments and decided to do something positive about it.
I researched all the women organists in North America and published my findings in the Journal of the International Alliance of Women in Music(www.iawm.org). What the numbers revealed is that there are only two women who are serving as cathedral organists and music directors in a major city in the US, two women serving as organ teachers at research universities in a major city in the US, zero women teaching organ in a conservatory in North America, and only 82 women teaching organ at liberal arts colleges or universities in small towns.
Musforum is a way to bring positive attention to women doing beautiful work no matter where they are doing it. Musforum is a place for women organists to easily communicate and where we can celebrate each other’s positive contribution to the field. And, that is why I started Musforum!
Excerpted from the Guest Artist Interview of the February 2018 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter. Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan are the creative artists of Pro-Motion Music LLC. Jeannine, a concert organist, with David, a media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multimedia concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.
Jeannine and David Jordan present
Around the World in 80 Minutes
Organ and Multi-media Concert Experience
Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
“Who’s on Third” Concert Series
Woodburn United Methodist Church
700 Cascade Drive