How to Be Authoritative in Your Organ Playing

Many organists dream of having the ability to play with authority. They want to achieve the level when their performance can sound with expertise. If you are successful in being authoritative, you will earn the most respect from your listeners and colleagues. In this article I will give you 7 tips which will help your organ playing sound authoritative.

1) Fingering. Let your fingering be as precise as possible. Write in the correct fingers in every difficult passage of your organ piece. Feel free to experiment with several different fingering possibilities but always choose the most efficient one and the one which follows the rules of the specific organ music style and historical period.

2) Pedaling. Do not play with accidental toes or heels. Instead carefully pencil in your choices on every pedal note in your music score. Then try to follow the pedaling to the letter. Correct pedaling is the key to the success in pedal playing.

3) Notes. If you want your playing be authoritative, you should try not to hit the wrong notes. In order to achieve this level, try to have laser-focused attention. Let your mind stay in the current measure. Do not worry about difficult places which are approaching nor about the previous complicated episodes you have already conquered.

4) Rhythms. While playing sections which are advanced rhythmically, try to count out loud and subdivide the beats. Then you will have no trouble in playing any syncopation, duplet, triplet, quadruplet or even sextuplet. This way your rhythms will have the authority you desire.

5) Articulation. Be aware of musical style and historical period of the piece while articulating the notes. The touch should be precise and always consistent. The perfect legato in one place must coincide with the same legato in another spot. The detached articulation in early music should also be consistently executed in every voice and in every measure.

6) Tempo. An authoritative performance will always have steady tempo and the most natural ritardando and accelerando when required. So strive to keep your playing speed constant but be flexible with your nuances. Never allow yourself to speed up or slow down without a serious reason.

7) Registration. Show your expertise in choosing organ stops which follow most closely composers suggestions. If there are no registration indications in the score, do some research and play with the stops which are most suited for this particular historical period, national school or type of composition. However let your ears be your most trusted guide, stay flexible with your approach and adjust to the instrument at hand when necessary.

Summary: do you want to be authoritative in your organ playing? Ensure your fingering, pedaling, notes, rhythms, articulation, tempo and registration are authoritative.

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