It's not only because of the obvious reason - to get better at playing the organ.
If organ playing is your calling, you need to practice it daily because you need to have daily ideas and experiences which you should write down and share.
Writing down your organ playing experiences is the only way you can make sense of complex things that are going on in your mind.
Sharing those experiences with the world enables you to grow your fan base, get feedback and be in tune with the rest of the organ world.
If you don't believe me, just skip organ practice for a week or more and see what happens.
What happens with your relationship with yourself, the people around you and the environment.
Besides all those artistic reasons, organ playing also has a biological function to us.
It's part of our survival mechanism.
Have you been scheduled to play an organ recital but you feel you're not welcome in this church?
Of course, they don't have the guts to tell you this openly but you can feel it in other things.
You can sense this from the way they communicate with you, they may make you pay the rent for the instrument even though it's obvious other guest organists played there for free in the past?
Perhaps you don't get any time to rehearse, perhaps the church doesn't advertise your concert at all or they may even meddle with your program selection (provided they don't have any official guidelines for that).
Of course, sometimes our choices aren't the wisest regarding the style of the instrument and maybe the resident organist can advice us what works there and what doesn't. But I'm not talking about this case here.
I'm thinking more about the situation when you can feel some politics going on in this church behind your back.
So, should you play there at all costs?
Not at all. I think your talents would be better appreciated some place else.
Trust is everything. No trust - no connection.
Say, "Thank you but it's not for you. I'll go to these guys instead."
Shun the non-believers.
What do you think?
Could you write a recommendation to your organist friend on LinkedIn?
Would this increase trust between the two of you?
Would this organist want to reciprocate?
Perhaps write a post about your work?
Perhaps share your organ video?
Perhaps invite you for an interview?
Or even invite you to play an organ recital in their church?
Imagine doing this for a week, a month, a year. What kind of impact would it do to your organist career?
Try this approach yourself. It helped me. Maybe it will help you too.
Yesterday Ausra and I received an invitation to play a couple of organ recitals in Italy in 2018.
This invitation came through my friend Italian organist Enrico Presti who appeared as guest on my podcast around Christmas last year.
This got me thinking what does it take to get invited to play an organ recital abroad?
In short - trust and generosity of the person in charge.
Enrico is a very generous individual and when I asked him if he wanted to share his journey as an organist with the Secrets of Organ Playing community in 89 countries without hesitation he said yes.
Not everybody I approach agree to this. Not everybody even writes back. But those who do, all of them are generous enough to care about spreading ideas to the world.
And then there is trust.
If I had asked Enrico for a chance to play a recital (just like a lot of people ask me) BEFORE I did something nice to him (help spread the word about his work through the podcast conversation), I don't think this invitation to come to Italy would have become a reality.
But since I proved I cared about his work and earned the trust, we have yet another opportunity to play in this part of the world.
So I was thinking that you too could help another organist in a similar way. Invite them for an interview, write a post or two about their organ videos and share their work. Basically help them achieve what they want before earning the privilege to ask.
Maybe you won't have to ask after all that. Maybe they will want to reciprocate themselves.
I challenge you to try this strategy for 30 days and see if you'll get more opportunities to play organ recitals.
I wrote a recommendation to one of my organists friends and submitted it to a church where I played earlier with the hope that they would invite him to play a recital in the future.
It felt nice.
I helped my friend this way and created value but I also understand that this value will come back to me later.
I don't know when or in what form. But it will.
The same rule applies to you, basically to everything you do as an organist.
Because the value of your network is not in how big your network is, but in how many connections are between the people in your network.
In other words, the more organists you know who know each other because of you, the more influence you have in the organ world.
So, can you do this a regular practice?
Can you introduce two organists who you think could do business together?
Another organist friend who belongs to a cooperative wrote to me that when he asked for recommendations from people who are in the same cooperative, none of them were willing to reveal their contacts.
Crazy, isn't it? But it's true.
Organ world has been selfish for too long. We need more generosity than ever.
Give away your best information. Only then can you become someone whom we would miss if you were gone.
So you've created a blog and want to empower yourself as an organist? Good for you. Welcome to my world!
Would you like to know if your blog will help you achieve your goals? Are you not sure, if you're not spinning your wheels online? Let me help you.
Send me the link to your blog and I will critique it. I will record a video for you with my comments, advice and a strategy you need to succeed as an organist.
Are you worried that your organ blog posts won't be original? Is this the reason which keeps you from blogging?
You see, no one who wants to be original will ever attain originality. Originality is not the point.
The point is to share your experiences. Look around. What do you see?
How about this:
What are you currently working on as an organist?
What are you or others struggling with in the organ world?
What is inspiring to you or others about organ music that you played today?
Could you write about that?
Just imagine talking to an organist friend when both of you are drinking a cup of cappuccino together. This is all you need to be sincere.
It's your turn to be yourself. Always.
Yesterday I almost missed my post, nearly skipped writing.
It was a long day, a hard day and I left blogging for the evening when I was just too exhausted.
But... I made it. I still wrote a few ideas that hopefully will be helpful to people.
Because I knew that if I skipped one day, tomorrow would be even harder to write.
Because the process of empowering myself as an organist would be interrupted.
Because all my hard work will be for nothing and I would be sacrificing my progress and possibly my future organ career.
Because that's what professional does.
What about you?
Can you choose to turn pro in your mind?
Have you started a blog but failed to post regularly?
If you haven't written a post today, I'm writing to you now.
What stops you from blogging?
Here are some common challenges organists face with their blogging efforts (all taken from actual conversations):
1. I can't seem to find time.
2. I don't have anything valuable to say.
3. I don't know how to do it right.
4. I lost motivation to continue.
5. I didn't get traffic in the first week so it doesn't seem worth the effort.
6. My blog didn't have a focus
7. I'm not a good writer
8. I'm not sure if people will take an interest in my ideas.
Did I miss something? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
A couple of years ago I created YouTube channel to my colleague organist here in Vilnius.
I said, "You will be the third organist in Lithuania who will have YouTube channel."
She asked, "Who are the first two?"
"It's me and Ausra."
I helped her upload two of her videos to her channel and share them on social media.
Isn't it strange? Out of all those organists here in my country majority of them still don't have online professional video presence.
Here's the thing: Today I checked her channel and these two videos were still the only ones uploaded.
So do organists really need YouTube channel?
No, if you just leave it there all alone. No, if you never do anything with it. No, if you never share the videos on your organ blog.
You see, your YouTube channel is like a tree that you planted. You have to take care of it and water it. Otherwise it will wither and die.
What can your channel do for you?
First of all, it's a credibility platform. And your subscribers and comments are instant social proof that you can play in public well.
When you write your proposal to a festival asking for an opportunity to play, how else can you proof you can play in public? Of course, with your organ videos.
Perhaps you even have your sample recital program uploaded there so that organizers can watch and listen for themselves if you are worth the risk.
But it will not do anything for you, if you only upload once a year. You have to upload regularly. It's like a blog, only with video. In fact, video blogs are called vlogs.
I like to record my practices, my recitals, my organ playing advice and upload to YouTube.
Please don't tell me you don't have the necessary equipment. Just about every organist today has a phone and normal phones today have HD cameras and good microphones.
So you probably have a full-blown video recording suite carrying with you in your pocket at all times. The question is what you do with it?
I hope you upload your next video soon and start empowering yourself.