• How does one improve accuracy in pedalling, i.e. not hitting the notes around the pedal you mean to play?
    Does scales help or just lots of practice? What have you done?
  • Slow practice, over and over again, of everything from scales to hymns to Bach pedal solos. The slower the practice tempo, the faster you will be able to play accurately.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 1,929
    What Noel said. Also -- organ shoes. If you are pedaling in sneakers or work boots chances are you'll hit everything no matter how careful you are.
  • Second to everything said above. I practice dirt slow and exaggerate every motion, which is a technique I learned when studying drum rudiments. It works on wind instruments, too. After I feel comfortable with the motions, and I feel like I've got the notes and rhythms down, I speed up gradually. Pedal scales are probably the most useful tools.
  • I got organ shoes very early in my playing. I was told that they were the best thing ever and they totally are.

    I had to order mine from the US since they are not sold in Canada (as it seems).
  • Organ shoes can be expensive, but they're totally worth it. If money is an issue, as it is for me, this is what you can do, and is what I did to improvise: you can go to Goodwill or other type of store and buy a pair of used dress shoes a half size smaller than you usually wear. I did this on purpose in order to make sure they'd be thin enough. You also have to make sure that you take a look at the construction of the shoe, and make sure that there isn't some odd protrusion that will hit other notes when you're not expecting it. That's why I specify a dress shoe, because they are generally of straightforward construction.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 73
    Make sure to use the smallest amount of 'foot' possible when contacting the pedals—when using toes, use only your big toe, and when using heels, use only the inside edge of your heel. Too much foot contacting the pedals is a common problem. Use the smallest motion possible to move from pedal to pedal. Think elegant, economical motions.

    I practice dirt slow


    Yes! Pick what you think is a reasonable practice tempo, and then set your metronome for half that speed. Literally! The benefits of extremely slow practice cannot be overemphasized!
    Thanked by 2rich_enough kenstb
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 7,920
    I have found contrary motion with pedal/manual scales to be helpful. Slowly, of course.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 115
    I play in socks rather than shoes.
    My teacher advised me to play at the top end of the pedal ie the end further from the seat, so as to feel for the 'black' notes and use them as a guide. It does help.
    Thanked by 2canadash rich_enough
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,272
    with advice on some of the posts above, another important thing is to keep knees and feet together
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 7,920

    with advice on some of the posts above, another important thing is to keep knees and feet together


    Yes and no. It can lead to accuracy, but it is often just aesthetics. It looks better.

    There was an author of a prominent organ method when I was younger, named Harold Gleason - may his miserable soul rest in peace. LOL. He meant well, and it was actually a pretty good method book. He advocated practices that, as a polio survivor, are physically nearly impossible, for me at least. I have had to work around all that.

    Also, if you happen to have large thighs you could have difficulty keeping knees together.

    The long and short is, don't be afraid to toss recommendations from prominent organists and teachers if they don't work for you. You may have to improvise until you find what is best for you.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,272
    knees together is not a mechanical rule, it's an attitude of posture depending upon each individual. if you adopt the right attitude towards this technique it will definitely help accuracy

    my legs, knees and feet do not stay together, but the attitude to do so has improved accuracy
    Thanked by 2MarkS Antonio
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 7,920
    With large, weight-lifter thighs, there is no way I could keep my knees physically together. However, posture is important. I find I need to sit up straight and be able to always find my center on the pedal board.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,619
    I sometimes find it difficult to keep knees and feet together when playing notes at the extreme ends of the pedalboard, so I usually don't. At the extremes, I usually just try to keep knees together, but I often forget. When playing more in the center, I try to keep feet together at least. That seems to help accuracy and the sense of preparedness to play using the pedals.
  • Antonio
    Posts: 16
    As pedalboards of two digital organs I play differ a bit on pedal shapes, motion resistance and distance to the bench height, when I have enough time, I use to play a few simple chromatic and diatonic scales, before starting the musical program, on the least played organ in order to better remember tactile feeling and recover distance fine perception.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,272
    Antonio:

    Yes, changing between organs with different scaling can cause issues. I play the Roland C330 here and there for gigs, and the European pedalboard is a tad wider and can cause issues with wide intervals as the distance becomes exponentially greater and sometimes results in the frustrating double note under reach.
  • Jes
    Posts: 276
    I use exercises out of tutor methods to get back up to scratch. There is a green and white stripey book that's good but I cannot remember the name of it. It's something like the complete guide to the organ.
    Also, practicing pedal separate to the hymn is good and then practising left hand and pedal is good. I know it's a bit of a no no but play the pedal note in your left hand as well as the pedal when you do that, it does improve things.
    I also like to sing all the parts (one at a time) whilst doing this, it helps me to "breathe" with the music too.
  • kenstb
    Posts: 347
    When I began to learn the organ, my teacher used to tie my knees together with a belt. That seems extreme these days but since the pedal board is curved, this makes execution simpler in the long run. As with any instrument, a good teacher is important for developing proper technique. Work with a metronome as slowly as you can and gradually build speed as you become comfortable. It takes patience and perseverance, but you can do it.
  • Not yet mentioned: your position on the bench, your feet position on the pedalboard, and bench height. You should sit centered on the console, i.e. with middle F# on the keyboard (61 notes, more like middle D# on 56 notes). You should be able to move your thighs and knees up and down, so don't sit too far back. Your foot should rest, naturally, above the middle notes of the pedalboard, on but not depressing the naturals, toes just barely touching the sharps. I used to carry 2x4 cut-offs with me to raise benches where i visited. (I left them in a practice room at Northwestern University, and they were still floating around from room to room 10 years later!) Just as your fingers should be able to feel the gaps between the sharps as you play on the manuals, your feet can feel the gaps on the pedals.
  • Pedal accuracy?
    It is, I think, de rigeuer.
    I highly recommend it.

    Congregations and audiences seem especially to appreciate it.

    One could, I believe, go so far as to suggest that it's absence is unmistakably comedianesque.