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Is now the right time to start the organ?

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    Is now the right time to start the organ?

    Hi I'm new. My name is Harry I am from London (Essex-ish)
    I play the violin and piano and was a former chorister at Brentwood Cathedral. However, I have always wanted to play the organ, but I was told I was too small and my feet couldn't reach the pedals! (V. embarassing)
    However, I am now fifteen and have had my growth spurt. I am at Grade 7 piano - do you think now is a time to start???
    Many Thanks
    Harry

    #2
    Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

    Nows a good time as ever. I never had a Piano, I only had an organ to practice on. Started taking Lessons at age 7 at the only remaining organ school I know. Never really got into the lessons, and stopped taking them after a few years. I learned enough, however, to teach myself. Im one of those "play by ear" folks, I guess you call them. Every day, on average, I play 2-3 hours because of pure enjoyment. Now it sounds like you are into classical, well thats an area I cannot relate with. The only classical Piece I Learned was Toccata in Fugue. From about age 10-15 I played theatre music, a sort of jesse Crawford mix with Jim Riggs. But then I started to get into the Jazz scene with the hammond. I needed something different than "paramount on parade" to play. Jazz is very difficult as i fount over the years, I would spent Hours trying to imitate the music on my "Organs-in-Orbit" CD. But practice makes Perfect, I know this is said by everyone, but when the day comes when your Jazz Organ Trio plays out, Your Leslie Screamin', and you hit those 128th note Solos, the true meaning of all that practice comes into play.
    Now I am in a rock group, but In my spare time after playing Boston and Steppenwolf, i Sit down and Lay out some slow and Smooth Jazz. Bobby Jones and Jimmy Smith are my biggest influences. The thing with rock is, its all the same in the end, whereas Jazz can be many different things. Last year I bought a 1956 Wurlitzer 4602 ES Organ. This sounds like it would be more up your alley. Its AGO spec and actually SOUNDS like a pipe organ. I am 18 now and just starting to know what its like to play in the real world. Just when you think your gig sounds "totally awesome", someone else comes along and shows you how its done. For a while some guy from the audience will come up in between sets and talk how he plays, and so you let him show off a little. He becomes he ultimate player and for the rest of the show you feel discouraged, and play sluggishly. IT HAPPENS. What I come to learn is, ITS ABOUT THE MUSIC. As long as I can have fun Nobody else matters.
    I am telling you this, just incase you find yourself in a situation, use those feelings toward improvement. Starting as young as we do gives us more time to develop a style.

    Message to all:
    ITS ABOUT TIME THE PIANO GETS SHOVED INTO GRANNYS CORNER, AND THE ORGAN MOVED INTO THE LIVINGROOM! Prevent these wonderful instruments from Dying out.
    ~1936 Hammond AV - Leslie 122 & PR40~ ~1954 Wurlitzer ElectroStatic 4602 - Leslie 125~

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      #3
      Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

      Oh, I am sure that we can find a way for you to reach the pedals. It could be worse, you could have Size 13 feet (that barely fit between pedals) and fingers, that dont even fit between black keys. I dont see why there would be a problem with picking up organ now.

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        #4
        Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

        Go for it! I started at 7 on my gran's harmonium. Then did classical piano and discovered the Hammond at the age of 13. Boy, did my piano teacher go ballistic about that. Didn't stop me and I've had a good 35 years since then playing straight organ, cinema organ and electronics. Never regretted a moment of it and, what's more, it's paid the mortgage. (Well. most of the time!) Try out everything you can that has pedals and manuals and be open minded in your organ playing. Best of luck to you.
        Andy G
        It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

        New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

        Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
        Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
        Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

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          #5
          Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

          I started aroudn 15. Defintiely start now. You could have started even earlier. Who says you need to be able to reach the pedals to learn organ? 85% of what we do isn't in the feet anyway. Not to mention, in England the pedals were a rather late addition to the organ. You'd be sticking with your cultural legacy.

          But I had to laugh when I read in the first reply something about 128th note solos.
          Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
          Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

            I say "go for it" also. I started playing the organ in church when I was 14, having only had formal piano training. I am now 56 years old and have been playing continually for United Methodist and Episcopal congregations for over 40 years. It gets in your blood!
            Mike

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

              Hi
              Thanks guys. I will ask my teacher who should teach me - she must know people...
              I have been learning Toccata and Fugue on the piano (no pedals) and it doesn't seem as hard as it sounds - even the fugue. However, what does seem hard is synchronising the left and right hand with the feet, and trying to pull stops out in fast bits (like in the fugue)

              And yeah, I think my style would be more classical - I would like to play stuff like the Art of Fugue and the Widor Toccata, and all the stuff I'm learning on the violin is Baroque...

              Many thanks everybody

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                Usually, there will be presets underneath each manuel, so there is not too much "stop pulling" required. But when it is needed, i guess it just comes second nature. On a hammond, i learned to play while adjusting drawbars and tremolo. Basically same concept on pipe organ, or cinema organ. You might even have a Crescendo Pedal which will do the work for you.
                Which type of Organ are you planning to play on?
                ~1936 Hammond AV - Leslie 122 & PR40~ ~1954 Wurlitzer ElectroStatic 4602 - Leslie 125~

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                  #9
                  Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                  On Bach, you aren't going to be doing a whole lot of stop pulling while playing. Many of his pieces work out perfectly for 2 manuals--so you set your great and swell before you start and during the piece all you'll do is switch your hands.

                  There are some people that do a bunch of registration changes on Bach but I've never been much of a fan of that. To me, the music is dense enough and interesting enough on its own that you don't need to do that. Once you get into Romantic composers and later, you WILL need to practice switching registrations--or at least hitting pistons.
                  Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
                  Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                    I am planning to play the organ at my parish church - I have no idea what type it is though. However, I will need one for home use - will a Hammond be OK for that, or will it make too much noise???
                    I also agree with Tutti about Bach being complicated - I think if Bach hadn't have written for the organ I wouldn't have bothered playing. However, in the fugue of Toccata and Fugue there are some bits with the subject in the pedals and that bit looks tricky. Should I wear trainers/school shoes for this - are you even supposed to wear shoes for organ playing???
                    Many Thanks
                    Harry

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                      My son's instructor got sore feet when he tried to play with no shoes on. Any slick bottom shoe will do. My son just got started with the organ about 5 months ago any he is in fifth grade. I say have fun playing! Organ shoes have to be ordered and are quite expensive.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                        OK thanks a lot, I suppose my school shoes will be good enough - I have also been looking at organs on the internet. Hammond looks like a good one to start with. How much is a Hammond A-100 priced at, 'cause all the websites avoid putting prices on their models, which doesn't look like good news!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                          You might want to look for an organ with a Radial 32 note pedal clavier. The Hammond A-100 had a 25 note flat-board. Unless, and this might be the case, your chapel organ has a flat pedal clavier. The hammond will ruin your technique on pipe organ.

                          But A-100's go for anywhere from 500-2000 dollars US.
                          ~1936 Hammond AV - Leslie 122 & PR40~ ~1954 Wurlitzer ElectroStatic 4602 - Leslie 125~

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                            Agree with just about everything said so far. Not so sure about organgrinder's statement that playing a 25-note Hammond pedalboard would spoil pipe organ technique, though. The point should surely be to try and use, practice and learn on a variety of pedalboards. I've played everything from 32 note AGO or RCO spec to 25 note radiating/flat to 13,18, 20 and even 25 note straight spinet pedals. You can heel and toe on spinets if you're determined (and haven't got huge feet!) Most smaller church organs I've played here in the UK haven't had the luxury of an RCO spec board anyway - there are plenty of straight/flat, straight/concave and even weird semi-radiating/flat boards with varying numbers of pedals to be found. (How about that for spoiling technique?) You need to be able to adapt (and virtually immediately) to the instrument you find yourself playing. That's where the experience comes in. I hope no-one's putting you off!! LOL
                            Andy G
                            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                            New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                            Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                            Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                            Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Is now the right time to start the organ?

                              Hi, andy,
                              I agree with you about pedalboards... but its depends on the style... clasical or jazz/pop too.
                              I want some advice... which is better... having a straight... or concave radiating pedalboard?? and how is the Viscount Jubilate 232.. we in india cant afford a better organ... I've waitied 25 years to learn organ... there is no palce to buy a second hand organ too. we have to be content playing pianos.. and playing keyboards in church.. sadly. I have a Roland portable with rodgers sounds.. how would that sound if I connect a pedal unit?
                              Also Is there any company that manufactures a midi pedal board with 32 pedals... one which could be connected to a mudule or keyboard??
                              gravissima

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