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Next step for me professionally?

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  • Next step for me professionally?


  • #2
    Keep on working hard and improving your skills. Since playing in church is probably in your future, you might make a point of learning to play hymns well. And be assured that playing hymns is a skill unto itself, somewhat apart from playing other organ music. There are certainly many books, even on-line resources to help one learn to play hymns properly for accompanying a congregation. The LDS church has, I believe, a very succinct and helpful set of basic hymn-playing lessons on the internet somewhere.

    You might do well to attend some churches in your area, particularly those with good organs and good music, and become acquainted with the staff musicians. In that way, you get your foot in the door to be considered for substitute work, which may well lead to a permanent situation.

    As to your atheist persuasion, I'd advise you to simply keep that which is personal ... personal. There have been discussions on this forum about faith and/or the lack thereof, and a lot of us probably don't perfectly adhere to the beliefs of our own churches, and some of us are downright skeptics, if not in fact atheists. But music can transcend personal beliefs, and the desire to make music can overcome most reluctance to participate in church life.

    There are indeed many churches in which strict conformity to a set of beliefs is not required, in which each individual is free to develop his own set of beliefs. That is the true spirit of the Reformation and Protestantism, and even a valid thread in Catholicism and Orthodoxy. So don't feel that you are ostracized from the church just because you have reservations about theology.

    I would also add that I understand completely your desire to stay away from bigotry. Bigotry is rampant in some Christian communities, though often disguised as a devotion to the "Word". Most of the time a serious person can spot that sort of thing quickly, and simply walk away from such a situation before becoming involved. For some of us (like me) it was hard to leave behind a faith tradition that had been my home for decades, but when I could no longer tolerate the intolerance I had to leave. And I'm very glad that I did.

    There are Christian communities out there who would embrace you without reservation and who are in great need of your talents.

    Best of luck!
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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    • #3
      John thanks so much for your very helpful advice!

      I have a Methodist hymnal and I love many of the hymns. Could you recommend a good book on how to play hymns? In the meantime I'll check in with the Mormon resources.

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      • #4
        Someone on the forum who is more knowledgeable about books may have a title to recommend for you. But I googled "LDS organ lessons" and got a plethora of useful hits. The music people in the LDS are very serious about cultivating good hymn-playing in their often amateur players, so these lessons go into great detail.

        You would also do well to LISTEN to some great hymn players to get a feel for their style. Search out some youtube videos of hymns being sung in prominent liturgical settings, such as episcopal churches and cathedrals. You should hear some really fine playing.

        One important things to master about hymn playing -- when to connect your notes, and when to separate them. Don't make the mistake that so many make, over-connecting all your notes, so that there is no rhythmic movement, just a sea of sustained tone. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for this, but now it comes quite naturally. When notes are repeated in the melody of a hymn, as they are so very commonly done, the organist must provide a bit of space between the notes so that the singers will be encouraged to keep the beat going. In fact, one of the best ways to keep the tempo of a hymn from dragging is to play more with more detached notes.

        I trust that some others will chime in with more advice to you. Keep up the good work!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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        • #5
          Hello, diargent;

          Several years ago, Allen offered a video series on hymn playing. I don't see it today on their homepage, but this may be of interest: http://www.allenorgan.com/www/suppor...sandhints.html

          . ..Jan
          the Organgrinder

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          • #6
            diargent,

            Try reading some of the following threads:I don't know if these links will help, but they will give you a start on playing 4-part pieces (like hymns), however, hymns aren't the only pieces written in 4-parts. Many patriotic pieces and written in 4-parts, and you'll even find many other popular pieces written that way. It seems 4-part is the default go-to if a person wants a piece to have universal appeal.

            I tried finding the thread that addressed all the issues that come with playing 4-parts on the organ, but I'm certain you can get a good start with the threads above. Best of luck in your endeavors.

            Michael
            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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            • #7
              I'm glad you linked to those threads, Michael. I see in post #11 of the first one that I "tried" to explain what I was talking about up above here. This is perhaps my pet peeve, hearing organists play like my cousin Yvonna, with molasses on the keys!
              John
              ----------
              *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone, so helpful!

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