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Organ Method Question???

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    Re: Organ Method Question???


    I would have to say that one usually prefers the method (s)he started with.</p>

    In college, I began with Harold Gleason's Method of Organ Playing, but my organ instructor transitioned me to Oswald Ragatz's method during my second semester.</p>

    enjoyed Gleason's real-life examples, which taught essential
    techniques, but the book was too wordy and segmented. I still use
    some of the Pachelbel or Bach pieces in the book.


    The Ragatz book was more unified--introducing techniques in a
    more integrated, cohesive manner. It also cut out much of the
    extraneous text many students find off-putting.</p>

    I've never
    personally experienced the Flor Peeters book, but have heard much about
    it on this forum. I should probably obtain a copy for review.</p>

    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 & 4 Pianos


      "Back to Flor Peeters, who did write his own book, called "The Little Organ Book" - it is worthwhile for a beginner student, as each excercise has a pedagogical goal, and the pieces are specifically written with the idea of teaching beginners at the organ."

      From a recomendation on another post, I recently ordered this book from Amazon. I have found it to be extremely helpful. It is methodical and has improved my fingering in only a week of practising.


      Hammond/Suzuki A205 Chapel Organ with 971 Leslie
      Howard studio piano
      Yamaha p_105 Digital piano
      Allen 301B with 2 HC-14 speakers


        Both the Flor Peeters "Little Organ Book" and the Gleason are good. I had the Peeters as an absolute beginner, and then the Gleason was brought in (years later) to supplement my education.

        Both isolate technical issues - legato, fingering, pedalling, co-ordination - and they provide short pieces that you can use to practise what you've learned.

        The Peeters if usually WAY cheaper than the Gleason, but I usually ask my students if they already have one or the other, and we go with that. If they have neither, I get them to order the Peeters, partly because it's cheaper, and partly because it's usually easier to order from local music stores.

        The Bach pieces mentioned can be good beginner material, mostly because they are shorter and "simpler", but they don't give the student the 'how-to' part. They don't tell you how to repeat notes, or make them legato or staccato.

        I was a bit surprised that some people didn't know the Peeters and assumed it was the Bach "Orgelbuechlein" with the title in English translation. I guess that just shows how much more education has to be done, even among people who presume to be qualified organists.

        Whether you choose the Peeters or the Gleason or any method, the main thing will be to GET TO THE ORGAN AND PRACTISE. Stay relaxed, work on good posture, don't use any unnecessary movement to accomplish the task at hand, enjoy, and keep doing it. It is the thoughtful repetition that will offer you the most rewards.

        I don't have any experience with the Stainer, although I would presume it to be another good method.

        Let us know how you do.
        Last edited by regeron; 09-06-2010, 03:00 PM. Reason: typos


          I began with Flor Peeters and still use it today. I loved it. I went then to Rodgers book and still am in that. It's really good and brings you up to about a 3rd year college level (I was told). Then all the 8 Little with some Orgelbuchlein mixed in. Turns out I like forerunners of Bach more but for a good balanced organ education I keep Bach in there always. I just finished the 8 Little and a few Chorales and can go back and play earlier literature with more ease and confidence. Check IMSLP for Peeters. J
          Jesse Hargus
          Portland, OR


            I'm trying to figure out how to fit organ lessons into my work schedule. At one point, I was quite accomplished on the piano. It was quite a battle in college whether to choose Music or Medicine. I chose Medicine, but my heart is most definitely in Music. I suddenly had to become an organist when I was 15 when the little church for which I was pianist purchased a used 2 manual Conn with a 25 note pedalboard. It was delivered the Friday before Easter, so I practice the entire day Saturday so that I could play the "real" pedal part to "Christ the Lord is Risen Today."

            Anyway, insofar as organ is concerned, I'm self-taught. Whenever I've been able to watch an organist play, I've tried to learn something from what I saw. Over the years, I've purchased several of the books of hymn arrangements so often played by organists who don't use "The Literature" in church. At the moment, I can play any hymn in the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian hymnals including "All Creatures of Our God and King."

            I want very much to learn to play some "real" organ literature. At age 52, my time is much more limited than I'd like it to be, so I don't think I'll ever be giving concerts. A few years ago, I received the "The Organists Manual" by Roger Davis for Christmas. I also have an old brown book by Stainer. Recently, I purchased "The Gleason Method".

            Michael, in his message over a year ago, mentions Ragatz. Is this the book he's talking about: "Organ Technique: A Basic Course of Study" by Oswald Ragatz (there's a 2000 edition on Amazon)?

            What is the Rodgers book that was mentioned?

            Sorry about placing my question so far down, here, but I'd like to know if there exists anywhere a suggested "scope and sequence" for organ lessons for folks who are proficient in piano. I realize that students are individuals, but I don't think the teacher reinvents the entire curriculum for each student. Is there any generally accepted (and published) outline that suggests what skills should be learned as well as what pieces should be learned and in which order during the first, second, or third years of organ study?

            There is a chapter at the beginning of the Gleason book which gives a suggested order for the exercised contained therein along with the particular pieces of organ literature in the book. I took that information and coordinated it with the exercises and pieces in the Roger Davis and Stainer books and put all this into a chart. I guess I could force myself to follow this outline in lieu of a teacher for a while. I wish there were a serious method - perhaps (don't cringe, purists) like my John Schaum Piano Course my piano teacher used many years ago - in which exercises and pieces were interspersed so that the learning was more interesting.