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Learning to play the pipe organ

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    You obviously have the support of those you know (2 camera people and the use of a pipe organ). However, please do not mistake their encouragement and support as a comment on your skill level. Their job is to encourage you--not critique. You obviously have the potential to be very good, but since we don't have a comparative video with where you began two years ago, we do not know how much you have (or haven't) improved during the last two years. It is apparent to me you have the desire, but not the discipline. I was only able to tolerate the first 56 seconds of your video.

    I have been viewing your posts since you joined the Forum. I stopped responding to them approximately a year ago because it didn't appear you were heeding the excellent advice provided by other organists here; many are experts in their field. One is even a graduate of Julliard (have you ever heard of that school?)! They would provide the same input 5 or 6 times before you appeared to partially get the message. These are busy professionals who are taking time out of their schedules to provide advice and encouragement to a young organist half a world away.

    If I recall correctly, you say you don't have the possibility of obtaining an organ teacher because of where you are. A quick search shows there are many churches in Mildura, a few in Pinnaroo, and even more in Renmark. I'm sure there are even more in Adedlaide. I would suspect between all those locations, there is at least one organist who knows his/her trade well enough to provide a beginning organist a bit of competent instruction.

    In my case, I had no transportation from the farm and could not afford piano lessons. I played for an adjudicated solo & ensemble festival my junior year of high school. The judge inquired why I was not taking lessons, and I told her. She gave me a year of free piano lessons if I could find the transportation (I suspect my Dad paid her anyway). From her hands, I went to college, exempted piano after a semester, and was accepted as an organ performance major, without ever having had an organ lesson. Your mileage may vary. I suspect a competent musician is already aware of your desire, but because of your lack of discipline, that person has not stepped forward to assist. The ball is in your court. What will you do with it?

    As has been stated many times already: Don't waste your time and talent! Heed the advice of professionals in the field, and make the most of your God-given talent. My best wishes for your path forward.

    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


      The videos aren't how I practice. That's just me "Noodling around". When I practice, I try to learn to play a hymn. "Jesus keep me near the cross." I play different combinations of the voices like Soprano and Bass, Tenor and Bass, the top three voices and all four. I'm doing "Jesus Keep me near the cross" because it's in F major. That means that I don't play to low on the pedals because there are a few Bb s in the bass/pedal line, keeping my feet high enough to play them.

      If I get the funding from NDIS to have a guy to take me out, I will most definitely get proper organ lessons.

      I now can play all the major scales sharp or flat.


        I distinguish between at least two kinds of noodling, both offer benefits.
        1) Real noodling with no specific goal, direction or intention. Here is where I sometimes come up with nice chords, progressions, melodic ideas, rhythms, etc.
        2) Controlled noodling - this is more like editing an essay. Set a goal and don't wander from it. Don't allow yourself to go off on tangents unless you have planned that as an important part of the improvisation. Do this with intent. Make a plan and stick to it.

        When I'm just sitting at the keyboard on my own, I'll more often do the first kind.
        When I'm preparing for a specific service or actually playing a service, I do the second type.

        Perhaps it's like an artist who might do both sketches and full drawings/paintings. The sketches allow you to try out ideas. They are then worked out in more detail and with more focus in the finished work.



          I was pleased to read your post #32 and to learn you are working on playing the hymn voices as written and working on scales. If possible, please post a video showing your progress in these most important areas. I’m sure many of us would appreciate hearing you. Having a teacher will force you to learn needed skills that you would never work on by yourself. It’s just human nature. There are so many necessary technical skills to learn to do well. Crossing feet over and under to maintain a legato pedal line is one. Another is finger substitution also to maintain legato voices. And the list goes on. I may have missed a post somewhere, but could the organist at the Lutheran church, where you recorded your last video, possibly be a teacher for you? Hopefully, once you get transportation arranged, you can get serious studies underway and make even better constructive progress.

          Happily retired organist/pianist from the Church of the Brethren...Allen ADC-4300-DK.
          Home...Wurlitzer (ES) Orgatron Series 20 Serial #11608 (retrofitted with MIDI and VPO-Hauptwerk) with Leslie 44W (shorty).
          Hammond BC Serial #5070 with Leslie 31A (tallboy) tone cabinet
          A.L. Swan antique pump organ (C.1852) Cherry Valley NY
          Member of the Lutheran Church (LCMS): traditional worship. Cleveland Clinic Spiritual Care volunteer with the chaplain's office.


            I can almost sight read hymns at normal speed (Easy hymns) Half speed (Mid difficulty hymns) and quarter speed (hard hymns) on the piano. I can almost learn a hymn a day now.


              I have perfected Jesus keep me near the Cross on the organ. (Unfortunately I didn't get good footage of that one. I will try to do that next time.)


                Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
                I have perfected Jesus keep me near the Cross on the organ. (Unfortunately I didn't get good footage of that one. I will try to do that next time.)
                That's great. Keep up the good work. I think, however, the breakthrough willl come when you stop keeping score. I say to the singers in my choir "learn to sing, do not learn anthems!". If you are doing it right, with no additional effort, or to put it another way: "with the exact same amount of effort" it would take to 'perfect' Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, you should discover that you can also play Rock of Ages, More Love to Thee, Trust And Obey" and many, many more. All around the same level of difficulty, in similar keys, etc. Your efforts should be on learning music, and not on specific hymns, regardless of how personally meaningful they might be. That's my opinion anyway.