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  • Eddy67716
    started a topic Learning to play the pipe organ

    Learning to play the pipe organ

    I have recently started to try out a pipe organ every week or so. It is a two manual organ with a decent stoplist. (Except that the trumpet and horn reeds drown out the diapason chorus) The main thing I feel like I need to learn is how to play the pedals. I know you use the inner parts of the ball and heel of both feet to play, but I need to familiarize myself with the pedelboard. What are some tips and good exercise books to help me learn the pedals.

    I also have heard that swell expression is also a difficult thing to learn.

    Any other tips?

  • Leisesturm
    replied
    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.

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    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.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddy67716
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • lcid
    replied
    Eddy,

    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.

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  • regeron
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddy67716
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • myorgan
    replied
    Eddy,

    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.

    Michael

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  • Dutchy
    replied
    Hi Eddy, I fully agree with Leisesturm, Peterboroughdiapason and lcid: get a teacher!

    You really are talented, but it needs to be developed.
    I like your enthousiasm and imagination (really, I like it very much). But as the others already said, it is noodling around. This way you progression wil be slow, if ever real progression is made.

    Again: look for a teacher and don't waste your talent!

    All the best, Dutchy

    Leave a comment:


  • lcid
    replied
    Eddy,

    It's good to read your post #28 and learn what you have been working on. I'll chime in with the others and reinforce my previous post #10 about getting a teacher. I made the most progress when I began serious organ lessons with a qualified teacher. One of the most rewarding things for a musician is preparing for a lesson and being able to show your teacher how much you have learned in a week's time or since your last assignment. Think of it as having a personal coach as in sports or the Olympics. You have to have a good one to win!

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddy67716
    replied
    Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
    You need to learn your scales, chords and arpeggio's (though arpeggio's are more useful to pianists)
    I started learning all the major and minor arpeggios. I know the Ab, Eb, F, C, G, D, A, E, and B major scale and I practice I, IV, V I progressions in certain keys.

    Leave a comment:


  • Peterboroughdiapason
    replied
    Yes, I agree - get a teacher.

    Here is a link to Stainer's Organ Tutor: https://archive.org/stream/organ00stai#page/32/mode/2up
    There are pedal exercises from about page 34. You can download any pages you think might be helpful.

    Personally, and most won't agree, I would play all 4 parts of a hymn with the pedals doubling the left hand to start with. It sounds the same! It's also easier in that you will also be able to play the hymn without pedals if you want to. You should be learning some simple pieces with an independent pedal, and the independence will be easier to develop with these. Later on you will then be able to play hymns in different ways.

    There are lots of suitable pieces in the Stainer book, but you will find more interesting ones in more modern tutors. I am very keen on the Roger Davis one, though it's expensive.

    There are a lot of helpful books edited by Ann Marsden Thomas. You could try this one (https://www.musicroom.com/product-de...rgan-book-two/) to get some easy pieces with simple pedal parts which would help you develop. (There are many other books edited by her which you can find by googling.

    If you're serious about playing the organ - don't waste your talent! "Noodling" or "messing about on the organ" is fun for the player, but isn't likely to give pleasure to a congregation or audience in the early stages and certainly isn't a substitute for proper practice.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leisesturm
    replied
    Eddy. I'm sorry if this is hard to hear but ... Dutchy may be right. You do appear to need the discipline and focus of professional instruction if you are to make demonstrated progress. As I understand it, any discipline can be mastered in 20,000 hours. I think that is around 5 years (not literally, 5 years is 43,800 hrs literally) of actual waking hours. Long before 'mastery' a person should be good enough to 'perform'. Anyway, you are young enough for there to be a real chance that you could become a fine organist IF you can learn to focus on the basics and fashion them into a sound foundation that can be built upon. Otherwise you could find yourself still playing much like you are doing now many, many years from now. That was my father. He was never any better after 45 years of noodling around than at the beginning of his exposure to organ playing. There is a huge difference between 'improvising' and ... 'noodling around'. Simply put, you were noodling around. Sorry. That is actually putting it kindly. You need to learn your scales, chords and arpeggio's (though arpeggio's are more useful to pianists) and you need to learn simple pieces and then more complex pieces and you will discover that when you do that that your improvisation will take on an entirely different character. Most organists have the technical foundation to be great improvisers but they lack imagination. They can only play what is written out by someone else. You are exactly the opposite. You have plenty of imagination. You, however, lack the technical foundation to bring it out in a way that can be appreciated. I can't honestly say which is the better situation to be in. Get to work.

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    This is my latest improvisation. I'm getting better at manual/pedal Independence. I've also been learning, "Jesus Keep me near the Cross." SATB I've been practising different combinations of the voices. The video is in the description. (I somehow couldn't upload to Facebook.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dutchy
    replied
    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    Should I learn to play the Tenor and alto voices with the left hand so I can use the right hand to play a solo on the soprano line on a different manual?
    Hi Eddy, I have watched your vid and read your story.

    First, I have to say I like your enthousiasm. Go on that way!

    Second, I must agree wirth earlier advice: look for a teacher. Do it! It will greatly enhance your skills and you might also be able to come in contact with other pupils, which can be very stimulating (I speak from experience). .

    Last, if you wanna learn Hymns with S as cf, AT on a separate manual and B in pedals, I suggest the following order of study:
    1. Only S
    2. Only B
    3. S + B
    4. Only A+T
    5. AT + S (two manuals)
    6. AT + B (manual and pedal)
    7. All in one.

    Write in the footing and fingering, it wil will help you greatly.

    Step 1 and 2 can be brief, depending on your pedalling technique.
    Step 5 and 6 can be boring but is is a neccessary step if a beginner ever wants to play the hymn smooth.

    All the best,
    Dutchy.

    Leave a comment:

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