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#703366 - 03/07/02 06:44 PM How difficult is it to learn the Organ?  
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 717
Praetorian_AD Offline
500 Post Club Member
Praetorian_AD  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 717
England
I'm just about to finish my last piano exam (Grade 8 British Exam) and am now really interested in taking the Organ, so that I (and this may be a pipe dream) might get an scholarship to a British University. Here's the only niggle: They demand a Grade 8 Organist, and I'd only have a year and a half to reach that kind of standard.

What I really want to know is this: if you're an advanced-level pianist, how hard would it be to take up the organ? Are they very different? And do you reckon I could pull that kind of thing off? Please, any help would be really useful. Cheers everyone.

-Peter

#703367 - 03/08/02 01:11 AM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 597
Eldon Offline
500 Post Club Member
Eldon  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 597
Illinois
Hi Praetorian,
Wow! I'm not sure what level 8 organ is; but I do know that you need a good piano background to seriously begin organ lessons. Boy, just try and tell that to someone that wants to learn organ without already having piano! eek I started piano lessons in 2nd grade, and also began organ lessons in 8th grade. Luckily, I had some wonderful teachers. I continued piano and organ lessons through junior high and high school. My organ teacher was and still is wonderful. (SOME people ARE older than me and still alive) smile In addition to piano perf. in college, I took 2 more years of organ. Today I play at 2 churches....2 blocks apart...every Sunday. It greatly augments my income, but I LOVE playing in church. It has been soooo long, I can't remember not playing in church. My life in music is like "getting paid to have fun"! Gee, I'm really off the topic here. Well, the obvious differences of course are the feel/touch. Plus, every repeated note must have the proper rest after it. Most of the time, you'll be reading 3 staffs at once. Hymns, when played properly, use the manual for the sop..alto and tenor and the bass line is played in the pedals. And lastly, but most important, is learning about organ registration, and learning how to select good registration, and also about the types of pipes...flues, reeds, etc. I hope this helps you a little. BTW, don't tell anyone here (especially Larry) but I think the King of Instruments is definitely the organ. laugh AND, you've sure got a lot to do in one year. smile


Sincerely,
Eldon
#703368 - 03/08/02 07:23 AM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ?  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 26
Wags Offline
Full Member
Wags  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 26
Praetorian_AD:

You have a big advantage that you don't have to learn music, but there are some differences in playing the organ.

1. There is no sustain pedal. This means you have to keep your finger on that note or it quits playing immediately.

2. The pedals will be an interesting challenge for you if you haven't done it before. Your fingers know right where to go, but your feet will not. Imagine playing the theme of a Bach fugue with your feet.

3. Emotion takes a different technique than the piano, because it doesn't matter how hard of fast you hit the key. It's more important on how long you hold the key or very slight changes in tempo. There are other tricks also.

Good luck with this. I am going the other direction. I have played the organ for years and am now working on the piano.

#703369 - 07/20/02 02:03 AM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ?  
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 151
Tony Offline
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Tony  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 151
Houston
DEAR PRAETORIAN,
YOU'RE BEGINNIG AN EXCITING PROCESS.

WHATEVER YOU DO, KEEP IN MIND THAT THE FINER YOUR TEACHER AND THE FINER YOUR PIANO TECHNIQUE AND MUSICIANSHIP, THE MORE RAPID AND SATISFYING YOU WILL FIND LEARNING THE ORGAN.

IT'S LONG BEEN SAID BY FINE ORGANISTS THAN ONES ORGAN KEYBOARD TECHNIQUE RARELY SURPASSES PIANO TECHNIQUE. I COULD NOT POSSIBLY OVER-EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF FINDING A FINE, WELL-TRAINED ORGANIST TO STUDY WITH.

BEST OF LUCK, AND LET US KNOW OF YOUR PROGRESS.

BEST REGARDS,
TONY

PS IN MY MIND SOME OF THE ENGLISH ORGANS ARE AMONGST THE MOST EXCITING SOUNDS IN THE WORLD. HAVE YOU PERCHANCE HEARD THE ORGAN AT ST. MARY REDCLIFF IN BRISTOL? IT'S BREATHTAKING, AS ARE MANY OF THE LATE 19TH INSTRUMENTS. PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE HARRISON AND WILLIS ORGANS NEAR YOU.

#1306909 - 11/16/09 11:21 PM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ? [Re: Tony]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 13
Dew643 Offline
Junior Member
Dew643  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 13
Boy,I am sure glad I came across this posting. I have always wanted to learn to play organ,and have always been told it is actually best to start out on piano so you can learn basic fingering techniques,etc,etc. Knowing the organ requires a slightly different technique since the keys are not weighted as they are on piano and to keep a note playing,you have to hold the key down. Plus,you have the pedals to learn as well.

But,by the same token,I have also been told you can start right out on organ,but it would just take a bit longer since
you have the pedal clavier to learn as well. Jazz organ great
Joey DeFrancessco started right out on organ from what I have
read in the past,but for the life of me,I can't remeber what
music magazine I read that in since it has been so long. I feel I can do that,too,even if it does take a bit longer to learn since I have the desire to do so.

#1308402 - 11/19/09 11:39 AM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ? [Re: Dew643]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 24
Big_Al Offline
Full Member
Big_Al  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 24
UK
Hi Peter,
As an Organist I can tell you that, with Grade 8 Piano under your belt, it is perfectly possible to reach that standard within a year and a half. If you concentrate on pedalling for most of your practice time you should be there in no time, the scales and arpeggios are obviously the same and apart from pedalling there is little else to learn other than the 'flat hand' technique and stop combinations etc.
If you work hard, you should have no worries about passing the grade, as your sight reading and scales should already be at Grade 8 standard.

Best of luck,
Al

PS check out my reply to this post, it might be helpful smile

Last edited by Big_Al; 11/19/09 11:42 AM.

Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor BWV 542, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: 3. Presto Agitato Op. 27/2
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor Op. 32, Ballade #1 in G Minor Op. 23/2
Liszt: La Campanella S.140/3, Grand Galop Chromatique S.219
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op. 23
#1313838 - 11/28/09 12:37 PM Re: How difficult is it to learn the Organ? [Re: Big_Al]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
I found the book (available at Amazon and Sheet Music Plus)


The technique and art of organ playing by Clarence Dickerson the definitive, absolutely most helpful text book ever. Everything you need to learn. It was written decades ago, but surpasses any other book I've seen. Gleason wrote a good book if you'd like to buy two, but it barely holds a candle.

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Technique-and-Art-of-Organ-Playing/1559169

Last edited by apple*; 11/28/09 12:37 PM.

accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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