Welcome to The LDS Organist Blog

The purpose of this blog is to help pianists learn to become true organists. Many individuals believe that if you play the piano you can play the organ, but the instruments differ greatly. While this blog is specifically geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, much of the information shared can be utilized by all. I hope that the information I share here will help you become an effective organist in your ward, stake, or other congregation.

Feel free to browse and search this blog. It was started in January 2010 and while new posts aren't added very often, this blog contains a wealth of information and is a wonderful resource for all organists. If you're a new reader, you can find the first lesson here: Before We Begin: Acquiring the Essentials. Also, please "like" the corresponding facebook page, which is updated more often. A link is provided on the right sidebar, or you can click here.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lesson 22: More technique (Don't forget the piano!)

Click here for Lesson 21: The History of the Organ

I just took some time to review the 21 lessons which are currently on this website. I think they provide a solid basis for organ playing. In the next series of lessons, we'll begin branching out from this foundation.

It is now a good idea to begin working from a technique book. If you are interested in pursuing certification through BYU Independent Study, you might wish to use one of the books listed on their materials page:
  • Cook, OrganTutor Workbook ($17.50) or OrganTutor Organ 101 ($65-67.50).
  • Davis, The Organist’s Manual ($56) or
  • Gleason, Method of Organ Playing ($67) or
  • Keeler/Blackham, Basic Organ Techniques ($16)
It's also a good idea to brush up on music theory if you want to learn creative hymn techniques. The music theory book that is recommended for BYU certifications is:
  • Harder, Paul, and Greg A. Steinke. Basic Materials in Music Theory. ($59) (an old version works perfectly well)
Now that we've covered the basics in organ playing, we can start expanding from here. I reviewed all of the lessons on July 12th, and hope that you've taken the opportunity to go through the series of lessons again.


In order to play the organ well, a good background on the piano really helps. If you don't already, I recommend starting to play and practice all of the major scales and arpeggios with the proper fingerings. Many online resources are available with this information. Here are three I found through a quick Google search:
Additionally, a Hanon, Czerny, or similar piano technique book is also recommended.


This week take some time to review your major scales and arpeggios. Pull out an old piano technique book and review the exercises found there. While not necessary, a good piano background does enhance organ playing.

Review the past lessons on this blog and do some self-evaluation. Keep track of areas you need to work on, and continue perfecting your organ technique.

Purchase an organ technique book and begin working through it.

Continue playing through pieces you have previously learned, so that your progress is not lost.

In Conclusion

While the organ is a completely different instrument than the piano, some of the techniques do remain the same. The fingerings of scales and arpeggios, and the skills learned through piano scales, arpeggios, broken chords, and chords technical studies will greatly benefit your organ playing.

Continue on to Lesson 23.


  1. Hi
    I love this tune (Jesus of Humble Birth) played by Alena. I'd like to know if its possible to hear individual stops on their own on this blog. I particulary like the reed sound with tremelo. I'm not sure if its a reed? It would be great if we could have a video showing us and explaining each stop and their sound. I'm not sure if there is a website doing this already?



  2. That's a good idea. I will see what I can do to get some of that information on the blog.

  3. Hello Jennifer

    Could you clarify one little thing for me please? Should we practise scales on the piano or on the organ? I was not quite sure what you meant.


  4. Basically, I'm just saying that it's good to make sure you continue to play the piano, and not neglect it completely. Just spend a little time with your piano technique every week.