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!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Song: Dieterich Buxtehude's g minor prelude

Dieterich Buxtehude's g minor prelude played by Gustav Leonhardt

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Song: Rejoice, Beloved Christians BWV 734

Carlo Curley plays J.S. Bach's "Rejoice, Beloved Christians" BWV 734 in the Basilica of Mission Dolores, San Francisco, California.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Song: Organ Toccata from Pokarekare Ana Suite

Organ toccata from Martin Setchell's Pokarekare Ana Suite, based on the beautiful Maori love song of the same name. Recorded on the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger pipe organ by Martin Setchell.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look Ahead

Curves ahead sign
Image Source


When I began to drive, I could not do the figure eight. No matter what I did, the car would not stay inside those white lines. Driving on the road, I was jerky when it came to curves--I stayed in my lane, but my passengers did not have a smooth ride. As I became more experienced, I learned why I had these challenges driving. I did not look ahead. I was focused on where I was right then. Driving the figure eight required anticipating the curve--knowing what was ahead and making sure I got there effectively. When driving on the road, anticipating the curves in the road allowed me to smoothly follow the curvature without jolting my passengers as I entered a curve.

What does this have to do with playing the organ?

As an impatient person, I tend to rush the last beat in every measure, no matter what I'm playing. I generally practice with a metronome, as I did with the Buxtehude's Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland. Consequently, my rendition is very boxy and, frankly, boring.

Now that I've learned the piece, I'm attempting to shape the lines without introducing extraneous movement in my hands and wrists. This is not an easy task for me, and I've struggled for a couple of weeks with trying to make it flow. I think I had a breakthrough today. Instead of focusing on the current measure and note, trying to figure out where to push and pull the tempo, I need to look ahead and figure out how to get where I'm going effectively. It's not about where I am--it's about where I'm going, and where I'm taking the listener.

I think by stepping back and focusing beyond the measure and notes that my hands are currently playing I'll be able to finally figure out how to bring Buxtehude's piece to life.


In case you aren't familiar with this beautiful piece of Bach's mentor, here is Felipe Dominguez, a recent BYU organ performance graduate playing it:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Song: Paskeblomst

Naji Hakim plays PĂ…SKEBLOMST (Improvisation) at Eglise Saint Martin - Dudelange (Luxembourg).