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, January 30, 2012

My question for you: Storing music

I have a lot of music in my house. With my collection of flute music and my husband's tuba music from college, some piano music, my husband's vocal music, my ever-growing collection of organ music, and now my children's oboe and French horn music, I've outgrown my piano and organ benches and the space under another padded bench in my music room. I'm tired of having music piled on my organ, and I'd love to bring up all of the music that's currently stored in a huge box in my basement.

I'd like something that's not too bulky and a system that makes it very easy for me to find things. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start!

So I'm asking you: What have you used and seen? What has worked for you, and what has NOT worked for you?

Thanks for your help! I'd love to feature your responses in a future article.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Song: Marcello's Psalm XIX

Benedetto Marcello's Psalm XIX played by Rodney Jantzi on a Berlin reed organ.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Real Life: Playing Dotted Notes

Dotted Eighth-Sixteenth

Schmath asked a question the other day that I wanted to share and answer here:

"When you play a hymn like We Are All Enlisted, with tons of dotted 16ths, do you actually play them as dotted 16ths? It sounds weird to play them correctly because most everyone plays them more like triplets with the first two notes tied."

That is a very good question! My guess is that the majority of ward organists play dotted eighth to sixteenth notes with a triplet feel, and the majority of congregations sing them the same way.

However, I strongly believe that hymns should be played as written. When a hymn contains a dotted eighth to a sixteenth note, I believe the hymn should be played that way.

Why?

As Carol Dean says, "[The hymns] have more rhythmic energy that way, and that is what the hymn tune composer intended." I agree with her.

When I practice from the hymnal, I set my metronome to either the sixteenth note or the eighth note, generally at half-tempo, and make sure my rhythm is absolutely precise. I then slowly increase the metronome until I can play the hymn correctly at the proper tempo.

At first it might seem odd to play the hymns with precise rhythm when you and your congregation are used to hearing them with a more relaxed rhythm. However, in most congregations there are at least a few people who are trained musicians, who try to sing the hymns as written, and they will certainly appreciate your efforts. Conversely, in every congregation there are also people who are not musically trained, and they probably won't consciously notice either way. Surprisingly, from my experience, these non-musicians will sing with more enthusiasm if the rhythm is crisp and precise.

Thank you for your question. I hope my answer has helped you and any others who have the same question. Remember, "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-- Ephesians 5:18–20

Sunday Song: Jesus Once of Humble Birth

Jesus Once of Humble Birth, arranged by James Kasen, played by Alena Hall. I featured this piece in August of 2010, but my stake choir is doing his arrangement of this piece for stake conference, and I wanted to share this beautiful piece again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carol Dean's email address

Carol Dean's email was hacked and not able to be recovered. If you've requested her hymnal recently and haven't heard back, she may not have received your request. Her new email address is carolorg1111 (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you don't have a copy of her hymnal, what are you waiting for? I really love it, and I get no kick-backs of any kind from pushing it on my blog. Carol doesn't even make money on it--she prices it to break even.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Song: Ring Out Wild Bells

Happy New Year!

I couldn't find this as an organ solo, so today's organ Sunday Song is accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. :)



Hear last year's New Year's Song here.