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!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Slow and Steady: The Tortoise Had it All Figured Out



When I first started studying the organ, I felt that the more I learned the less I actually knew.  There was a very steep learning curve, and I felt left behind. When I finished my Organ Essentials semester class at BYU, I was sure of only two things: I could NOT play the organ, and I was NEVER going to take the Organ Literature class that followed.

Life has a way of working things out, and while I never did take the Organ Literature class, I ended up devoting much of my life to the study of the organ, even picking up a number of organ students along the way.

One of the biggest problems my students face, is one I faced myself:  incredibly slow visible progress. It seems that hours and hours of practice produce a negligible amount of success, especially at first.

It's frustrating and discouraging when hours of dedicated practice seem fruitless.  To help my students, I always teach them what is actually happening.

Playing the organ involves many different skills and cognitive abilities that aren't used anywhere else.  Learning how to play with independence of line (sustaining the soprano while the alto line breaks, for example; or playing the bass line in the pedals, but the tenor line with the left hand) requires the brain to make new connections.  Recent research shows that the brain, even throughout adulthood, has remarkable plasticity. It might be difficult for an old brain to make new connections, but it's never too late for renovation!

With steady, consistent practice, your brain is making new pathways. While you often won't see remarkable progress immediately, even after numerous, consistent practice sessions, your brain is working behind the scenes, building and strengthening new neural pathways.

After many consistent practice sessions, you will see improvement.  Once the pathways are strengthened, success will come, sometimes overnight, sometimes a tiny bit here and there, but you will finally realize the result of your hard work.

Take heart:  just like the tortoise in Aesop's fable, you, too, will win the race and find great success on the organ through consistent, diligent, and dedicated practice.

Enjoy the journey, have faith that your brain is working behind the scenes, and celebrate little successes along the way.

I know you can do it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

BYU Organ Workshop Notes and Pictures



Are you following this blog on the facebook page?  If not, you're missing out on so much!  Check it out today for pictures and notes from the BYU Organ Workshop!