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 new posts will be added regularly. If you're a new reader, you can find the first lesson here: Before We Begin: Acquiring the Essentials.

Thanks for visiting!

List of Articles

Comprehensive List of Articles on this Blog

The Importance of Proper and Consistent Tempo shares through video example why proper tempo is so important in congregational singing.

Which Organ is Best--Johannus, Allen, or Rodgers? is my personal review of the three current options for LDS chapels.

Review: Nine Hymn Studies by D. Kim Croft is my review and recommendation of this extremely simple yet beautiful compilation of hymn arrangements.

Breathing is an article on why it is important for the organ to breathe, and what happens when the organ breathes in the wrong places. It has video examples.

Seek the Good is an inspiring reminder that music in the Church should not be elitist--it is for everyone.

Organ Tour: The John Wanamaker Grand Organ highlights the world's biggest pipe organ through two videos and a link to more information.

Articles and the AGO is a request for guest articles and an introduction to the American Guild of Organists.

Confidence and Preparation shows the difference between a well-prepared and unprepared organist through word and video, and explains the importance of preparation.

Free Bach downloads shares a link to free audio downloads of all 270 Bach organ works.

Magnum Opus is Again Available brings attention to an excellent behind-the-facade glimpse of the design and building of the Schoenstein organ in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Using Hymns Made Easy shares different ways to utilize this hymn book in Sacrament Meetings.

Guest Article: Allen AP-22a compared to AP16 is a guest article written by Barry Holben, Vice President of Sales for the Allen Organ Company, and also includes videos of Mr. Holben playing the organ.

Happy 325 Birthday, Bach! is a brief biographical sketch of the supreme composer of the Baroque, and as one of the greatest of all time.

Playing with Injuries is an article I researched after I sprained my ankle quite severely. What do most organists do when they suffer an injury?

Tracker Action compares this action to the manual typewriter's action though visualization and videos, and explains what track action actually means.

Organ Tour: The oldest playable organ in the world shares pictures and videos of a "swallows nest organ" from the 14th-century, the oldest playable organ in the world.

Free Accompaniments explains that free accompaniments are not arrangements you can get for no cost, but they can be valuable if utilized sparingly in your congregation.

Guest Article: Playing Preludes from a Hymnal was written by Mike Carson, former dean of the Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and current Bonneville District Convener in the AGO shares valuable information on how to play effective prelude directly from the hymnal.

Help me spread the word! is a request for helping share the resources on this blog with others. It includes a file that can be printed, then shared with those around you.

Organ Tour: The Great Stalacpipe Organ shares information on what is not technically an organ, but what is the world's largest instrument, covering 3 1/2 acres.

A new approach to organ technique shares my discovery of a new way of thinking after David Chamberlain shared his philosophy on organ technique.

The Mormon Tabernacle Organ Websites shares some great resources on the organs of Temple Square.

Organs on Temple Square to be Featured on Pipedreams links to the Pipedreams website where the program can be heard.

Review: Roland C-330 Classic Organ is my review of the Roland C-330 after attending an event where Hector Olivera demonstrated this new home organ.

Poco a poco 2009 is Bonnie Goodliffe's BYU Organ Workshop keynote address from 2009.

Controlling Our Thoughts is Parley L. Belnap's BYU Organ Workshop keynote address from 2008.

On the Pursuit of Excellence is Andrew E. Unsworth's BYU Organ Workshop keynote address from 2007.

What Brings us Together? is Dale E Monson's BYU Organ Workshop keynote address from 2006.

The Unified Organist is Dr. Richard L. Elliott's BYU Organ Workshop keynote address from 2005.

The Poetry of Hymns is from Linda Margetts' class at the BYU Organ Workshop and shows that there is so much more to hymns than most of use realize.

Hymn Singing Should Not Be Boring shares different ways to make hymn singing a new experience for your congregation.

Making Time for Practice suggests effective times to practice on your church's organ, and tips for effective practice time on your home piano.

A Call to Worship shares a couple of different techniques to encourage reverence through your prelude playing.

Hymn 119:  A Call to Worship shares my experience implementing the information in the "A Call to Worship" article and also includes the arrangement I used for that experiment.

In The Revisions to the Church Handbook of Instruction, I outlined some of the changes between the old handbook and the new one.

Articulated Organ Technique touches on a very different technique from the Legato that is used for hymn playing.

Practice Tip: The Metronome shares how actually implementing something that we've heard dozens of times will make learning pieces easier.

Sometimes Getting the Brain Out of the Way is our biggest challenge when it comes to performing.  This article helps you do that.

Manual-Only Hymns and Transformations is a good bridge for a beginning organist.  The pedals are not used, and effective prelude and/or hymn accompaniment can be played from these pieces while the new organist is learning proper organ technique.

Keeping the Tabernacle in Tune is a fun look behind the scenes of the Tabernacle organ.

Look Ahead reminds us not to be so focused on each individual note that we lose the big picture.

The more you know, the less it seems you know discusses that it's normal to feel discouraged as you start to learn more about the organ.

Slow and Steady shares that no matter how hard the piece is, it can be conquered, slowly and steadily.

Line Upon Line teaches the importance of making small and simple changes instead of being overwhelmed with many changes at once.