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!

List of Lessons

Comprehensive List of Lessons on this Blog

Before We Begin: Acquiring the Essentials discusses proper organ shoes, Carol Dean's marked hymnal, and how to compile your organ's stoplist.

Lesson 1: Understanding Parts of the Organ covers the organ console, the manuals, the pedal board, expression and crescendo pedals, stops, couplers, pistons and combination action, and the organ bench.

Lesson 2: Demystifying the Organ Stops, Part 1 explains the meaning of the numbers and Roman numerals on the organ stops.

Lesson 3: Demystifying the Organ Stops, Part 2 explains the flue pipes, the reed pipes, and their families and types.

Lesson 4: Hymn Registrations briefly explains the different types of registration and how to create chorus registrations for congregational accompaniment.

Lesson 5: Interpreting the Hymn Text teaches the importance of tempo, registration guidelines, and how to better share the message of the hymn through registration.

Lesson 6: Breaking in Those Shoes teaches proper bench positioning, the importance of clean pedals, pedaling basics and symbols, and intervals up to a fourth.

Lesson 7: More Pedaling quickly reviews lesson 6, then covers larger intervals, heel playing, prelocating, and releases and note value.

Lesson 8: The Manuals teaches proper posture, seven organ techniques, common tones and tying, and practical application.

Lesson 9: Playing Your First Hymn teaches the 15-step and 7-step methods for learning hymns using hymn 285, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way."

Lesson 10: More Techniques in Hymns covers the techniques needed to learn hymn number 4, "Truth Eternal," from pedaling and fingering, to common tones and repeated notes.

Lesson 11: Prelude Registration is from Don Cook's The New LDS Organist packet and covers chorus and solo and accompaniment registrations.

Lesson 12: Prelude and Postlude shares the importance of prelude and postlude, what to play, and when to start.

Lesson 13: Thumb Glissando and a New Hymn shares a video of proper thumb glissando technique and how to implement it in hymn number 11, "What Was Witnessed in the Heavens."

Lesson 14: Marking a Hymn, Part 1 teaches how to mark hymn 296, "Our Father, by Whose Name" for breathing.

Lesson 15: Marking a Hymn, Part 2 teaches how to mark hymn 296, "Our Father, by Whose Name" for pedaling.

Lesson 16: Marking a Hymn, Part 3 covers how to mark hymn 296, "Our Father, by Whose Name" for common tones and tying, direct fingering, and redistribution of the inner part.

Lesson 17: More on Stops, Couplers, Pistons, and Combination Action explains stops and couplers, pistons and combination action in more depth and explains how to utilize programmable pistons.

Lesson 18: Seeking More Instruction shares numerous websites, books, software, courses, and workshops that are available to organists of all skill levels.

Lesson 19: Registering the Organ for Choir Accompaniment is Carol Dean's first guest lesson and covers the basics for choir accompaniment registration.

Lesson 20: Transcribing Piano Music for the Organ is the second half of Carol Dean's guest lesson and teaches how to best adapt piano accompaniment pieces for the organ.

Lesson 21: The History of the Organ gives a very brief overview of the different sounds of the organ throughout history.

Lesson 22: More technique (Don't forget the piano!) covers the technique, theory, scales and arpeggios that are helpful if continuing organ study beyond the basics that have been discussed previously.

Lesson 23: Helpful Resources shares a number of resources including theory, organ history, technique, and free lessons, while also assigning a hymn to learn for lesson 24.

Lesson 24: Creative Introductions for "Now Let Us Rejoice" shared five different introductions for this hymn, ranging from quite simple to moderately difficult.

Lesson 25: Leave the Piano Hands at the Piano shows proper hand position (and improper hand positions) at the organ.