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      Updated 5 May 2017

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    • This question was answered some time ago, by somebody else! I seem to remember with much the same tenor as below! As far as practice is concerned, it is far more difficult nowadays than it used to be. I can remember, after Morning Service, being left to my own devices, and being told to 'drop the latch' on my way out and to 'make sure I had switched off'!! I can't see that happening nowadays - safeguarding, insurance etc! I served a short sentence in a city centre church in a major city. The difficulties of getting into the building as a member of staff were huge because of unwanted attentions of people in the area. A youngster wanting to practice there would have stood no chance of access. The issue of noise, of course, is a problem, too, in churches where access isn't a problem - vergers, flower people, those manning bookstalls etc. need to have consideration shown towards them. And then there are those who fiercely guard their instrument (it's not 'theirs' by the way!) against all invaders adopting a patronising, superior and high-handed attitude to any request for access.  (Back to the organist and terrorist!!!) I'm afraid, in my experience, there is quite a lot of this and, for some things, but given a more sympathetic approach, I can, slightly, understand a reluctance to allow access! I'd be willing to bet that the majority of students of the organ in our Universities and Conservatoires began their lives in the 'Public school' sector where they did have access to an instrument for practice. A youngster in a city Comprehensive (or whatever they are called these days!) has real obstacles to overcome.   
    • A couple of concertos? There are Four Piano concerti (my late wife had the C minor in her repertoire!) , Three Violin Concerti as well as a Variations for Violin & orchestra, a 'cello concerto and a Clarinet concerto (an excellent recording by Thea King!)! There is also a 'concert Piece' for Organ & orchestra. I've always thought the best of Stanford was his Orchestral & Chamber Music. The Seven symphonies, particularly the, rarely performed, E flat symphony, are wonderful.  There are Eight String quartets (recorded by the Dante quartet) and three Piano Trios as well as a host of other music.  I looked at the 2nd 'cello sonata once - but never performed it as far as I can remember. I have a recollection of playing a trio for Clarinet, 'cello and Piano but can find no mention of it anywhere. However the pianist was the, late, great Harold Truscott and it may be that he had a score of it in that vast collection of, hardly ever played, works he kept in several cupboards!!! My objection to the Canticles in C isn't musical I hesitate to add. I'd be willing to bet that any cathedral organist would tell you that it is the singularly most submitted work for 'visiting choirs' at Evensong and usually comes wrapped up in a mediocre performance - which, of course, does not detract from the quality of the music!! 
    • Both my church and I are happy for the organ to be used more or less any time. However it's easy for us as it is a semi-rural church which is open all the time and rarely anyone else there. There's only been about 4 'learners' used it in the 30 years I've been there though.
    • I agree with much of what has been said before. As most of our organs are in churches, a lot hinges on the future of the church. Without getting into a debate about the future of the church I would like to focus on a few practical aspects that make it difficult for the development of new organists and new people that appreciate listening to the organ. Unfortunately the majority of organs are in churches and many churches are now locked making it difficult for anyone other than the regular organist to get in and play. And when they are open, practice opportunities may be limited with excuses such as ‘this is a place of worship’. On top of this, safeguarding issues add further stumbling blocks making it very difficult in some cases for young people to learn and practice in a church environment. Having said that, I think the organ (and the church) can still have a future, but this is reliant on all parties (church, clergy, organists & worshipers) wanting to make their building and its resources the centre of their community. My questions to all fellow forumites are as follows: Other than by having lessons (usually not cheap), how easy is it for someone to get practice time on your usual instruments either on a regular or occasional basis? How do we work together with the owners of our instruments to make the organ accessible for learners as well as well as listeners?  
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