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I started Organ lessons almost a year ago, unfortunatley I have to play on an Allen Digital as the Walker organ is beyond repair. Is it acceptable to approach Churches just for this purpose or would you have to commit to filling in?

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I don't think there is any harm in asking, but be prepared for a variety of responses. By "filling in" I assume you mean having to play for services occasionally. If the church has a decent, regular organist you might get away with it, but if it is struggling or operates a rota (as some churches I know do), I would think it quite likely that you would be expected to chip in and help. It's not an unreasonable request - there's no such thing as a free lunch!

 

You could try contacting your local organists' association. Last year the Incorporated Association of Organists asked all the local associations to compile a list of organs that are available for practice. I don't think our association here has made a great deal of headway with this, but the story might be different up your way.

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I started Organ lessons almost a year ago, unfortunatley I have to play on an Allen Digital as the Walker organ is beyond repair. Is it acceptable to approach Churches just for this purpose or would you have to commit to filling in?

 

Thanks for that. I have just contacted our local Organists Association.

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Thanks for that. I have just contacted our local Organists Association.

 

St Oswald's in Durham City has a very nice Peter Collins (III man, 29 stops). I was organ scholar there, still live locally and know the current DoM very well indeed. They are alway happy for people to practice (there wasn't a charge when I was around, if there is now, it will be minimal) and the church has two organists of its own and a couple of "dabblers" in the choir and so the committment to filling in will be virtrally non-existent. We only had deps twice in the 5 years I was there. PM me if you want further contact details.

 

Charles

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Guest spottedmetal
I don't think there is any harm in asking, but be prepared for a variety of responses. By "filling in" I assume you mean having to play for services occasionally. If the church has a decent, regular organist you might get away with it, but if it is struggling or operates a rota (as some churches I know do), I would think it quite likely that you would be expected to chip in and help. It's not an unreasonable request - there's no such thing as a free lunch!

 

Hi!

 

I entirely understand the reason for fear of being asked to do something . . . but, being slightly cheeky, ;) were any priest to ask me to undertake such a bargain and requiring the imposition of some obligation, :blink: I'd remind him of that maxim of giving without counting the cost . . . after all, this is where Christianity is meant to start isn't it?

 

The fact is that were a priest to encourage someone who wants to play the organ by allowing practice, he's investing for the future and good-will will eventually triumph. Interaction is the only way of getting others on board . . . which is why I'd like to get Barbara Dennerlein bringing in the younger generation in over here . . .

 

I knew an Italian once who had certainly taken tips from maffia bosses, if he wasn't one himself - one of his principles was always to keep others under (unspoken) obligation! If christians forget where they come from it's not surprising that the Devil has all the best tunes! :D

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal

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Who says it's 'Beyond Repair' and why? :blink:

 

DW

 

This was before my time, but I presume it had something to do with water collecting in the cellar beneath the Organ, the last entry in the tuning book by Nelson and Co is "I've tried my best" In fact it hasn't even been turned on since 1992.

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I started Organ lessons almost a year ago, unfortunatley I have to play on an Allen Digital as the Walker organ is beyond repair. Is it acceptable to approach Churches just for this purpose or would you have to commit to filling in?

 

I have much the same situation here, except without the pipe organ. I have to say I absolutely hate playing the Rodgers (as I am sure I have mentioned many times before).

I think it would be acceptable to ask about this. I was once at an organ recital by Christopher Herrick and the organist at the local Anglican church asked me if I would like to be able to use their organ. I have had access to the organ ever since then and have not had to have any responsibilities for filling in etc.

My organ teacher regularly lets me use the organ in his church, but there I do accompany the choir about once a month or play for a service.

 

The organist at the Anglican church said to me that the organ is like a piece of furniture and if it is only used every Sunday or for special occasions, it will eventually gather up dust, so the church tries to get the organ used as much as possible.

 

JA

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I started Organ lessons almost a year ago, unfortunatley I have to play on an Allen Digital as the Walker organ is beyond repair. Is it acceptable to approach Churches just for this purpose or would you have to commit to filling in?

I think it's fine. I would remain open to filling in if you feel you're upto it. If you're still learning and don't think you're yet ready, I would let them know - spotted metal's point about investing for the future is spot on. Playing for services is good experience as long as you've got enough time to prepare (I've found 2-3 weeks for a newbie is about right) and I wouldn't avoid it on priciple. It's also nice for everyone to find out who the mysterious person is who plays the organ in private during the week...

 

If you're open to occasionally helping out, you'll find the church is more likely to be open to you practicing on their organ for free.

 

I'm interested about the comments on practising on an electronic in a church. I know they're much more attractive at home but when will churches realise that no organist wants to travel to a church to practise on an electronic?

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And, if the choir and music are decent (big if), why would one not want to do this?

 

On the other hand, this could be quite daunting for someone who had not been playing for long and who had little (or no) experience of accompanying a choir - obviously this is not something which can be learnt in two to three weeks.

 

It could also be rather daunting for the choir.

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Guest spottedmetal
The organist at the Anglican church said to me that the organ is like a piece of furniture and if it is only used every Sunday or for special occasions, it will eventually gather up dust, so the church tries to get the organ used as much as possible.

Worse than this! If furniture is not moved around and bumped, and especially if made soft by a little damp, woodworm get at it!

 

So an organ MUST be used as much as possible I lost my first organ that way to woodworm and had to give it away for pipework :( (BRING ON THOSE OPHICLEIDES AND TUBAS Pierre et al - they're good for a building :lol: ).

 

Last year I took the bull by the horns, disconnected the main wind-trunk and inserted a fumigation bomb into my Hunter. I've been coughing ever since whenever I play and we need to give all the pipes a squirt of compressed air. Has anyone else a better tip for preventing woodworm? :D

 

The onset of the resulting threat of lung disease was actually part of my inspiration for giving concerts on a toaster . . . but there are toasters and toasters and mine served cathedral services for a dozen years and was referred to as "remarkably effective" there in its former home. So yes a toaster in a church is better than none at all . . .

 

But one should give toasters no reverence - regard them as stacks of MIDI keyboards, midi sound-banks and replaceable electronics, and one should connect as many amplifier outputs as possible as well as as many of the very best speakers that one can find, each individually tailored or designed to the stops which are coming through them. In this way, an electronic can be extremely satisfying and the one that we are using for our Vierne recitals

http://www.jungleboffin.com/mp3/organ/hugh...-symphony-1.mp3

can be played without being aware that it's not a pipe organ.

 

MIDI keyboards can be used to drive Hauptwerk

http://www.crumhorn-labs.com/forum/viewtop...sc&start=15

and I'm sure some people here will find that they have friends there.

 

In addition on the old topic about toasters Richard Fairhurst mentioned the Ahlborn modules. I am having first hand experience with these and with the Content ones, and both companies are very cooperative about releasing their service manuals with full circuit diagrams, which are really helpful. Syndyne in the US do drawstop control interfaces for the Ahlborn but I'm actually in the process of doing hard wired control extension interface boards.

 

The Ahlborn modules were the basis of a touring organ

http://www.bobrichardson.com/desert_organ_1.html and I loved the concept of duetting with a pyrophone or Satan's Calliope. This is a specially adapted toaster in the form of a special sports car car to stand outside your living room,

http://www.fotonomy.com/stevem/photo/541cddf0/

with a reclining organ on the back with pipes which are actually pulse-jet engines. This is a really different approach to a home organ:

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/08....ngman-0134.html

http://lea.mit.edu/gallery/burningman_fire/hosking.html

 

Made by Lucyfer, the Engineer from Hell, perhaps if priests commissioned these to stand outside their churches, they might be able to preach hell-fire and all that and gain a lot of attention!

http://valleywag.com/tech/burning-man/sata...sert-295789.php

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal

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On the other hand, this could be quite daunting for someone who had not been playing for long and who had little (or no) experience of accompanying a choir - obviously this is not something which can be learnt in two to three weeks.

 

It could also be rather daunting for the choir.

 

Would you not expect an organ teacher to offer some guidance on this? Mine did, and went out of his way to start me when he felt I was up to it.

 

R.

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Would you not expect an organ teacher to offer some guidance on this? Mine did, and went out of his way to start me when he felt I was up to it.

 

R.

 

Yes - of course I would. My point was that this is not something which everyone feels capable of undertaking. Neither is it quite the same as accompanying a congregation singing a hymn. Even if one is talking about an anthem (as opposed to a psalm, for example), there may be changes of speed and possibly frequent changes in registration. It would normally be necessary to watch a conductor; it would also be necessary to listen to the choir, to assess the balance of the ensemble as one was playing and to adjust the dynamic levels of the organ as appropriate. All these and other skills require time, experience and a good ear (and a good sense of tone-colour) in order to achieve a satisfying performance.

 

Now I would not suggest that accompanying hymns is a walk-over, but it is possible for a relatively inexperienced person to do less damage whilst engaged in this latter activity.

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Yes - of course I would. My point was that this is not something which everyone feels capable of undertaking. Neither is it quite the same as accompanying a congregation singing a hymn. Even if one is talking about an anthem (as opposed to a psalm, for example), there may be changes of speed and possibly frequent changes in registration. It would normally be necessary to watch a conductor; it would also be necessary to listen to the choir, to assess the balance of the ensemble as one was playing and to adjust the dynamic levels of the organ as appropriate. All these and other skills require time, experience and a good ear (and a good sense of tone-colour) in order to achieve a satisfying performance.

 

Now I would not suggest that accompanying hymns is a walk-over, but it is possible for a relatively inexperienced person to do less damage whilst engaged in this latter activity.

 

Whilst agreeing with what you say, I wouldn't expect this to be such an issue at churches where there is the standard of music you suggest (choir, anthems, psalms), where the DoM would, one would hope, have the judgement not to expect an inexperienced player to take on too much. Where I can see it being an issue is where the sole organist is a reluctant, possibly with no training, where the church could - often in desperation - exert pressure on an inexperienced player to help out, and this could be a real disincentive if it all goes wrong. But at least in this situation in most cases hymn playing is probably all that would be expected. Again it's back to how to maintain people's motivation and not lose them isn't it? I would put my money on the sort of church you describe.

 

R.

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