In gathering for my somewhat random Lutheran free resource page, I’ve sort of sought far and wide. Finally, a thought really struck a chord! Learn organ-free resource!!! We all know there’s a growing shortage of organ-players, and I think it’s safe to say that’s in part because there are fewer and fewer organ teachers at local levels. Guess what I found?
The LCMS has a series of “how to” videos about Organ Playing 101. Had you ever heard about that? I sure hadn’t!
And, they’re done by a cantor I particularly respect with fondness, Kevin Hildebrand. He’s an articulate, talented conductor, composer, and teacher. A gem of a man.
- Organ Registration — What do all these names mean and how do I know which stops to use?
- Hymn Introductions — How to add variety and interest.
- Hymn Playing — How to lead the singing of the congregation with appropriate tempo, pulse, and phrasing.
- Liturgy Playing — Ideas for leading Divine Service, Setting One.
- Liturgy Playing — Ideas for leading Divine Service, Setting Three.
- Leading New Hymns and Liturgical Settings — How to help yourself and your congregation.
They are also linked to YouTube. (Did you know the LCMS has its own YouTube channel?)
As for non-free resources, if you don’t want to jump right into a hymnal, My First Hymnal has an accompaniment book with simplified hymns. You can buy the whole set (hymnal, accompaniment, and 3 CD set) for only $50 or you can buy the accompaniment separately for $40. I do like the CDs very much. First, each hymn is played with children’s choir and then the hymn is immediately repeated without the choir. Perhaps that means it leans closer to a teaching tool than easy listening, but once you get used to it it’s very enjoyable. Helps keep the words in your head.
Also, Concordia Theological Seminary offers two organ workshops every summer. I know both Dr. Grime (pronounced “grim”) and Kantor Hildebrand personally and think the world of them. 🙂 I loved being in their choirs! And, I’m sure Matthew Machemer is talented, too.
Any other recommendations for people thinking about, or trying to learn, organ playing? Obviously none of this can replace a piano or organ teacher, but it’s encouraging to know these things exist.