When I set out to learn to play the organ, I wasn't a total beginner - for 9 years I've been playing piano and my first organ teacher asked me to choose any of the chorale preludes from Bach's Orgelbuchlein. It wasn't easy - the pedal part is demanding and the texture can be quite complex.
That's how many people start with organ playing, though. First they study some years at the piano and later they begin to play the organ. Some people start at the organ from scratch too and continue to advance while playing solely on this instrument.
Whatever the case might be, it's important to assess your organ playing level wisely and choose appropriate repertoire.
When I'm teaching thousands of students from 89 countries at my site Secrets of Organ Playing, I publish organ training materials divided into 4 levels: Beginner, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. At first, I would just write the appropriate level within the description of the training or score. When my training collection was small, it was fine but now it has pages upon pages of training programs and practice scores.
Until recently, when an organ student came to my store to look at some scores, there wasn't a simple way for them to browse the trainings at the appropriate level. Everything was mixed up. But a few days ago I went through all my products and tagged them according to Beginner, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and All Levels.
Now anybody can find the score or training program at their particular level very easily which not only saves time but helps to avoid frustration when choosing the piece that you love at the wrong level of organ playing experience.
For example, a lot of people love Bach's D Minor Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565 or Widor's Toccata. But both of them are Advanced Level pieces. What if an organist can only play Basic level compositions?
If a person loves Bach at this level, they can learn 6 Schubler chorales for starters. If a person loves French symphonic music, one can start with Berceuse by Louis Vierne. This way students will still enjoy learning music that they would likely find beautiful and at the same time avoid frustration of picking the wrong level.
What is your organ playing level?
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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