Click the topics below to learn more about OrganTutor:
WHAT TYPE OF COMPUTER DO
DOES THERE NEED TO BE AN
ORGAN NEAR THE COMPUTER?
No. You can study the video and audio examples, take notes in the workbook, and apply what you learn when you get to an organ.
MIDI is not supported in version 2.0. Instead, all audio examples play through the computer's speakers.
WHAT KIND OF ORGAN PLAYING
IS TAUGHT IN ORGANTUTOR ORGAN 101?
Reputable organ instructors and schools use a wide variety of approaches in organ teaching. Organ 101 focuses on the techniques and concepts that are basic to playing classical concert and traditional sacred organ music, including hymns. The legato manual and pedal techniques that are critical to playing in this style are demonstrated and described in the manual and pedal technique lessons. The articulate legato technique that can be use in performing the earlier organ music is only introduced in Organ 101, and it can be heard in performance in some of the sound clips.
The Organ 101 approach to teaching technique is similar to that of many common organ method books. Two such books are listed below:
HOW CAN ORGAN 101 HELP STUDENTS?
Students can come to their
teachers better prepared and with more confidence with the help of Organ
Students can work systematically through all 62 lessons by following the included Weekly Preparation Guide. Organ 101 teaches organ registration, hymn playing, and other general concepts in "Study Lessons." Lesson Objectives are provided for note taking to help focus on the most important points of each Study Lesson. Organ 101 also offers specific direction in legato manual and pedal technique and in hymn playing projects. Representative exercises and projects are modeled in video Examples, which are reinforced by helpful hints in the workbook on how to learn the techniques and projects thoroughly.
Students may also use Organ
101 as a practical reference on specific topics. The lessons are grouped
under six units, each of which contains a series of lessons on that topic
that can be studied individually or in order:
HOW CAN ORGAN 101 HELP ORGAN TEACHERS?
Teachers can use Organ 101
as a sort of "teaching assistant" by sending the student home from each organ
lesson with an assignment. This may include particular lessons in one
or more of the units. For example, an assignment from Stage 3 of the Weekly
Preparation Guide might include the following lessons:
Working through these lessons at his or her own pace, the student can use the following learning aids as often as needed in preparation for the next organ lesson:
HOW IS ORGAN 101 ORGANIZED?
Organ 101 consists of over one thousand individual screens for study, comparable to paragraphs or pages in a book. During normal study of a lesson you normally progress directly from screen to screen. Individual screens are grouped into a topic, marked at the beginning by a topic divider. Several topics are grouped into a lesson, each of which begins with a lesson topics screen. Organ 101 contains sixty-two lessons. Lessons are listed under a unit. The six Organ 101 units are General Concepts, Manual Technique, Pedal Technique, Registration, Hymn Playing, and Projects.
Navigating through Organ 101 is simple, as this example will demonstrate. Before coming to the computer, you decide to study Hymn Registration. Upon entering Organ 101 you choose the Hymn Playing unit from among the six Organ 101 units. You then choose the Hymn Registration lesson from among the five Hymn Playing lessons. When you enter the lesson topics screen, you study the lesson either one screen at a time front to back or by topic, as desired.
WHAT ARE THE UNITS AND LESSONS
IN ORGANTUTOR ORGAN 101?
Nature of Organ Tone
Listening Skills for Practice
Correct Position at the Organ
Independence–One Part in Each Hand
Redeemer of Israel–soprano & tenor
Blest Be the Tie–soprano & tenor
Independence–Two+ Parts in One Hand
Redistribution of the Inner Part
Efficiency of Various Fingering Techniques
Independence–Three Parts in Two Hands
Twenty demonstration lessons on various legato pedal techniques
Marking Challenging Pedal Parts
Introduction to the Organ Console
Organ Types and Components
Using Console Devices
Pitches of Organ Stops
Families of Organ Tone
Three Primary Types of Organ Registration
Solo and Accompaniment Regis.
Hymn Playing–Repeated Notes
Hymn Project 1: 3-Part Hymn With Easy Pedal
Hymn Projects 2 & 3: 3-Part Hymns
Left Hand and Pedal Studies
Hymn Project 4: 4-Part Hymn
HOW DO I WORK THROUGH THE LESSONS?
After you arrive at a Lesson Topics screen, you can study the entire lesson by clicking the right arrow button. If you would rather study a selected topic within the lesson, click the name of that topic on the Lesson Topics screen first. You will arrive at the topic divider screen for the topic you clicked. You may then proceed through the topic one screen at a time by clicking the right arrow button. Organ 101 lessons are of two main types: study lessons, which include drills and a test; and video demonstrations, which have no drills or test. You can work through both types of lessons either nearby or away from the organ console.
The best way to work through either type of lesson is to begin with the Lesson Topics screen and go through the entire lesson one screen at a time as described above, taking notes as needed. In study lessons you can try out many of the ideas as they are introduced if you are at an organ console. This is particularly useful in the registration lessons, where the musical examples can play through the computer speakers and you can imitate them at the organ itself.
HOW DO I WORK THROUGH A STUDY LESSON?
In study lessons, whenever a concept has been covered with a degree of completeness, the Drill button on that screen becomes active (is undimmed). Click the drill button and try to answer the question without using your notes. If your answer is incorrect, you are given a response, then you are taken back to the study screen. Read it again, then take the drill question until you answer it correctly. Drill questions are for your study only and are not scored.
By the end of the lesson you should be ready to take the lesson test. Click a Take the Test button and follow the instructions carefully. You may move about and adjust your choices within the test as you wish, but you should not leave the test once you go past the instruction screen into a test question until you have answered all the questions and received a score. Do not refer to your notes as you answer the questions. When you are ready, click the button at the end of the test for a score. This is the only opportunity for feedback, so take careful notes. At least write down the Reference that is given, which leads you back to the topic that you need to review. This feedback is lost when you leave the feedback screen by clicking the Back button. You must then take the test again if you want feedback.
Be sure to record your test scores manually if you wish to keep track.
HOW DO I WORK THROUGH A TECHNIQUE LESSON WITH ITS VIDEO DEMONSTRATIONS?
Technique lessons, with their video demonstrations, are especially effective when you can work through them at the organ console. You can then imitate each exercise as shown, following the video demonstrations and applying the tips given in the Workbook. It is especially valuable to check your technique against the video models after a period of practice. This is one of the most important advantages offered by OrganTutor, saving you time and money by learning techniques correctly the first time.
If your computer is not near an organ console, go through each video demonstration lesson carefully with the workbook. Use your mental practice skills as you try out the manual techniques on the tabletop, and the pedal techniques on the floor. Take notes directly on the page where the appropriate exercises are located, so that you will see them later as you practice at the organ.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
For your reference: the Music 115 students at BYU who come to the course with adequate piano skills spend a total of six hours per week for fifteen weeks to complete the course. This includes practice, class, and study time. They are required to complete all but the pedal technique lessons, which can be finished during the second semester.
When Organ 101 is used as a "course," it usually requires at least fifteen weeks with six hours or more per week of practice and study. Several factors could contribute to lengthening the period to six or twelve months, or even more:
Organ 101 can also be used simply as a reference tool, studying whenever and whatever is needed.
HOW DO I FIND AN ORGAN INSTRUCTOR?
See a list of organ instructors who are particularly interested in helping students who are using OrganTutor on an "as-needed" basis. If a teacher in your locality is not included on the list, contact the chapter of the American Guild of Organists that is nearest you and ask for a recommendation. If you are an organ instructor with a standard degree or certificate in organ and would like to be included on the list, click here.
DOES MY ORGAN INSTRUCTOR HAVE TO BE FAMILIAR WITH ORGANTUTOR?
No. However, the general approach used by your instructor should be consistent with that of OrganTutor, and he would be wise to know the lesson objectives. These "Questions Answered" pages would help an instructor to know the general approach. At very least, you should copy for your instructor the OrganTutor Organ 101 Units and Contents so that he can give you regular study assignments. He may also wish to browse through the OrganTutor Organ 101 Lesson Objectives and perhaps the Weekly Preparation Plan. These are all located elsewhere in the workbook and may be copied for your instructor (only) without violating copyright restrictions.
WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF ORGANTUTOR?
Organ 101 is comparable to a fifteen-week course in basic organ skills. In fact, it originated as a supplement to precisely such a course. The group organ program at Brigham Young University consists of two consecutive fifteen-week courses: Music 115, "Basic Organ Skills," and Music 116R, "Organ Techniques and Literature." Each section meets for two fifty-minute class periods weekly. Students work through most of the Organ 101 lessons during the first fifteen-week course. Students work through any remaining lessons (particularly pedal technique lessons) during the second course and study selected lessons for review.
The two courses take place in a lab equipped with twelve Rodgers church model organs. Before OrganTutor's implementation in the fall of 1996, the seven instructors spent much of their class time lecturing and demonstrating to students, and were unable to spend enough time listening to students individually and offering customized direction. Organ 101 shifts the responsibility of most of the lecture and demonstration to the computer and to the student during out-of-class study and practice time. This has more than doubled the amount of time available to instructors for individual student listening.
WHO IS THE AUTHOR?
Don Cook joined the organ faculty of Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1991. In that capacity he oversees an innovative group organ program, coordinates the organ area, and serves as university carillonneur. Each summer he directs the annual BYU Organ Workshop. He performs frequently as a Guest Organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
After earning Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ at BYU, he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the University of Kansas (KU). His principal organ teachers were J. J. Keeler at BYU and James Moeser at KU.
Before 1991 Dr. Cook had held full-time positions as associate organist and carillonneur at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and associate organist/choirmaster at First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas.
HOW DO I ORDER ORGANTUTOR 101?
Please see our ordering information page.
WHERE CAN I FIND OTHER INTERESTING LINKS RELATED TO ORGAN PLAYING?
Please see our organ links page.