The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Category Organ playing

Pedals, pedals, pedals – resources for organists

If your New Year’s resolutions included improving your pedal technique, here’s a summary of the assorted pedal resources I’ve marshalled over the last couple of years.   Some pedal etudes To start with, here’s something to make the process a little more interesting.  Composer Paul F Page recently contacted me to tell me about the organ music available to download from his website, which includes some Pedal Etudes for organ. 

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Handy excuses for organists

  We all have those days when our performance wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, so here’s a convenient list of suitable organist excuses. Personally I would go for blinding them with science every time – our instrument is such a gift for this: some earnest exposition around pistons, couplers, diapasons and swell boxes, and only a fellow-organist would know you’re bluffing.     You might also

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Organ rocks – 5 fantastic reasons to play the organ – from Sinfini Music

A big thank you to Christina Kenny for her recent post on the eclectic classical music site SINFINI MUSIC.   She lists 5 reasons why playing the organ in 2015 is possibly the coolest thing you can do, with some great quotes and comments from Stephen Farr and James McVinnie, and plenty of video clips of our instrument in all its guises.   In fact, if you wanted to show a

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The 5 best things my organ teachers told me last year

All blogs succumb to the five best, ten worst, etc format sooner or later, and THE LADY ORGANIST has decided to be no exception.  So here’s my contribution to New Year 2015 – the five best things I learned from my teachers in 2014. Gerdi Troskie suggested I work through A Guide to Duo and Trio Playing by Jacques van Oortmerssen (one of her teachers, by the way).  These little

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Congratulations to Anne Marsden Thomas, MBE

Anne Marsden Thomas has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.  For services to organ music hooray. Congratulations Anne. Here’s an earlier interview she did for this blog, on the run up to an RCO Academy Summer Course.   Five questions for…Anne Marsden Thomas

The Lady Organist in Winter – Stable Girl Style

Stable Girls are expected to turn out morning and evening, in all weathers, to perform repetitive tasks for dismal amounts of money – sounds familiar? This winter I’ve discovered a whole untapped aspect of my wardrobe, perfect for winter organ playing – my horse-riding gear. I’m not talking boots, bits and bridles here*  but the sort of clothing that riders throw on every morning before they stump down to the

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Organ lessons over the internet – yes it works

Organ lessons can sometimes be like doctor’s appointments – you have your allotted time, and leave with half a dozen questions still hanging in your head.  When Neil Cockburn, Head of Organ Studies at Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary, Canada, offered an experiment with distance learning to students at the RCO Summer Course in August, I thought it was fun in principle, and wanted to try it.  What I

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Create an organist (or just have a good day out) – The Great North Organ Day

Do you know anyone – of any age – who you think might secretly hanker after playing the pipe organ?   Who lives in the north of England?  The Great North Organ Day hits Newcastle on Saturday 17th May.   Based around Newcastle’s two Cathedrals of St Mary and St Nicholas, it has something for everyone – recitals, masterclasses, hands-on tuition, advice on pipe and digital organs, and a pianist conversion workshop

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RCO Easter Course 2014 – a lesson with Margaret Phillips

Slightly daunting to have a lesson on Bach with Margaret Phillips after her exemplary Bach recital the night before – and on the same organ too. But she was generous in sharing the registrations she used, and many other small elements that go to make up her outstanding performances. Great to Pedal is an English invention, she admonished one of us – this organ is perfectly balanced throughout and doesn’t

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Five Questions for…..James Parsons

James Parsons is teaching us in Oxford this week, and even persuaded us today that transposition and harmonisation at sight were great fun – well almost.   He’s an enormously busy recitalist and teacher – organ tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the RCO Academy Organ School, and Head of Student Development for the Royal College of Organists.  As soon as our course is over he’s running Set Your Sights! –

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More pedals-only repertoire

Pedal duets, music for pedals and percussion, insanely difficult variations and assorted pedal workouts – I’ve just published a follow-up to my popular first page of pedals-only repertoire. You can find it here.        

Five questions for…Henry Fairs

Henry Fairs is Head of Organ Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire and Organist to the University of Birmingham, UK, and his musical career began as a chorister at Leominster Priory.  After graduating he studied in France and Germany, and was a prize-winner in a number of organ competitions including First Prize in the Odense International Organ Competition in Denmark.  Now he is an immensely busy concert organist, when not teaching.  This

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Five questions for…Anne Marsden Thomas

Anne Marsden Thomas is the Head of the RCO Academy Organ School, co-ordinating the activities of a team of teachers and the studies of around 300 organ students.   In 1990 she was responsible for the National Learn the Organ Year, which attracted over 2,000 applicants – a huge number of organists looking for good teaching.  Anne established the St Giles International Organ School, based at St Giles Cripplegate Church in

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Five questions for…Neil Cockburn

Neil Cockburn is Head of Organ Studies at Mount Royal University Conservatory, Artistic Director of the Calgary Organ Festival, and Director of MRU Conservatory’s Purcell Ensemble. He is also the continuo-player and organist for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. I’m looking forward to meeting him this summer when he is one of our tutors on the RCO Summer Course in London – when I will have to ask him how to

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