The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Every home should have one

I have too many keyboard instruments in my home already, so naturally, last year I acquired another one.  The pecuniary outcome of quite a few months’ overtime at the day job* was handed over to David Mason of Viscount Organs, and in return, a 2-manual, 31-stop, 30-note radiating concave pedalboard practice organ arrived at my London terraced home a few weeks later.  And I can’t remember feeling so chuffed since the day I bought my first car with my own money, after years of making do with Dad’s cast-offs.  

The instrument isn’t one of Viscount’s largest, by any means, but my house isn’t that large either, and finding space for it was not without sacrifice.  A dining table and chairs were evicted from the front bay window to make room for it.  Duncan is now slightly disgruntled, on his visits, at having to eat supper off a small coffee table, sitting on a piano stool: but he has to suffer for my art.   And anyway, with The Beast (D’s nickname for the instrument, not mine) filling the window, you no longer have the view of the dustbins.

Playing Bach with bare feet in your dressing gown, in a warm room, a cup of coffee to hand, is a simple pleasure, but one all organists will understand, most of whom have spent years struggling against the forces of darkness to maintain a regular church practice slot.  Frequently made miserable by church heating (lack of), church lighting (lack of), the wretched car, and the British weather, the final straw is arriving at the practice church to be met with “Oh, but I thought you KNEW the school orchestra was going to rehearse here this afternoon! Can you come back tomorrow?” 

No more of that.  Now, quite apart from the dizzy hedonism of it all, I am getting A LOT more done.  If the ‘competence is 10,000 hours of practice’ theory holds true, then I’m beetling towards competence at a steady clip.

An essential civility towards both neighbours and guests is playing with headphones on, rather than filling the street with hours of merry hymnody.  So D can sit and peacefully read the Times to the accompaniment of a slight clacking from the other end of the room – which is me, in headphones, lost in Nun Danket on full organ.

No problems with a narrow hallway. He’s done it before.


*I develop online courses for KLC School of Design.  This subsidises the real job of being an organist.

Viscount Organs are based in Oxfordshire, England.  Contact David Mason: 01869 247 333

David gives a behind the scenes account of projects, travels, recording sessions, as well as help with choosing a practice organ in the Viscount blog, and runs an entertaining Facebook page.

If like me you are an enthusiastic Twitterer, you can find them @ViscountOrgans

And if you buy a Viscount organ, you get free membership of the Royal College of Organists for a year, thrown in.


5 Comments on
“Every home should have one”
  • I have a ‘pre-owned’ Johannus Opus 5 in our very small 2 bed modern terraced home but it has transformed my playing opportunities. I’m 68 and no longer have a car. I starting learning 5 years ago and, having passed Grades 2 and 3 organ also 5 Theory (each with Distinction, not that I’m boasting if course). My parish church lets me play for the Wed service and as this is something I’ve wanted to do since a child it’s really us amazing! Working on Grade 5 now – little chance of 10, 000 hours I think!

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