Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘organ and media events’

A Legacy Is Not Hard To Create

Legacy  by David Jordan

The developments during the past two months have surely set in motion reflective thoughts in all of us. With the passing of John Scott and Sir David Willcocks, we are prompted to think about legacy. These two human beings left a wonderful legacy of encouragement, honesty and focus of effort, and, of course, magnificent results. They are and will be missed.  Hopefully their legacy will encourage us to assimilate their approaches to life and music to help build our own meaningful legacies.

For our purposes, we will use the definition of legacy as “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”  Legacies are, more or less, what we remember about a person.

A legacy is not hard to create. The truth is, whatever we do, we leave a legacy. Short lived, long lived, world changing or not, positive or negative we leave a legacy.

As musicians we are blessed with many great legacies that influence us today.

—–

David Jordan, media specialist and Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist are the creators and performers of the audience-engaging organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

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Death of a Church Musician…Birth of the Creative Leader

Excerpted from an article by David Jordan published in the January 2015 Pro-Motion Music Newsletter.

Let’s face it, for years we have kind of had our way in how we created “church music.” Now, looking in our rear view mirror, we see that many of the tried and true ways of that past are not working as well. Hmm… The choir is disappearing, many of the new hymns are singable, but just not very musical. And a lot of people don’t seem too bothered by it. Hmm…

Does this forebode an era where people are no longer interested in church music? “Heavens” no! In fact, their interest may still be quite strong. But everything around us seems to be changing. Well, Dave, what are we supposed to do, learn how to use “Rock” to get people interested?

First of all let’s calm down and use the term MIP.

MIPs are the new VIPs of church music.

MIP stands for Musically Interested Person. Not necessarily trained, not necessarily someone who has been involved for 30 years, but some who might have some experience, and really does like “church music.”

MIPs really do want to help, really do like music, and want to worship God and help other people do the same. These are people who are willing to follow someone who has some expertise, of course, but more importantly who cares about each one of the MIPs. They need to feel welcomed – not like they are auditioning for American Idol.

How do you lead people interested in music into the future together? How do you lead them into thinking about doing things differently? How do you make it

easy for them to participate and become part of the music community in your church? You’re still the leader, that hasn’t changed, but maybe there are some things that could make your leadership easier and more effective.

We still want to maintain

  • Excellent, beautifully performed music that helps draw people closer to God
  • A place for more people to sing, play, or just support what you do
  • A community that builds each other and the church.

What if in choosing music for worship, you chose music your choir could do beautifully and elegantly rather than difficult “standards” that aren’t done well, and well, “don’t sound so great.”

What if we redefined a few things and realized that Musically Interested People:

· Really do want to participate but not painfully so

· Really do want to help but not as an avocation

· Really do want to do well, but not take the joy out of music

What if instead of a 3 hour evening rehearsal which most people don’t have the time or interest to do, the choir rehearses/really focuses on Sunday morning for an hour to prepare an anthem and lead the service really well?  Most MIPs will really appreciate this rehearsal plan and be willing to attend (instead of having to make another excuse about missing Thursday night rehearsal).  What if we got to the point that this was our new reality and we could lead and build from there?

Let’s look for ideas that could help all of us build a community of VIP MIPs into a vital part of the church and music program. A fellowship, if you will, of like-minded intentional Musically Interested People who want to serve in some way, and not only feel good about it but have a pride in the fact that they did something really well? Are you excited? I know I am just thinking about it.

David Jordan, media specialist and his wife, concert organist Dr. Jeannine Jordan are the creators and performers of two multi-media organ concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

What Are The Three Elements Of A Successful Performance?

Dame Gillian Weir, Britain’s foremost concert organist, writes:

“A really successful performance occurs when three elements come
together as one:

the music (the composition on the paper), the player, and the audience.

The instrument is the vehicle for this, but not the end in itself;

the music is the message and the organ, however wonderful, is the medium. 

A great performance should be like an equilateral triangle with all these three parts being equal.

When this happens, it is like opening a window to the beyond

and we all can catch a brief glimpse of our creator. 

These are the most memorable concerts.”  

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

It’s Tough, But Musicians Need To Keep On Keeping On

You keep on keeping on. You have ethical consistency and predictability.

The anecdote, “The Gifted Musician” from Hidalgo’s writing, encourages us to consistently and predictably practice not only our instrument but also integrity in our musical life:

“Most people only enjoy listening to music, but some people also enjoy creating music. Some musicians are good, some are better and then there are those who are exceptionally good—considered to have the “gift” of music. But even they have to practice.

I attended a concert recently where a fan of the featured musician walked up to his favorite performer and said: “You’re an outstanding musician!” The artist replied saying: “Thank you, I appreciate you saying so. I practice everyday.”

Just as we as musicians must practice every day to maintain a high level of artistic talent, so too must we practice implementing integrity every day in our musical lives. 

We must keep on keeping on with what we know has integrity as performing, teaching, and church organists.

Being Honest But Modest–Trait of a Musician With Integrity

You’re honest but modest. You let your actions speak louder than words.

I frequently talk about and write about the two “P” words—Practice and Performance. However, it is important that I do more than talk and write about this subject; I also practice, create and perform new programs hoping that my example will encourage my students to work toward their practice and performance goals.

Creating programs takes sometimes months of research. Programs with a theme are always audience pleasers.  Discovering that theme can take many twists and turns:  an article read, a new piece performed, a thought from a student, an idea found while walking the beach or walking through an art gallery all can lead to that “new” program.  Sometimes the “discovery” phase can take weeks or even months.  Once the theme is solidified though, the creation of the program can begin.

For a program such as my organ and media event, Bach and Sons, the idea came from a series of solo organ concerts I presented at the Abbey Bach Festival where I played on one night the secular organ music of Johann Sebastian, Carl Phillip Emmanuel, and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and on the second night the sacred organ music of those composers.  These programs planted the seed for Bach and Sons.

Eighteen months later, after extensive research, practice, and preparation and with the help of an eight member focus group the concert was premiered in Anchorage, Alaska to an enthusiastic audience.  Since then it has enjoyed many performances.

My students are well aware that I not only talk the talk about practice and performance, but spend hours a day in practice for those many performances throughout the year as a concert organist.

I hear that Johann Sebastian is off to Lubeck

(Barbara Katherina, second cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach and elder sister of Maria Barbara, Bach’s future wife recounts Bach’s trip to Lubeck)

Marienkirche in Lubeck, Germany

My dear sister, Maria Barbara, have you heard the news?  Our JS has just gotten permission to go to Lubeck to hear the celebrated organist, Dietrich Buxtehude at St. Mary’s.   He has been talking about this trip for so long and now the city council has given him four weeks right during Advent to go to Lubeck.  Of course, he has asked our cousin, Johann Ernst to substitute for him here at the Neukirche, so the music there will go on as usual.  JS tells me he is going to walk the 200 miles to hear the great Buxtehude and his Advent Abendmusik concerts.

Finally, just when I had nearly given up hope and had started thinking the rumor was true that Johann was going to marry Herr Buxtehude’s old daughter, Anna Margareta, so he could get the organist position at Lubeck, he has returned.  Did you realize he had been gone sixteen long weeks from his position at the Neukirche?  Let me tell you, the authorities knew just how long Johann Sebastian had been gone and they are mad.  They have argued and argued with JS but he is not apologizing for his behavior and the length of his absence.  And really why should he, our cousin Johann Ernst filled in quite nicely at the Neukirche while he was gone.

(The story above is one of a dozen vignettes from the multi-media and organ program, Bach and Sons, presented by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.)

The Use of 21st Century Technology in Student Organ Recitals

This spring, instead of the usual student recital with each student playing their favorite repertoire for friends and family, we planned a Jordan Organ Studio Music Sharing Afternoon with the addition of 21st century technology. So how did we incorporate this technology in our musical afternoon?

1. By using a MIDI sound module. Students incorporated MIDI sounds in their organ registration, posing new sound possibilities     for well-known organ repertoire and presenting contemporary repertoire in a 21st century sound dimension.

2. By using a MIDI sequencer. One student presented a sequencing demonstration using Walther’s setting of “Wachet Auf” as a model for innovative practice techniques. Another student who knew she could not attend the recital, recorded her piece and through the use of the sequencer it was played for the audience with all registration changes and expressive nuances.

4. By using a computer, wireless web access, a projector, and a screen. We discovered music websites and had real time instruction on how to navigate these sites. Several students brought laptop computers to follow the presentation and bookmark sites on their personal computers.

5. By using a digital recorder. Each student’s performance was recorded then downloaded to the that student’s personal web page complete with program notes on our Pro-Motion Music website. The student can then listen to their work and/or share the link with family and friends.

Our day of exploring 21st century technology in the organ world ended with an “old-fashioned” sheet music exchange and time to share ideas while enjoying good food and camaraderie.

Jeannine Jordan, organ instructor and concert organist

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