Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘organ event’

“Going to” Europe for the First Time

I experienced Europe for the first time when I was a freshman in high school. I had just started organ lessons with Miss Pelton, the Professor of Organ at Kansas State University.   This feisty, barely 5’ tall, cheerful ball of energy was to become my mentor and inspiration.  And yes, it was she who “took” me to Europe for the first time.

Miss Pelton lived in what I determined was an English-style cottage.  It was a house  unique to others in this Midwest town and just walking up to her door, I was transported to another world – to Europe.

Opening the front door and entering her living room cum music studio continued the “other-worldly” experience.  This small low-ceilinged room was filled with musical instruments the ilk of which I had never seen:  an antique grand piano with intricately carved legs and music rack (not the gleaming black Steinway grands of my piano teacher);  a petite triangular-shaped instrument that I was learn was a harpsichord; and, wonder-of-wonders, row upon row of pipes — a pipe organ!  Seating was limited to instrument benches and a couple of weary brocade chairs.  A room unlike any I had ever seen.

Miss Pelton, besides being a fine organist and teacher, was also an avid traveler and photographer so the wall space of this music studio was adorned with her photographs of the great cathedrals and organs of the world; and book shelves, the floor, and small tables standing here and there were covered with fascinating books with titles like “The Bach Reader” and “The Harvard Dictionary of Music.”  A veritable art gallery, library, and instrument museum!

Miss Pelton’s home informed her teaching.  Her students couldn’t play the music of Bach without studying of photos of St. Thomas in Leipzig;  couldn’t play the music of Franck without hearing stories and perusing photos of the great organ of Ste.-Clothilde; couldn’t play the music of Reger without learning of the meeting of three great rivers and seeing photos of the confluence of those rivers below the cathedral in Pausau.   Miss Pelton not only  in instilled in me the love of organ music, but gave me a sense of discovery and adventure.

That first “trip to Europe” and nearly weekly “trips” around the world with Miss Pelton through her inspired, creative teaching continues to inform and instruct my playing and my life.  Thank you Miss Pelton.

 

JW Walker Continuo Organ – gift from Marion Pelton to Kansas State University

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

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

As A Musician, Do You Care About the Greater Good?

You care about the greater good. You make decisions that will benefit the entire organization.

As a musician, it is sometimes tempting to think first about ourselves, to look inward, and “hole-up” in our practice rooms, music studios, offices, or church sanctuaries.  After all, everything we do and everything we are about requires hours and hours and hours of planning, preparation, and practice before we ever have to or get to interact with another human being.  However, as musicians of integrity, we must have an awareness and a concern for the greater good for those groups of people and organizations with which we are associated.

Caring about the greater good of my hard-working and dedicated group of students means providing community building opportunities such as Play-Ins, recitals, and music-sharing days.

Caring about the greater good of my church’s congregation means working closely with the pastor to plan the music for worship; practicing and preparing the music I will play;  preparing the choir in the music they will sing to lead worship;  and eventually sharing the music that will enhance worshipDr. Jeannine Jordan, organist with David Jordan, media artist

Caring about the great good of my audiences means presenting concerts that will advance the value of music making in society.  It means not only being well prepared to play in an exciting and careful manner, but also being creative and original in my performance presentation.

Caring about the greater good of my musical colleagues means supporting the professionalism of my musical colleagues by listening first and then encouraging a thoughtful interchange of ideas to advance the music profession.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist

 

As a Musician Do You Find the “White” When Others See the “Gray”?

In their book The Integrity Advantage, Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford identify ten “integrity characteristics.” Let’s examine how these “integrity characteristics” can be integrated into the life of the whole musician—the musician with all the different parts working well and delivering the functions that they were designed to deliver to students, colleagues, and audiences. 

Let’s now examine one of these characteristics which involve making effective decisions.

You find the white (when others see gray). You don’t make difficult decisions alone. You receive counsel and take the long- term view.

Several years ago the church where I was teaching initiated a room use fee. This fee was going to greatly increase the expense to my organ studio. Instead of merely announcing to my students that a room rental fee would be added to the following semester’s lesson fees, I asked for counsel from my students and sought other alternatives.

We took the long-term view by carefully weighing the convenience of the present teaching space, the type of organ, and the ability to reserve the space not only for lessons but student concerts as well.

In the end, through the counsel of my students, I made the decision to remain at the same church and add a room use fee to the lesson amount. The students, because of their buy-in, understand the addition of the fee and are satisfied with the studio location. 

Musicians of integrity work together to create a better learning situation for the future.

Are You Playing More than the Spots?

In reality, organ scores look like a grouping of dots, lots of lines, some strategically placed squiggles, and a few words placed here and there.  When you think about it, isn’t it amazing what our brains tell our fingers and feet to do with all that black ink on a white page?

 

Organists are truly amazing creatures in that we can make sense of all those lines, dots, squiggles, and words and actually create ordered sound from them.  However,  to create music from that ordered sound we must go well beyond the dots, lines, squiggles and words.  We must look at other clues to help us complete the puzzle—to unleash your creativity—and to make music.  So what are those clues?

  • Is you piece based on a hymn?  If so, what is the text of the hymn?  Read the text carefully—yes, every verse.  How can the text “inform” your performance of the dots? 
  • What is the historical context of your piece?  How can this information  “inform” your performance of the dots?
  • Is your piece a transcription?  If so, what was the original instrumentation?  Should this information “inform” your performance of the dots?
  • What was the organ the composer might have played?  Should this information “inform” your 21st-century performance of the dots?
  • What is the form of the piece?  Theme and variation, through composed, fugue?  How does the from dictate how you play the dots?
  • What is your “picture” of the piece?  What do you hope your listeners will hear?

Make sure you always share more than the spots with your listeners.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organ instructor and concert organist

Christmas is Totally Awesome

The best part of being a December Musician is all about sharing the gift of music!

 Ideas from Retail:  Finally, don’t forget that Christmas is completely awesome and that at the end of the day you can enjoy it however you like. Don’t let your work follow you home and have a great festive period.

Musicians:  Finally, don’t forget that Christmas is completely awesome and that at the end of the day for a musician it is all about

   Presentation

The joy of presenting beautifully planned and prepared music for a concert or worship is incomparable and understood

only by those of us who are privileged to call ourselves

DECEMBER MUSICIANS.

Merry Christmas!

With joy,  Jeannine

Fill Your Musical Lives With Those Who Have Integrity

You hire integrity and you promote those who show an ability to be trusted.

Fill your musical lives with those colleagues and students who have integrity. Share ideas with them, learn from them, listen to them, interact with them, and encourage them to grow in their professional competencies.

Your musical colleagues and students are a wealth of information.  Encourage those in your musical circle to share their ideas for programs, church music, workshops, cohort building, and practice and performance tips.  Everyone has a different musical background and thus may have totally different insights than yours into a piece of music or a performance experience.

With an open and receptive mind, a teacher can always learn as much or more from her students than she shares.  I encourage/require my students to bring to each lesson at least three questions.  These questions range from “how do I pedal this phrase?” to “what is a gemshorn?” and always stimulate interesting discussion and a great learning opportunity for both student and teacher. T

Take time to listen to your colleagues.  Attend their concerts, workshops, and church services.  Every organist plays in a unique style and quite possibly you will hear music you want to add to your repertoire, a unique soundscape, or a different way to introduce the Doxology.

Build community activities such as recitals and play-in opportunities into your teaching studio.  Students learn so much from one another in a supportive and nurturing environment.

None of us ever gets enough praise and encouragement.  Make sure you give more than you receive in this area.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

 

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