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.

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