Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘organ students’

How To Stay the Course

                                        ”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.

Talent will not;  nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not;  unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not;  the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

–Calvin Coolidge

How to Stay the Course to achieve your musical goals and dreams:

  • Renew your vision of what you are working to accomplish regularly.  My students are encouraged to set and put in writing a new goal for their organ study three times/year: at the beginning of our fall, winter/spring, and summer organ lesson sessions.
  • Do something every single day to move in the direction of your desired achievement or goal.  As an organist, practice of course is of utmost importance.  But, what about those days when one cannot get to an instrument?  Listen to recordings, read about composers, peruse new music, talk to colleagues.
  • If you find yourself drifting away from your course, analyze what is going on.  Maybe the goal is too unwieldy, maybe the goal is too easily achieved, maybe you need to tweak the direction of the goal.  Analyze and regroup, but don’t stop your forward momentum.
  • Involve a friend or network in helping you achieve your goals.  The students in my organ studio are a cohort of individuals who actively support each other through email communication and several group meetings a year to share performances and ideas.
  • When you fail – and we all do – place yourself gently back on the path.  Redefine your goal and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your teacher, your family, and supportive colleagues.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

 

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What’s In A Title?

A wealth of information about a piece of music can be gleaned from examining the title of the piece, such as:

  •         The form – Do you know the difference between a fugue and toccata?
  •         Whether the piece is hymn based – Have you read the text to Amazing Grace?
    Did you know that a word in capital letters indicates the name of the tune on which the piece is based?
  •           The mood – What moods do the words Fanfare or meditation evoke?
  •          Its use as service music – Can a piece titled Prelude be used in other parts of a worship service?
  •          The tempo – How fast is allegro?  How slow is lento?
  •          Registration suggestions – How do I create a tierce en taille registration?

Where can one find the answers to these questions?

I.  A Music Dictionary  

A music dictionary should be something you carry with you in your music bag and use at every practice session.  You will be amazed at how much you will learn by looking up one word at every practice session.

Google “music dictionary” online or visit any music store and you’ll find a music dictionary to purchase to fit your needs.

For all of you iPad type device users, the Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary is quite the resource.  It is found at http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

II.  A Hymnal

A hymnal should also be found in your music bag.  It is an invaulable resource for hymn texts and tunes.

A superb online resource for finding hymn texts and tunes is http://www.hymnary.org

III.  An Organ Registration Resource

Google search on the web still amazes me!  Want to know about tierce en taille?  Google the term and you’ll find videos, definitions, and resources galore.

Also check out http://www.organstops.org to learn more about the Tierce or Trompette stop.

For a resource book to carry with you or at least have handy in the organ bench, look for the Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops by Stevens Irwin.

It is amazing how much information the
title of a piece imparts to the curious student of the organ.
So, don’t foget to start

“at the top”

to become a creative and informed performer. 

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, instructor and concert organist

The WOW Performance

Several times a year a copy of The Young Organist E-Newsletter appears in my Inbox.  This publication compiled and edited by Godelieve Ghavalas  for the Organ Music Society of Sydney explores various topics relevant to the young organist.  To date, I have found the lively discourse of ideas apropos not only to youth but to organists of any age.

The focus of Ms. Godelieve’s newsletter last month was programming.  Various concert organists, church musicians, and concert goers weighed in on the subject of creating a program that is interesting for an audience.  The various writers commented sharing ideas that included:

  •  the music that should be part of a successful program
  • whether there should be written or verbal program notes
  • the pros and cons of using live camera feed projection to make the organist visible to the audience
  •  reasons for including other instrumentalists or singers and in general
  • shared a wealth of information.

However, a one sentence comment by a teenage organ student put a point on the discussion.  His comment:  “It doesn’t matter what the piece of music is, which organ it is or what the program is, other instruments included or not, the piece of music must have that “WOW” factor and the player must be aware of this and know how to share it with the audience.”

Let’s all take this young organist’s advice and look for and not miss sharing the “WOW” factor with our audiences, our church congregations, our students, and ourselves. What a great project!

To read my interview with Ms. Ghavalas published in Pro-Motion Music’s E-Newsletter, click here. 

March — Sort of Like a Wednesday

The month of March, in the scheme of things as a  music student–or music teacher— is sort of like a Wednesday, isn’t it?  Sort of like a “hump month”.

The urban definition of the “hump day” or Wednesday, the middle of the week, implies that you have to get “over the hump” before you can anticipate the weekend. March marks the halfway point (the middle) of my Winter/Spring lesson schedule.

With the March lessons I encourage my students to move  up and over “the hump”.  The really hard work of setting goals, and in some cases facing disappointment, and starting the work to achieve those goals was done in January and February.  In March we will start to hone those new skills and start enjoying that repertoire! By April we will be on the downward slope to achieving the goals you set in early January for this series of lessons.  It is an exciting month!

Some of the goals set by my students this semester include:

  • preparing and presenting an entire recital
  • working through technique exercises, repertoire, and online speedback tests in the BYU Organ Course
  • planning and preparing music to enhance worship services for Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, and Easter
  • improving hymn playing skills
  • learning the features and sounds of a new organ
  • preparing repertoire for the Spring Recital on
    May 19
  • making every day a joyous practice day — a day of meeting challenges and making discoveries

Onward and forward through “hump month”!

Jeannine Jordan, organ coach and concert organist

Act Like You Are Being Watched!

You act like you’re being watched. You make sure your integrity is passed along to future generations through your example.

As musicians we are always being watched or listened to in one way or another. Barbara Killinger in her book, Integrity, presents advice for musicians quoting a song by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine from their insightful musical, Into the Woods:

“Careful of the things you say,
Children (students, congregations, audiences, colleagues) will listen.

Careful of the things you do,
Children (students, congregations, audiences, colleagues) will see
And learn.

Children (students, congregations, choirs, audiences, colleagues) will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful before you say,
‘Listen to me.’
Children (students, congregations, audiences, colleagues) will listen.”

Dr. Jeannine Jordan,  teacher, church musician, and concert organist

Creating a Culture of Trust

In the book, The Integrity Advantage, Gostick and Telford identify ten integrity characteristics 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.  One integrity characteristic a teacher should develop in a studio is …

To create a culture of trust. You develop a work environment that will not test the personal integrity of your students or your colleagues.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan's organ students

I am privileged to have a studio of nearly twenty adult organ students with whom I share a culture of trust. Some of my students have played for churches for years and are studying to enhance their service playing skills while others are pursuing playing the organ as a new avocation.

Together we have created a wonderfully trusting and supportive community where ideas and performances are shared freely and easily.

Student recitals, play-ins, organ crawls, theory lessons, and group lessons are events which enhance the shared culture of trust.  Students become colleagues in pursuit of realizing their goals of becoming better organists.  Working together, sharing ideas and music, creates an environment of trust does not test the personal integrity of any student.

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

 

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