Could your pedal skills use improvement?The Organist’s Manual by Roger E. Davis has excellent pedal exercises.
Do you need improve your understanding of the way the organ works? Bring the organ manual to your lesson and ask questions.
Could you enhance your organ registration knowledge and creativity? The Organist’s Manual by Roger E. Davis is an excellent resource as is the organ manual. Then listen and try new sounds! Add at least one organ registration question to your list of lesson questions!
Check our pew racks and you’ll find not only a Bible and a Book of Common Prayer but another blue-covered book, The
Hymnal 1982. It is one amazing and important book. Our hymnal draws all of us, all
Episcopalians, together musically in the same way that the Book of Common Prayer draws us together in prayer and liturgy.
Hymns are powerful expressions of our faith, powerful
reminders that our Lord is with us in struggle and sorrow, powerful exaltations
of joy, powerful and loving reminders of God’s grace. Singing our praise through hymns is another
form of communing with Christ and each other.
I had many plans for this newsletter article this month, but
because of visits from my family, work, practice, and most recently, the death
of a dear friend, I put off writing the article until the day after our editor
wanted it. Well, now I know why. It is so I can share a story with you about
the power of hymns – the power of a hymn we sang several weeks ago, “The Lord My
God My Shepherd Is.”
Two weeks ago, I learned one of my students (and a very dear
friend) was diagnosed with colon cancer, a mass on the liver, and pulmonary
embolisms. A shock but I was sure with
prayer and the miracles of medicine this wonderfully caring, generous, woman of
God would go through and survive treatment for all the above and life would go
on. I was wrong. She declined dramatically and quickly.
One week ago, I was teaching Paul, one of my many incredible
organ students – a 54-year-old man who is a savant in some very particular ways,
and also has cerebral palsy. His lessons
have been such an amazing journey for me.
He grew up in the Lutheran church the son of a pastor. He has heard hymns all his life and amazingly
can play by-ear, even with his physical limitations, almost any hymn his sister,
Ruth and I can name or hum. Not only
does he know the tunes, but he knows how many verses each has. Woe is me when I choose a Lutheran hymn that
happens to have 11 verses as he will play every verse for me as he is singing
that text in his mind. His lessons are
often jaw-dropping for me. And…if I give
him a word, like “shepherd,” he will create a medley of hymns that contain the
word “shepherd” in some verse or other of the hymn. Truly it is astounding seeing/hearing this
man/ child share God’s glory through hymns.
And, so back to the story.
A week ago, I knew their friend and fellow-student, Karen who attends
and plays the organ at Paul and Ruth’s church, was in the hospital and
struggling mightily after colon surgery.
So, I decided to record Paul playing “The Lord is My Shepherd” and send
it to Karen. The response from Karen’s
daughter who shared this recording with her Mom, was that Karen was at peace
and smiled throughout the recording.
Today I sent word of Karen’s death to my student group. Several expressed their sadness at losing a
friend and colleague but the following response from Ruth, my student Paul’s
sister, truly shows the power and glory of the many hymns, but in particular
#663 from our amazing blue book, The
“I am so grateful for you and your
moment of genius last week during Paul’s lesson. Recording him playing The Lord is My Shepherd was clearly a God-inspired moment. I know that song brought joy and comfort to
Karen and her family. It has brought
comfort to me at hearing this news. It
amazes me how you and Paul were used in this special way. I am grateful.”
And this is the power of the great hymns of our faith. __________________________________
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist, has a large organ studio with students of all ages and skill levels. She is also the Minister of Music and Organist at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon. She and her husband, David Jordan, media artist of Pro-Motion Music , are the creators and presenters of the dramatic story-driven organ and multimedia concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea,Bach and Sons, and Around the World in 80 Minutes. Subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter for more intriguing and engaging articles – click here #DrJeannineJordan #OrganAndMultimediaConcert
Excerpted from Wynton’s 12 Ways to Practice, from Music to Schoolwork
Think for yourself: Your success or failure at anything ultimately depends on your ability to solve problems, so donʼt become a robot. Thinking for yourself helps develop your powers of judgment. Sometimes you may judge wrong and pay the price; but when you judge right you reap the rewards.
Be optimistic: How you feel about the world expresses who you are. When you are optimistic, things are either wonderful or becoming wonderful. Optimism helps you get over your mistakes and go on to do better. It also gives you endurance because having a positive attitude makes you feel that something great is always about to happen.
”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.”
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.