Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘promotion music’

Have You Found Something Amazing Today?

“If you haven’t found something amazing in music you experience during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

How did you play the piece for the hundredth time and still feel amazed by its power?    For me, that piece is Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue in E-flat Major (The St. Anne).  I am and always will be in awe of this profound and amazing music expressing so completely the mysterious and awesome power of the Holy Trinity.


The implication here is that we must pay attention to the everything in each piece of music being practiced, performed, listened to, or taught.  We must actively engage in the work of making music as a participant, not as a spectator. We must bring all our senses into play in each encounter and every circumstance.

Jeannine Jordan, 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

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.

Preparing for the Future as Church Organists

It was my privilege to serve as the organ clinician at a recent Church Music Institute workshop in Portland, Oregon for church musicians and clergy.  We had the opportunity to share ideas with colleagues, celebrate worship together and revel in a day of joyous music making and music sharing.  It was a day for church leaders to be mindful of the past, to strengthen our commitment to the present, and to prepare for the future.

What does it mean for a church organist to prepare for the future?  A thought-provoking question for all organists involved in church music to be sure.  Will the future of church music leadership look like it does today?  Will my church remain the same?  What about the new hymnals being compiled?   Will I be asked to play music of a different style than I now play?  Will the congregation continue to enjoy the traditional hymns of the church or will they prefer something more contemporary?  Will the organ continue to be an important instrument in our worship?

There are more questions than answers to be sure, but communication I believe is the key for preparing for the future as church musicians.  Communication not only with the members and staff of your current church, but communication with other organists and church leaders from around the area.  Sharing ideas with colleagues in a positive enriching way at workshops such as the CMI conference in Portland prepares one for the future.  Reading, listening, and studying to enrich your skills and enhance your knowledge not only of today’s worship styles but past worship trends also point the way to the future.

Look to the future as an exciting adventure instead of a daunting task–one to be anticipated by every church organist.

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