Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘teaching’

Hymn-based organ repertoire

Excerpted from the Jordan Organ Studio October 2018 Newsletter.

Most all of us are currently playing some sort of hymn-based repertoire either for use in a church service, for the upcoming recital, or simply for pleasure.

Question: Do you know when the hymntune your piece is based on was originally composed? Do you know the text of the hymn? Have you discovered something interesting about the composer of your piece? Hmmm…a little research makes music come alive. I simply love learning something new about repertoire — and each of you certainly helps me do that on a weekly basis!

My new lesson week began yesterday afternoon with three inspirational lessons following our worship service. All three were filled with hymn based repertoire. My eight-year-old’s lesson (following a service where she played three hymn variations for the prelude) included new hymn based repertoire in addition to her favorite trumpet tunes; my newest student – a talented 13-year-old with the goal to become a church organist, added two more hymns to her “completed hymn list” and prepared a Bach Prelude for an upcoming church service; and Walter and I played hymns from the 1920 Protestant Episcopal hymnal and Bach’s Orgelbuchlein for two lovely hours. Just like the lessons earlier in the week, hymnody played a huge role in each of their lessons.

I simply love the fact that in any given week, with you my wonderful students, I have the opportunity to explore hymns from a myriad of denominations, to learn new hymns (I think Walter got the award for adding the most hymns to my hymn knowledge base this week — who knew the Episcopalians of 1920 had so many different hymns), to see favorite tunes with different texts, to hear creative settings of these amazing pieces, and to simply hear some of my favorite pieces of music.

It’s a really great life being your teacher! I am so blessed!

Interested in organ lessons for yourself, your child, or your grandchild?  Dr. Jeannine Jordan loves to teach and has studios in Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove, Oregon.  You may reach her at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.  Fulfill a dream…start organ lessons today.

The Tie That Binds

Question: What is the tie that binds all of us (the cohort of the Jordan Organ Studio) together?

Answer: As I do weekly, Friday morning I was reviewing my notes and thoughts from the lessons I had taught in the past week, when it occurred to me that most all of the lessons have a common thread running through them. That thread is hymnody.

Some of us, by the nature of our church positions, practice and work on hymns to be sung weekly by our congregations. Those Sundays just keep coming around with hymns galore! For all of us who are church musicians, hymns are and should be a part of every practice session and lesson. We need to remember that the hymns are THE MOST IMPORTANT pieces of music we will play for our congregations!

Question: How is your hymn playing? Does your congregation sing well? Are you an excellent leader? Is your playing precise and of good tempo? Are you creative with your introductions? Do you use alternative harmonizations to suit the text or ethnicity of the hymntune? Hmmm….so many questions to ponder.

Interested in organ lessons for yourself, your child, or your grandchild?  Dr. Jeannine Jordan loves to teach and has studios in Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove, Oregon.  You may reach her at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.  Fulfill a dream…start organ lessons today.

What does the path to organ lessons look like?

Question asked by a precocious six-year-old of her mother: “What does the path to organ lessons look like?”
Answer: “Let’s ask Jeannine and find out.”

The rest is history as they say.  That six-year-old is now eight going on nine and is becoming an organist.  She has been my student for the past two years and is developing her skills as an organist through practice and by watching and listening.  This little girl quickly became interested in not only playing the organ but assisting me in worship.  In fact, the first service where she robed and assumed the Assistant to the Organist role was the Easter Vigil service of 2017.  Now that, folks, is not only a complicated and busy service for an organist but is also rather long.  It could have been daunting, but it was a great experience for both of us.

She has continued to assist me and has also started playing in the service as well.  And what a joy it is!  As the months progress, you’ll continue to hear her music as part of the prelude, communion music, or as the postlude.

A second child of 13-years of age told her mother it was a shame that their church had gotten rid of their organ.  She asked her mother if she could learn to play the organ, so their church could once again sing the great hymns with the organ.  That child has also become one of my students.  She lives across the backfield from our church so is part of our church neighborhood.  Thanks to the generosity of our church, St. Bede of Forest Grove, Oregon, she is able to practice at our church while she works to become an organist for her church, the Romanian Baptist Church of Beaverton, Oregon.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to meet this teenager and other members of her family as she will be a second Assistant to the Organist.  She will assist for the first time on October 14th and play the postlude that Sunday as well.

How exciting it is to help a child realize a dream.  How exciting it is to not only have the opportunity to enrich my life by teaching these extremely talented girls, but also to have the opportunity to mentor new organists for our church from within our community and neighborhood.


Interested in organ lessons for yourself, your child, or your grandchild?  Dr. Jeannine Jordan loves to teach and has studios in Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove, Oregon.  You may reach her at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.  Fulfill a dream…start organ lessons today.

Ray Cornils, Educator

Jeannine: With such an intense church and Kotschmar schedule, it is amazing that you had time for additional activities. However, the work you have done in education is incredibly creative and truly astounding. Would you kindly describe some of your work with young people and how each of us might take steps to provide such opportunities to further and promote the organ in our own communities?

Mr. Cornils: In the late 1990’s the FOKO board noted the aging of our audiences. After much discussion, we developed an educational outreach program targeted at working with students at various local schools. Using the AGO Pipeworks curriculum, developed by the Seattle Chapter of the AGO, we worked with local teachers and school administration to align a curriculum with the Maine State Learning Standards, using the organ and its music as the launchpad for exploration of various subjects.

David Wallace, a local organ builder and curator of the Kotzschmar, designed and built a small, 5-rank pipe organ that can be moved into the classroom. It has both an electric blower and a hand pump. Using plexiglass panels, key and stop actions are easily visible. With the guidance of then FOKO Executive Director Kathleen Grammer and under the excellent leadership and highly experienced Chair of the Education Committee, Dr. Elsa Geskus, FOKO offers education curricula based on how a pipe organ works, the music, life and times of J. S. Bach; the music, life and times of Olivier Messiaen; and a wave-form energy unit for science classes. We called this program Kotzschmar 4 Kids.

In addition to in-classroom experiences, we would take classes of students to a local church organ for a concert, which was designed to illustrate and reinforce the learning concepts presented in the classroom. At the end of the school year, the classes would then come to Merrill Auditorium to hear and explore the Kotzschmar Organ in a program called Meet the King of Instruments.

We also developed a one-day festival of integrative arts and scienceKotzsch-O-Rama, an all-day immersion in the music of Bach or Messiaen through various stations of activities in art, creative writing, movement, science, and creations in various media to the music of one of these composers.

Our goal is to give every child an understanding of and appreciation for the pipe organ, especially the Kotzschmar Organ, through an integrated educational exploration in the areas of math, science, music, social studies and history, as well as to experience a live performance specifically geared to their age level at Merrill Auditorium.

In addition to my educational pursuits with FOKO for about 10 years, I taught as part of the faculty of the Young Organist’s Collaborative (YOC), based in Portsmouth, NH. This organization has given scholarships to about 1-=16 high school organists per year for study with a YOC faculty member. They also participate in a group masterclass each year and perform in a year end recital. There is a wealth of wonderfully talented young musicians who are now playing the organ because of this program. Many have gone on to major in organ in college and are in successful careers as organists.

Excerpted from the September 2018 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter.  Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist and her husband, David Jordan, media artist are the creators and performers of From Sea to Shining Sea, Bach and Sons, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — audience-engaging organ and multimedia concert experiences.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: