January 13, 2005
NEW YORK CITY—The American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) are pleased to announce that joint certification by the two organizations is now available at the Colleague level, beginning with the January 2005 examination date. This is the second level of dual certification offered by the AGO and NPM, the first being dual recognition of the Service Playing Certificate.
The AGO Colleague exam will be offered on January 21 and June 1, 2005. The two-part exam focuses on a prescribed list of performance repertoire and demonstration of keyboard skills including sight-reading, harmony, transposition, and improvisation. A detailed list of examination requirements is available online at www.agohq.org/education. Please call 212-870-2311 ext. 4303 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
In addition to the AGO’s Colleague requirements, dual certification candidates will complete a written test on church music and liturgy, which will be administered on February 19 and June 22, 2005. This examination will require candidates to demonstrate an understanding of the liturgical rites and seasons and the role of music in the celebration of the liturgy. This test will be prepared, administered, and graded by NPM. For further information about this component of the certification, please call 240-247-3000 or visit the NPM Web site at www.npm.org.
The AGO PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM dates from 1896, when the Guild received its charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York to administer a comprehensive series of examinations for professional certification. The following certificates are offered under the auspices of the AGO Committee on Professional Certification: Service Playing Certificate (SPC), Colleague (CAGO), Choir Master (ChM), Associateship (AAGO), and Fellowship (FAGO). While the lower-level Guild examinations test competence in a number of skills that an organist uses regularly, such as hymn playing, accompanying, and sight-reading, the more advanced examinations also test the candidate’s literacy and musicianship at a higher level. For example, items such as writing counterpoint, accompanying from a figured bass, and essay questions in music history are included in the upper-level exams.
"An AGO certificate benefits the member, contributing to professional advancement and to an increase in confidence in performance, and it strengthens the Guild in its mission to maintain standards in organ playing, choral conducting, and worship music," notes Philip Gehring, phd, fago, director of the AGO Committee on Professional Certification. "A Guild with a large number of certified members sends a message to the public that we are serious about quality in the practice of our profession." Approximately 13% of the AGO membership is certificated. Of those, 43% hold the Service Playing Certificate; 26% hold the Colleague; 7% hold the Choir Master; 17% hold the Associateship, and 6% hold the Fellowship.
The NPM CERTIFICATION PROGRAM provides opportunities for Catholic musicians to demonstrate competence in various areas of music ministry. Recognition as a Certified Director of Music Ministries (CDMM) is available to full-time professional directors of music. The Basic Cantor Certificate (BCC) is designed for psalmists and cantors who lead congregational song in worship. The Basic Organist Certificate (BOC) requires the candidate to demonstrate proficiency in playing hymns and service music for the Mass. The NPM Certification Program is coordinated by a national committee chaired by Ann Labounsky, phd, fago of Duquesne University. #
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL email@example.com.