AGO Young Organists

The AGO has seven regional divisions for young organists to benefit young organists across the United States and foreign chapters. Through Facebook, a community of young organists* who are members of the AGO, are connecting in this virtual community to establish networking opportunities and generate innovative web-based programming. *The AGO Young Organists (AGOYO) was formed to serve as an online Facebook community and promote innovative programming for young organists of the Guild. AGOYO members must be members of the Guild and under 30 years of age. … [Read more...]

A Young Organist Asks: Why go to the AGO National Convention in Kansas City?

Why do we bother having national conventions and why would I want to go? As a Young Organist myself, I know how hard it is to find the time and the money to attend a convention. But this one has my attention. Here are five reasons to attend the 2018 AGO National Convention and four ways to make it happen. 1) Content. You will have the opportunity to attend concerts, workshops, and presentations by world class musicians and scholars. Don’t believe me? Check them out on our website agokc2018.com. 2)  Learning about a new city. Explore Kansas City in the Heartland of the U.S. and occupying space in two different states. You never know where that next job opportunity might come from and wouldn’t it be nice to know a little something … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Pianists on the Organ – What to Play When You’re Just Starting

Hello all from the Mid-Atlantic! Our post this month in our continuing series on the transition from piano to organ comes from Tom Robak. There's a lot that pianists can play on the organ even before they acquire lots of pedal technique. Here are some categories of pieces that will be useful to a pianist: General “keyboard music” that is written for any or multiple keyboard instruments Organ music for manuals only Harpsichord/clavichord repertoire Organ music with minimal pedal Music for harmonium/reed organ You can do a lot of your own research by scoping out IMSLP and other repositories of free sheet music, as well as your local music libraries. To get you started though, here are some of my suggestions that might … [Read more...]

Southeast: Professional Development at the Organ

This month from the Southeast, managing different jobs under one title by Christopher Henley! Be sure to check out the other resources on our region's site as well; we're not just a blog! Southeast AGOYO Blog … [Read more...]

North Central: French Organ Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO! I hope everyone's new year is off to a great start. Here are some thoughts on organ music from France. The implications of the French Revolution and organ innovation by Cavaille-Coll are mentioned as two distinguishing forces that separate the earlier repertoire and instruments of the French Classic from their Romantic successors. A list of prominent composers from each period is also given. The French Classic instrument pictured is the 1714 Boizard organ at Abbaye Michel-en-Thierache, and the French Romantic instrument is the famous 1862 Cavaille-Coll organ at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Of all the national schools which comprise the organ’s literature, the contributions of France are among the … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Transitioning from Piano to Organ

Greetings from the Mid Atlantic AGOYO! Continuing in our series on transitioning from piano to organ, here is an article written by one of our board members, Peter Bayer, about pedal technique. The Pedal of the Organ is another keyboard like a manual, but instead of having two hands wherewith to play it, one has two feet. The two feet generally work best if they are treated as a unit, as if they were one hand with two fingers. The primary motion of the feet should be a pivoting motion from the heels, while the legs above the heels remain relaxed, only coming into motion in order to facilitate large movements. Therefore, good posture is of utmost importance for good pedal technique. The back must be straight, and one must sit … [Read more...]

West: Keeping up Skills During Less Busy Times of the Year

Hello from the West to all! I know we are all looking forward to the warm temperatures which summer brings. Have you stopped to consider, “What shall I do in the summer to keep up with my organ skills?” Well, here are a few options that may help you in your skill-keeping: There are summer conferences occurring which can help us in our upkeep. Of course, there is the AGO National Convention, being held in Kansas City, MO, from July 2 to July 6. Currently, until March 31, the price is $250.00. Visit http://www.agokc2018.com/ to find out more information. You could also compete in competitions, which should give you ample reason to practice. You can visit https://www.agohq.org/competitions-active/ to check out a listing of active … [Read more...]

Great Lakes: Managing Personal Finances as Freelancers/Part-timers

Hey everyone and Merry Christmas from the Great Lakes AGOYO Chapter! As wonderful (despite the stress of planning liturgies and extra concerts) as the season can be, it also has the potential to be a stressful mess financially with extra expenses like traveling home, gifts, and extra holiday parties - particularly if you earn your living as a freelance musician, which is at least partially the case with many organists. Despite its ominous title, this article has some interesting points (and very do-able, even on a limited budget) that not only can help you prevent finding yourself in financially tight spots, but also start planning for long terms goals, even if you aren't a freelance musician. Have a great Christmas everyone! The … [Read more...]

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO: Iberian Organ Music

This month we delve into the under-appreciated world of Iberian organ music from the late Renaissance and Baroque. The organs with their large arsenals of horizontal reeds provide a pleasing sight not only to our eyes, but to our ears as well. Composers also utilize the unique split keyboard design of Iberian organs to compose pieces that are not playable on other instruments of the same time. -Phillip Radtke Understudied and underappreciated, Iberian organ music and organs had the biggest impact during the 17th century while the Iberian Peninsula experienced a period of strong political power. Iberian organs were influenced by builders of France, the Netherlands and most of Europe. While the music was conservative it is distinctively … [Read more...]

West: Stress Relief

Greetings from the West Region AGOYO! Our topic this month is Stress Relief, especially appropriate for those of us that hold church positions in this busy season! As the world speeds up around us during the holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in the stress and pressures of work and family life. Sometimes it's hard to feel like there is time for everything! I have found that it is often helpful to take a step back from the things that are stressing me out, whether that means taking a long practice break or even taking a day off. Taking a day off and engaging in healthy self-care habits will help you to return to work the next day feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge. If you find yourself feeling burnt out as … [Read more...]