West: Professional Development with Young organists: application and audition process, networking, taxes as an independent contractor

Hello from the West region! This year we will be posting about everything from professional development, planning events, organ repair and maintenance, and self care! We hope to cover a broad range of topics that will help us all grow and develop, regardless of where we are in our present careers. Church Organist Shortage (Baltimore Sun) … [Read more...]

Southwest:  How to look for a job: Resources, What to look for, How to read ‘between the lines’ in a job description

Greetings from Southwest AGOYO! This year, we will be featuring posts about how to maneuver in our job market. From dealing with congregations and clergy, to the best way to prep for an interview with a pastor, to knowing when it's time to move to a new church position, we have you covered! We are looking forward to sharing insights with all of you as we transition from college to the workforce or within the workforce itself. --Logan Herod … [Read more...]

Southeast: The Cost of a Career

Hello from the Southeast! This month, I blog about the biggest source of stress for college students, and how to alleviate it while pursuing a field you love. ​As a graduate student nearly finished with this chapter of my education  at Mississippi College, I often consider the stark numbers published in a recent issue of The American Organist regarding the number of organ performance majors in the country. It will not shock anyone to hear that the numbers have dropped each year. This results from a variety of factors, but I hope to address the most stressful aspect of life as an American college student, according to a recent study by Ohio State University: money. Of 19,000 students surveyed, 70% voiced tuition costs and day-to-day … [Read more...]

North Central: Focus on German Organ Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO, This month we are focusing on German Organ Music! This post will briefly discuss both the North and South German organ schools. Along with recordings, a few composers from each school will also be highlighted. Photo: The Trost organ of Waltershausen, with its 47 stops and 6 transmissions, is the biggest baroque organ in Thuringia. It is largely preserved in its original state of 1730 (a good 70% of the pipe material was built by Trost) and therefore is an invaluable reference when performing organ music by J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. Today this organ is viewed as the most authentic "Bach organ". (www.organartmedia.com) German Organ Schools North German - organ preludes and chorale … [Read more...]

Southwest: How to Prepare for Interviews and Auditions

Greetings, friends! As part of the Southwest Region’s ongoing theme of professional development, I wanted to post today about an issue that many may consider an awkward topic: how to know when it’s time to leave. This is a bit of a difficult topic for some of us and it’s one that we often don’t even consider until we’re starting to wonder why we haven’t left yet. My goal is to get you thinking *now* about these things so that, if/when the day comes, you’ll be ready. A few weeks ago, I was looking through Facebook and noticed a post by an older gentleman asking for opinions on how one should know when it is time to “hang up your shoes.” There were several great responses in the comments that followed, but I was concerned at the lack … [Read more...]

West: 500th Anniversary of Reformation. What was its significance to music history

Good evening, and greetings from far away in the West! As many of us are aware, this year marks the 500th year since the traditional beginning of the Reformation. Although we may not all be celebrating it in our congregations, we must acknowledge the role that Martin Luther played in sacred music. Many great compositions come from the Lutheran tradition, from J.S. Bach to Paul Manz, and many more. Are you celebrating Reformation Sunday this year? Are you going to sneak in some Bach? Go all out with choir and brass, or maybe your church is just going to pass? Tell us in the comments below. I’m certain some good ideas will surface. https://www.spectator.co.uk/…/04/luthers-music-had-an-even-g reater-impact-than-his-words/ … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Introduction to the Difficulties in Moving from Piano to Organ

Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic Region! We will talk this year about moving from playing the piano to playing the organ. It happens inevitably in the pianist’s career that he or she will, at some point in time, be asked to play the organ. The request comes most often from those who do not understand the niceties of technique, touch, and coordination associated with the various instruments in the keyboard family, and it is assumed that if one keyboard looks like another, than it will be an easy enough affair to transition from one to the other. Indeed, certain gifted artists within living memory have successfully attempted this feat. The majority, however, feel a lack of certainty upon hearing this request, and some have even reported … [Read more...]