North Central: Dutch Organ Culture During the Reformation

Greetings from the North Central region of AGOYO! In light of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses, effectively beginning the Reformation, I would like to address reformer John Calvin’s important role in shaping Dutch organ culture through religious doctrine. John Calvin (1509-1564), French theologian and reformer based in Geneva, Switzerland Most well-known for his doctrine of predestination and the sovereignty of God in the role of salvation Influenced the development of the Reformed and Presbyterian traditions Three Important Scripture Verses and Calvin’s Interpretation I Corinthians 14:16: surrounding the context of speaking in tongues during worshipand the need for an interpreter. According to … [Read more...]

Southwest: The Four C’s- How to deal with congregation, coworkers, committees, and clergy

Greetings from the Southwest AGOYO! Our topic is The Four C's- dealing with Coworkers, A Committee, A Congregation, and Clergy. In our field especially, interpersonal skills are extremely important. However, there may be times where we face a coworker or someone in a neighboring department that we may not work as well with. Dealing with conflict in a workplace setting can be quite difficult and knowing how to resolve issues and reach out to others, if needed, is vital. Read More... -Solena Rizzato … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Pedal Technique

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...]

Great Lakes: Career Benefits of Degrees and AGO Certifications

Whether you would like to pursue a degree in performance or church music, there are several reasons why an organ degree will benefit your career as an organist: Formal organ study. Taking consistent lessons, enrolling in music classes, and studying alongside other peer musicians is a phenomenal growing experience. (Studying music in college is awesome!) Experience. A degree will provide you with valuable performing and teaching experience. This is your opportunity to hone your skills and learn from your mistakes! Take advantage of this time to be a student! Efficient practice. As organists, we have to learn music rather quickly. Whether learning an anthem for Sunday morning or getting ready for a recital, organists need experience in … [Read more...]

Southeast: Five Ways to Combat a Little Bit of Christmas Rage

This one is best read from the ​source … [Read more...]

West: 500th Anniversary of Reformation: 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. Luther's Impact … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: An Introduction to the difficulties associated with 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. Many exciting topics await exploration, so make the 28th of each month your day to check back here! 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 … [Read more...]

Great Lakes: Creating a Strong Resume/CV; differences between a CV, Resume, and  Cover letter

Good afternoon from the Great Lakes region, everybody! We wanted to talk about making yourself look good on your resume, CV or cover letter. Having a well-crafted resume is a real asset to getting into your dream school or landing your dream job. So what's the difference between a resume and a CV? CV stands for "curriculum vitae," or course of life. As the name suggests, a CV thoroughly lists any and all academic or professional work you've done. Length is not an issue; if you've done a lot of stuff, list it all! Many academic institutions may ask for a CV because they want to see the full breadth of your musicality and your personal achievement to get to know you as a person. On my CV I have all of my music jobs I've held, schools I've … [Read more...]

Southeast: Homosexuality and Conservative Churches

Working In a Church You Wouldn't Attend       ​ In the last three years I’ve been employed by five different churches in four denominations: ECUSA, UMC, ELCA and PCUSA. These moves have been for one of three reasons: enrolling in graduate school, completing graduate school, or for a better opportunity/salary. I haven’t always agreed with the churches I’ve served, whether it be theological or political issues, and that’s okay. Church musicians often struggle with separating their beliefs from the beliefs of the churches they serve. My hope is that, in an increasingly polarized society, we can serve in churches that don’t necessarily preach what we want to hear. 1. You’re not alone. Most churchgoers do not agree with every belief of their … [Read more...]

North Central: American​ ​Organ​ ​Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO. This month we are focusing on American Organ Music! American organ music is unique in its origin and exciting in both tone and color. The following American composers' compositions provide excitement to American organ literature. Nineteenth Century Arthur​ ​Foote​ ​helped found The American Guild of Organists and served the AGO as its National Honorary President. The majority of his compositions are written in the chamber music genre, however organists are fortunate that Foote wrote this interesting work for the King of Instruments. ○ Recording (Oriental Sketch, Op. 41, No. 5) Dudley​ ​Buck​ ​taught organ in Hartford, Connecticut with a medium sized organ and later relocated to Chicago. The … [Read more...]