AGO Associateship Certification

The American Guild of Organists was chartered in 1896 by the Board of Regents, University of the State of New York, to administer a comprehensive series of examinations for professional certification.  Examinations have played a central role in the Guild’s work since its founding.  Being professionally certified can play a major role in your life and career. Candidates for Associateship certification must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas.

  1. Perform major solo organ works of all periods.
  2. Be familiar with major periods and styles of organ repertoire.
  3. Understand organ history, design, and maintenance.
  4. Harmonize melodies.
  5. Play a hymn using introduction and interlude between two stanzas.
  6. Accompany from figured bass.
  7. Analyze musical form.
  8. Sight-read choral opens score (4-stave) and organ score (3-stave).
  9. Transpose
  10. Improvise and compose in small forms.
  11. Have knowledge of music literature and history, especially (but not limited to) organ and choral music and various traditions of liturgical music.
  12. Transcribe from dictation.
2020 Examination Dates and Fees

The exam is given June 4 and 5, 2020 (paperwork section both mornings; organ playing one of the afternoons). The application deadline is April 1, 2020. Both sections, $300, single section $250. Student rate both sections $275. Surcharge for non AGO members is $100.

Educational Resources for Associateship Certification

Videos Demonstrating Certification Exam Procedures
Manual of Procedure Associate and Fellowship Examination
100 Strategies for Successful AGO Certification
Detailed Professional Certification Requirements (2020)
AGO Bibliography for Examination Preparation

Past TAO Articles for Exam Preparation

Preparing for AGO Exams (reprints of past TAO magazine articles)
AGO Colleague Examination 2013/Improvisation Question/The Modulating Bridge by Philip Gehring, FAGO, Oct. 2013 (revised)
AGO Service Playing Anthem Accompaniment/Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace: Approaches to Wesley’s Most Popular Anthem by Jonathan B. Hall, FAGO, ChM, August 2012
It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Can’t Make ‘Em Sing”/Leading Hymn Singing from the Organ: A Practical Checklist by Kenneth Grinnell, FAGO, ChM, April 2006
Regular Countersubjects in Fugue by Walter Hilse, FAGO, March 2008
Ten Tips on Sight Reading by Jonathan B. Hall, FAGO, ChM, March 2009
The Fugal Answer by Walter Hilse, FAGO, April 2006
Transposition: Not a Four-Letter Word by Kenneth Grinnell, FAGO, ChM, May 2008
On Modulation by Dean Billmeyer, FAGO, Handout from a 2008 convention workshop
Two Additional Service Playing Test Pieces by Kathleen Thomerson, FAGO, ChM, October 2009

Past Exams  for Associateship Certification

Associateship Exam 2019          Solutions of the 2019 exam
Associateship Exam 2018          Solutions of the 2018 exam
Associateship Exam 2017          Solutions of the 2017 exam
Associateship Exam 2016          Solutions of the 2016 exam
Associateship Exam 2015          Solutions of the 2015 exam

Associateship Ear Training Exercises

The ear training exercises below are offered by the AGO Certification Committee for candidates to use to prepare for Associateship certification. Click on an example and then view the ear training solutions.

Purchase the repertoire for the Associateship Exam at Cliff Hill Music or Lois Fyfe Music.