Chapter Outreach to New Organists

The Committee on the New Organist is pleased to offer the following materials to assist chapters and their members with the recruitment and education of new organists. The first portion highlights chapter outreach endeavors including PipeWorks; Pedals, Pipes and Pizza (PPP); POE; POE (Advanced); POE (Technical) and POE+. The second section provides selected resources to complement these endeavors. This collection will be expanded frequently to accommodate additional materials.

Outreach Programs
PipeWorks is a two-week program for upper elementary or middle school students. Integrating music, science and social studies, it uses a pipe organ for classroom instruction. The PipeWorks Curricula is available from AGO headquarters.

Burgomaster, Mary Ellen; Ruth Caswell, Carole Wills. “Dear PipeWorks,” The American Organist 37/2 (Feb. 2003): 95-96.

Caswell, Ruth M. “PipeWorks: An Educational Outreach of the Seattle AGO Chapter,” The American Organist 30/11 (Nov. 1996): 12.

Caswell, Ruth M. “The New Organist: Are We Having PipeWorks Today?” The American Organist 31/9 (Sept. 1997): 64-65.

Wills, Carole J. “Finding Funds for PipeWorks Project,” The American Organist 39/5 (May 2005): 42-43.

Wills, Carol J. “The New Organist PipeWorks. . .Works!” The American Organist 32/9 (Sept. 1998): 67.

Pedals, Pipes and Pizza Events

Pedals, Pipes and Pizza is a partial-day event that introduces children and youth to the pipe organ. A Guidebook with suggestions is available from AGO headquarters.

Pedals, Pipes, & Pizza
Lindeen-Martin, Cindy. “Hosting a Pedals, Pipes and Pizza Event,” The American Organist 41/2 (Feb. 2007): 70-72.

Milstead, Patricia. “100 Students Take Part in Pedals, Pizza and Pipes,” The American Organist 37/5 (May 2003): 18.

Witherup, Wm. “Erie Chapter Pedals, Pipes and Pizza,” The American Organist 34/8 (Aug. 2000): 63.

Pipe Organ Encounters

The POE Handbook, available online and from the AGO National Headquarters, contains the application form and extensive information regarding POEs. In addition, the video Close Encounters is beneficial to watch and is available to view online. Application deadline for chapter sponsorship is due by February 1 of the year preceding the POE.

POE (Pipe Organ Encounter for Youth Who Are 13-18 Years of Age)

A POE is a 4–5 day event introducing youth who are 13–18 years of age to the pipe organ. Students are provided with individual and group instruction in the basic rudiments of pipe organ technique and service playing. They are also given a general overview of organ literature, history, pipe organ construction and design, improvisation and other related topics. Opportunities are provided for ecumenical worship and to experience the role of the sacred musician. Previous organ study is not required, but applying students should have piano proficiency ranging from intermediate to advanced levels.

McKelway, Barbara.
“Pipe Organ Encounter Graduate Questionnaire Results,”
The American Organist 29/5 (Nov. 1995): 30.
(This survey included POE registrants from 1988 to 1994.)

Ramsey, Parker. “POE 2003,”
The American Organist 38/10 (Oct. 2004): 102.

Rowley, Naomi. “POE Survey,”
The American Organist 40/5 (May 2006): 74-75.
(This survey included POE registrants from 2000 to 2003.)

Rowley, Naomi. “Go the Extra Mile! Recruit and Retain Youth as AGO Members,” The American Organist 40/8 (Aug. 2006): 62-63.
(This article provides suggestions for retaining recent POE graduates as student AGO members. By virtue of their POE registration, all students receive a one-year student membership in the Guild. Chapters who have received these POE graduates as members offer suggestions for retaining them as members after their initial one-year membership expires.)

Trenney, Tom. “Reaching Out One By One,”
The American Organist 38/12 (Dec. 2004): 90.
(This article provides post-POE follow-up suggestions for chapters that receive recent POE graduates as new, student members.)

POE (Advanced)

A POEA is a 5-6 day event for students aged 13-18 who have achieved a high level of success in organ study, and are interested in a more advanced level of instruction and intense course study. An artist faculty provides instruction in technique and performance, and facilitates intermediate and advanced classes are in the areas of organ literature, history, pipe organ construction and design, music theory, improvisation, conducting and service playing. Students must submit an audition recording and other supporting materials in order to apply for admission.

POE+ (for Adults Aged 19 and Older)

The POE+ is for students 19 years and older who want to play the organ, or who want to improve their organ skills. Students who do not have an organ background must already have a proficient piano background. During the 4-5 day program, organ instruction will cover basic technique, improvisation, registration, hymn playing, sight reading, and transposition. Further topics will provide an overview of organ literature, history, and pipe organ construction and design. Participants will also receive an opportunity to participate in ecumenical worship as well as interacting with peers of similar interests.

POE (Technical)

A POETech is a program designed for students who are interested in learning the art and craft of organ building. This program is for students aged 16-23, who may be experienced organists, although previous organ study is not a requirement. Students may possess or be seeking expertise in woodworking, electrical skills, and/or construction. Anticipated or current collegiate study may be in the areas of organ performance or liberal arts with emphasis in science and engineering. The program includes 4-5 days of courses in the history, design, construction, and maintenance of the pipe organ. Classes include study of the work of various builders, pipe building and voicing, tonal design, and visits to builders’ shops. Students also will have opportunities to play a variety of instruments and attend pipe organ concerts.

Selected Resources to Compliment Chapter and Member Outreach Endeavors

(This area will be expanded and updated on a regular basis.)

Find an Organ Teacher
Click HERE to connect with AGO members are active teachers in AGO chapters which make available or post online lists of organ teachers.


Asner, Marie. “Mastering the Press Release,” The American Organist 35/11 (Nov. 2001): 44.

Berlin, Alan D. “Chapter-Sponsored Organ Scholarships,” The American Organist 40/1 (Jan. 2006): 88-89.

Black, Elizabeth. “A Close Encounter of a Different Kind,” The American Organist 37/4 (April 2003): 95.
(This article describes a program for introducing youth to the pipe organ that is smaller in scope than a Pedals, Pipes and Pizza event, but very effective.)

Dolbashian, Ann T. “The New Organist: An Organ Demonstration for Children,” The American Organist 31/5 (May 1997): 36.
(This article is a description of an hour-long presentation that acquaints youth of the parish with the pipe organ.)

Elwood, Beryl Bell. “Children’s Music and Arts Camp and the Pipe Organ,” The American Organist 39/5 (May 2005): 66-67.

Gehring, Philip. “Learning to Play the Organ,” The American Organist 34/1 (Jan. 2000): 56, 58.

Goslee, Brenda B., “Creating a Community-College Organ Program,” The American Organist 38/3 (March 2004): 56-57.

Haustein, Janis. “The New Organist: Organist for the Day,” The American Organist 31/1 (Jan. 1997): 86.

Heath, Diane. “Encouraging Young Listeners at Traditional Organ Recitals,” The American Organist 39/6 (June 2005): 72-73.

Leupold, Wayne. “The Organist’s Assistant Program: Developing Organ Students at Any Church for 3rd Through 6th Graders,” The American Organist 40/9 (Sept 2006): 34-35.

Lundgren, RuthAnn. “The New Organist: Ideas for Establishing An Organ Class for Children in the Church,” The American Organist 29/6 (June 1995): 35.

Racer, Bill E. “Reaching Children with the Organ: A Project of the Wichita AGO Chapter,” The American Organist 27/9 (Sept. 1993): 43.
(A complete description of POPs, the chapter’s Pipe Organ Project for Kids.)

Robb, Leslie Wolf. “Teaching Young People to Play the Organ,” The American Organist 39/2 (Feb. 2005): 95.

Rowley, Naomi. “The New Organist: Recruiting and Teaching Techniques,” The American Organist 25/11 (Nov. 1991): 66.

Rowley, Naomi. “Church-Sponsored Organ Scholarships,” The American Organist 39/7 (July 2005): 82.

Rowley, Naomi. “Meet the King of Instruments,” The Chorister 58/3 (Oct./Nov. 2006): 26-28.
(This article has numerous suggestions for church musicians who are interested in creating opportunities to introduce children and youth in their parishes to the King of Instruments.)

Schmidt-Rogers, Lea. “Pianists, You Must Learn the Organ,” The American Organist 29/8 (Aug. 1995): 43.

Schmidt-Rogers, Lea. “What Works?” The American Organist 34/5 (May 2000): 104.

Shaw, Irene J. “The New Organist: POPs for Kids,”
The American Organist 30/5 (May 1996): 32.
(An update regarding this creative program of the Wichita Chapter.)

Shaw, Irene J. “The New Organist: POPs for Kids Encore,” The American Organist 30/7 (July 1996): 43.
(The article has additional information regarding this unique program of the Wichita Chapter.)

Watson, Nancy Hostetler. “The New Organist: The Organ at Bible School,” The American Organist 30/6 (June 1996): 23.

Woolard, Margot. “The New Organist: Playing for Funerals,” The American Organist 26/9 (Sept. 1992): 86.

Woolard, Margot. “The New Organist: Things They Never Tell You About Playing for Services,” The American Organist 29/12 (Dec. 1995): 26.

Zeliff, Robert M. “AGO Region I Organ Programs for Young People,” The American Organist 38/1 (Jan. 2004): 66-68.

Zierdt Elkin, Donna. “The New Organist: Erasing Excuses,” The American Organist, 28/5 (May 1994): 46-47.
(Suggestions for teaching organists who’ve played for years but never had lessons.)

Booklets (Miscellaneous)

Pipe Up! Let It Resound! An Introduction to the Pipe Organ for Pre-School through Grade 5. New York, New York: American Guild of Organists, 2000, 2006.
(A program resource guide.)

Soderlund, Sandra and Catherine Fischer. A Young Person’s Guide to the Pipe Organ. New York, New York: American Guild of Organists.
(This resource is a delightful introduction to the pipe organ for young people of any age. Through its cartoon format, this book provides a brief history of the instrument and cleverly illustrates types of action, varieties of pipes, divisions of the organ, organ builders, players and composers. There is also a glossary of terms and a bibliography.)

Uszler, Marienne. Time Flies. . .How to Make the Best Use of Teaching Time. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: FJH Music, 2004. (FF1340)
(A resource designed to enhance the skills of the keyboard teacher.)

Hymn Playing Resources

Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings for Parish and Student Organists. Fenton, Missouri: MorningStar Music Publishers, 1992-2004.
(The settings in these collections are designed for student organists who are at the early stage of technical development; fingerings and pedal markings are provided as well as comments regarding technical and musical concepts. In addition, comments regarding the compositional form of the selections enable them to be models for beginning improvisation. These selections will be useful to both parish and student organists as they develop proficiency in hymn playing.)

Easy Hymn Settings Advent-Christmas MSM-10-015
Easy Hymn Settings Christmas MSM-10-115
Easy Hymn Settings Lent MSM-10-315
Easy Hymn Settings Easter MSM-10-415
Easy Hymn Settings General, Set 1 MSM-10-815
Easy Hymn Settings General, Set 2 MSM-10-715
Easy Hymn Settings General, Set 3 MSM-10-615
Easy Hymn Settings General (Communion), Set 4 MSM-10-515
Heller, David. Manual on Hymn Playing. Chicago, Illinois: GIA, G-3642, 1992.
(This manual presents basic concepts of hymn playing technique in an orderly and graded process which enables the organist to see and realize gradual and solid progress in the mastery of this skill. The series of hymns included in the manual is organized according to difficulty and thereby enables the organist to master problems in a systematic manner.)

Leupold, Wayne. Easiest Hymns. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions WL 600037, 1994.
(Written in trio style for manuals and pedal, these settings are an asset with developing coordination since the pedal part is limited to only a few pitches.)

Mealy, Margaret. Ninety Easy Hymn Accompaniments for Keyboard. Chicago, Illinois: GIA, G-4698, 1982, 1997.
(A resource collection of simplified hymn settings, primarily in three-voice manual texture, scored to fit comfortably under the organist’s hands.)

Mitchell-Wallace, Sue. “The New Organist: The Art and Craft of Playing Hymns,” The American Organist 29/9 (Sept. 1995): 40.

Woolard, Margot Ann. A Mini-Course in Hymn Playing. New York, New York: American Guild of Organists, 1984.
(This resource, in cassette and booklet format, is a step-by-step guide to good hymn playing. The role of the organist as editor and interpreter of the text is stressed.)

Woolard, Margot Ann. “The New Organist: Marking the Hymnal,” The American Organist 28/3 (March 1994): 67.

Improvisation Resources

Learn to Improvise, Articles from The American Organist Magazine, 2001-2009

Burkhardt, Michael. “The New Organist: Giving Life to the Hymnology of the Church: A Rationale for and an Introduction to Hymn-Based Improvisation,” The American Organist 28/11 (Nov. 1994): 27-29.

Burkhardt, Michael. See entry under Hymn Playing Resources.

Lanning, Denise. In the Beginning….An Encounter with Improvisation at the Organ. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions, 2011. (WL6000250) (This 36-page resource is a user-friendly beginning workbook for both teacher and student, suitable for studio or independent use).

Shannon, John. First Improvisation Book. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions, 2000-2001. (WL600143)

Woolard, Margot Ann Greenlimb. “The New Organist: Hymn-Based Improvisations,” The American Organist 26/1 (Jan. 1992): 68.

Organ Demonstrators

Akerley, George. A Suite for Mother Goose. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Hinshaw. (HP03009)
(For organ and narrator, this delightful, six-movement composition was awarded the 2004 Holtkamp AGO Award in Organ Composition. Two copies are required for performance.)

Burton, Daniel. Rex: the King of Instruments. Fenton, Missouri: MorningStar. (MSM 10-938)
(This upbeat introduction to the pipe organ is nine minutes in length and scored for organ and rap narrator. Adjustments are suggested for 2, 3 or 4 manual instruments.)

Leavitt, John. Scenes of Childhood. Miami, Florida: Warner Brothers.
(A set of organ sketches based on selected poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. These pieces are to be performed with a narrator reading the appropriate poem prior to the performance of each organ sketch.)

Leupold, Wayne, editor and publisher. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions.
(A wide variety of organ demonstrators for various age groups are available from Wayne Leupold Editions. Consult the publisher’s website for further information


Woolard, Margot Ann. A Mini-Course in Basic Organ Registration. New York, New York: American Guild of Organists, 1990.
(This resource, in cassette and workbook format, is an introduction and guide to the selection of appropriate organ tone colors.)

Selected Organ Repertoire

Burkhardt, Michael, editor and arranger. Music for a Celebration, Set 4. Fenton, Missouri: MorningStar, 2005. (MSM-10-579)
(Chorale preludes in this collection from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries are arranged by type; within in each of these divisions, selections are arranged according to their level of difficulty. Editorial suggestions provide assistance for the student organist who will find the material useful for church.)

Jones, Joyce. Worship the King. Fenton, Missouri: MorningStar, 2005. (MSM-10-575)
(The repertoire in this publication is designed for the student organist; it originally appeared as part of the King of Instruments Organ Teaching Method by Joyce Jones.)

Wayne, Wold, editor, composer. Light on Your Feet: A Collection for Organ with Minimal Pedal, Vols. I & II. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg, 2000, 2001. (11-11040, 11-11121)
(Music in these collections is drawn from repertoire which spans four centuries and requires only minimal or no pedal. The selections are especially valuable for pianists with advanced keyboard skills who are adapting to the organ but have little or no experience with the pedals. The material is especially useful for new church organists.)

Teaching Methods and Materials

Behnke, John A. The Concordia Organ Method. St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia, 2000. (99-1674)
(This organ method is fashioned as a textbook for teaching the skills and techniques necessary for playing the organ. By using an integrated approach with interesting organ repertoire as well as work on hymn playing, improvisation and transposition, this text progresses sequentially in difficulty. Each piece or exercise has a specific objective. The repertoire is useful service music.

Davis, Roger. The Organists’ Manual: Technical Studies and Selected Compositions for the Organ. New York, New York: Norton, 1985.
(In addition to concise exercises for developing coordination and part-playing technique, the book contains two graded anthologies of repertoire: one for manuals-only, the other for manuals and pedal. The repertoire selection is especially valuable since it contains a good, cross-section of masterworks that might otherwise be expensive for the student to acquire in another manner. The selections would be useful for a new church organist.)

Fishell, Janette. But What Do I Do With My Feet? Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1996.
(A resource to assist pianists, who have little or no formal organ training, with meeting the technical and musical challenges of being pressed into service as the Sunday morning organist.)

Freese, Faythe. Sunday Morning Organist: A Survivor’s Guide for the Pianist. St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia, 2002. (99-1697)

Jones, Joyce. King of Instruments. Fenton, Missouri: MorningStar Music Publishers.
(A practical, concise organ method designed to help pianists acquire the basic skills for service playing.)

Leupold, Wayne. Discover the Basics. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions, 1998-2000.
(This introductory keyboard method enables students to develop music reading skills, keyboard coordination and musicianship. In addition, it provides an introduction to basic organ sounds as well as keyboard instruments and their composers. It is especially well suited for young students.)

Discover the Basics

Book A: WL 600092
Book B: WL 600093
Book C: WL 600094
Book D: WL 600095
Supplemental: Christmas Season WL 60010; Easter and Pentecost WL 600126
Leupold, Wayne. Discover the Organ: A Beginning Keyboard and Pedal Method for the Organ. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions, 1997- .
(This fully-graded series is designed especially for upper elementary and middle school students. While focusing primarily on developing comprehensive manual skills, elementary pedal concepts are introduced. Discover the Basics, published by Wayne Leupold Editions, is a suggested prerequisite.)

Level I

Basic Organ Repertoire, Series A: WL 600065
Modern Keyboard Technique WL 600084
Supplemental: Christmas Season WL 6000110; Easter and Pentecost WL 6000108 Organ and One Instrument WL 6000112
Level II

Basic Organ Repertoire, Series A: WL 600060
Modern Keyboard Technique WL 600085
Supplemental: Christmas Season WL 6000111; Easter and Pentecost WL 6000109 Organ and One Instrument WL 6000113
Level III

Basic Organ Repertoire, Series A, Level 3A: WL 600073
Basic Organ Repertoire, Series A, Level 3B: WL 600144
Modern Keyboard Technique, Level 3A: WL 600086
Modern Keyboard Technique, Level 3B: WL 600161
Supplemental: Christmas Season WL 6000130; Easter and Pentecost WL 600131; Organ and One Instrument WL 6000132
Levels IV and V (in preparation)

Leupold, Wayne, editor. First Organ Book. Colfax, North Carolina: Wayne Leupold Editions, 1995, 2003-2004. (WL600143)
(Originally compiled as a resource for POEs, this book is a sound organ method. In addition, it includes an interesting variety of pieces that pianists, with various skill levels and little or no prior organ experience, can play stylistically on the organ.)

Thomas, Anne Marsden. A Practical Guide to Playing the Organ. London, England: Cramer Music Ltd., 1997, 2001. (USA: contact Lois Fyfe Music, Nashville, Tennessee. 1-800-851-9023,
(This series consists of five volumes. The first volume is a guide to playing organ while the remaining four have graded repertoire drawn from a broad spectrum of style periods. They each contain detailed study notes and are cross-referenced to the guide materials in the first volume.)

A Practical Guide to Playing the Organ 90582
A Graded Anthology for Organ Book Two 90583
A Graded Anthology for Organ Book Three 90584
A Graded Anthology for Organ Book Four 90585
A Graded Anthology for Organ Book Five 90586
Thomas, Anne Marsden and Ann Elise Smoot. The Church Year. London, England: Cramer Music Ltd., 1996. (USA: contact Lois Fyfe Music, Nashville, Tennessee. 1-800-851-9023,
(The repertoire in this volume is drawn from a broad spectrum of style periods; it was selected and edited with teaching notes by Ms. Thomas and Ms. Smoot.)


Close Encounters. New York, New York: The American Guild of Organists.
(An introduction to the Guild’s Pipe Organ Encounter program. Available in DVD; 11 minutes in length.)

Pulling Out All the Stops: The Pipe Organ in America. New York, New York: The American Guild of Organists, 1996.
(Available in videocassette or DVD; 85 minutes in length.)

NOTE: For additional materials of a more advanced level compiled by the AGO Committee on Continuing Professional Education, please visit the webpage of the AGO Committee on Continuing and Professional Education.