Welcome to the Educational Resources web page of the American Guild of Organists. The educational resources accessible from this page have been developed over the years. They cover a wide range of practical topics useful to beginning organists, church musicians, and AGO members. The emphasis is on content not otherwise readily available through non-AGO sources.
Lessons for the New Organist
The AGO Committee on Continuing Professional Education has produced a series of 30 videos entitled Lessons for the New Organist. Pianists are often asked by their congregation to play the organ, and these videos were developed to help new organists acquire basic skills and techniques as quickly as possible. Each video lesson is two to seven minutes long, and there is a wide variety of topics from shoes to bench height, stops, registrations, and basic pedaling.
Learn Beginning Organ Improvisation From Two National Competition Winners
Two winners of the National Competition in Organ Improvisation, Kalle Toivio (2018) and Ivan Bosnar (2020), recently completed instructional videos designed for organists who are just beginning to explore the art of improvisation. The videos were filmed at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music on the historic Holtkamp organ in Crouse Hall. Frederick Hohman produced the videos.
AGO Videos online
A Young Person’s Guide to the Pipe Organ
An illustrated multi-media webpage explaining the origins of the pipe organ, how a pipe organ works, pitches available on the pipe organ, the basic sound groups of a pipe organ, and the divisions of a pipe organ. Click here to visit this page.
The OrganTutor Registration Unit
Eleven interactive lessons on basic organ registration, from Don Cook’s OrganTutor Online, are available free for AGO members who are logged in. The lessons cover Organ Types and Components, Using Console Devices, Pitches, Families, Non-Speaking Stops, Chorus Registration, Solo/Accompaniment Registration, Trio/Duo Registration, and Hymn Registration.
You may conveniently view the OrganTutor lessons by first accessing any one of the online issues of The American Organist magazine. After you have logged in and can access TAO online, look for “OrganTutor” in the “Menu” found in the upper left-hand side of your issue. An accompanying packet is available here as a free download for printing.
A Mini-Course in Basic Organ Registration
The material included was prepared specifically for the beginning organist and covers only basic information. Access A Mini-Course in Basic Organ Registration.
AGO Certification: A chapter guide for promotion, preparation, and participation. (Under revision)
- Bach, J.S.
- Bovet, Guy
- Duruflé, Maurice
- Gawthrop, Daniel
- Guillou, Jean
- Hakim, Naji
- Locklair, Dan
- Messiaen, Olivier
- Peeters, Flor
- Schumann, Clara
- French Classical Performing Editions
- Iberian Organ Music
- CD Recordings of Organ Music by Black Composers
- East Asian Works for Harpsichord and Organ
- Latin American & Hispanic-American Organ Music
- Bibliography of Organ Works by Black Composers
Graded Repertoire Documents
- The Tournemire Voyage
- Jean Langlais Remembered, by Marie-Louise Langlais
- Learn to Improvise, Articles from The American Organist magazine, 2001–2009
- Quotes of Famous Pedagogues
- Osiris: Worldwide Collection of Pipe Organ Specifications and details
- Westfield Center
- Organ of St. Sulpice, France
- Gottfried Silbermann
- Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore (a camera pan that you control with your mouse)
- Pipe Organ Education Project (explains how a pipe organ works)
- Designed to Teach Children about Pipe Organs
- Encylopedia of Organ Stops