AGO Fellowship 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. Fellowship certification is the highest level of certification offered by the AGO. Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas.

  1. Perform organ literature of advanced difficulty.
  2. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of organ repertoire.
  3. Know and apply authentic performance practice.
  4. Understand organ tonal design.
  5. Apply authentic and effective registration.
  6. Understand the mechanics and maintenance of the organ.
  7. Accompany with flexibility and musicianship.
  8. Sight-read open scores including lines in the C clefs.
  9. Transpose
  10. Improvise
  11. Compose and arrange.
  12. Demonstrate practical knowledge of orchestration.
  13. Have a broad knowledge of music history and literature.
  14. Be able to write in contrapuntal forms of both 16th and 18th century styles, and to analyze examples.
  15. Transcribe from dictation.
2020 Examination Dates and Fees

The exam was scheduled for June 4 and 5, 2020 – paperwork section both mornings; organ playing one of the afternoons, however it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examination fees: Both sections $300, single section $250. There is no student rate. Surcharge for nonmembers of the AGO, $100.

Educational Resources for Fellowship Certification

Videos Demonstrating Certification Exam Procedures
Professional Certification Requirements 2021
Manual of Procedure for Associate and Fellowship Examination
100 Strategies for Successful AGO Certification
AGO Bibliography for Examination Preparation

Past Fellowship Exams

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

Past TAO Articles for Exam Preparation

Preparing for AGO Exams (reprints from 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

Fellowship Ear Training Exercises

The ear training exercises and the past exams below are offered by the AGO Certification Committee for candidates to use to prepare for Fellowship certification. Click on an example. View the ear training solutions.


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