My experience as a church organist

As a pianist, playing organs or keyboards wasn’t a foreign experience. Playing the organ in church came easy for me and the pieces I had to practice were relatively easy when compared to my piano pieces. However, they were a bit unusual. The piano and organ are very different instruments thus they require very different playing styles in order for them to be played effectively and efficiently. For example, the organ and its pieces is more suited towards accompanying a choir so organists have to hold the keys on the organ to prolong the notes in order for the song they’re playing to not sound ’empty’. Due to my experience with the piano, I had a habit of taking my hands off the organ in order to let the audience know that the piece was proceeding. This proved detrimental to my overall performance of the organ. I managed to fix it before my performance in church. Being a member of my school orchestra also helped as looking at the conductor to keep in time was also a skill that was needed.

Needless to say, I was very nervous, as every performer is before a performance. This experience taught me how to adapt to different play styles and a I learnt a lot of new pieces because of it which aided my sight reading.

I think this experience ties to LO1 and LO4.

Songwriting Workshop

Last year, I took part in a songwriting workshop to better my songwriting skills. As a budding pianist, I took part out of curiosity and to potentially be able to write songs in the future. The guest teachers, Tim and Rue, helped us in deciding our song format as well as to actually write a song. A cool technique for deciding lyrics is to take a random magazine, go to any random page or one that looks interesting.

Despite this new technique, I ended up making a piano piece with no lyrics as I wanted to stick to my comfort zone. My piano piece was based off the romantic composers Chopin and Debussy and titled “Flowers in the Wind”. To be honest, I didn’t put much thought into the title of the piece and just made it up when I got asked what it was. The piece is 4 pages long and consists of some themes people would normally see in romantic period music. Coming up with suitable melodies was challenging as sometimes it would just come to you and at others, you had to think what would go well or would proceed this section.

Because of my participation and the fact we had such a short time period to produce our songs, I believe this experience fits well into LO1 and LO5.