To inspire youngsters to play the organ, Viscount Classical Organs have supported initiatives around the country designed to get young musicians engaged with the instrument.
Digital organ technology means that schools are able to give youngsters easy access to play the organ. You no longer need a huge space or budget to provide an organ. Without a wider group of young musicians experiencing the joy of the organ, there is a great risk of a shortage of future players.
We already see an ever small number of students experiencing the organ in church, so a ‘non religious’ route to experience the instrument will become ever more important and the small steps we have made so far can only help with that.
Below are a few of the initiatives that we either support or have supported in the past.
Music Outreach – London Organ Outreach Programme
This music outreach programme based at St Paul’s Cathedral is an innovative community engagement initiative which is educating and inspiring children across London through the arts – particularly those from less affluent backgrounds.
Music Outreach forms partnerships with schools and community groups including churches. One of the key project areas is the London Organ Outreach programme.
St Mary Magdalene Academy
St John The Divine School
As you see here young children introduced to the organ engage quickly with the instrument but what happens if one of them actually wants to learn to play it?
Tom Daggett, St Paul’s Cathedral’s Organ Outreach Fellow, has been taking digital organs into schools for assemblies and workshops for a number of years. Children from all backgrounds see, hear and play the instrument for the very first time.
Practice facilities in schools are made possible through the support of Viscount Classical Organs. We have installed five instruments in East and South London schools on a gratis long-term permanent loan. This is part of a commitment to inspire a lifelong love of organ music in these young aspiring musicians.
Read more about London Organ Outreach Programme.
Diocese of Leeds Music – Organist Training Scheme
The Diocese of Leeds Organists training programme is run by David Pipe at Leeds Catholic Cathedral. Viscount have loaned this programme an Envoy 35-F which is in the Cathedral for teaching and practice as use of the pipe organ there is greatly restricted.
The Organists’ Training Programme, started in May 2016, is enjoying great success across the Diocese of Leeds. The Programme attracted almost thirty children within its first academic year, and currently offers lessons to thirty-three children and eight adults. Children range in age from seven to eighteen years old. Importantly, many of these children would not have the opportunity to learn the organ without the support of the Programme.
Leeds Cathedral Wheeler Hall
St Bede’s and St Joseph’s School
David Pipe (and Anthony Gray from Diocese of Leeds Music Department) also teaches in St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College in Bradford, the largest Catholic state school in the country.
In 2017 the Director of Music identified potential organ students, and got a small but dedicated group of students, all of whom would never have the chance to learn the organ without subsidised teaching from the Diocese of Leeds Music Programme.
Viscount Organs loaned an instrument to the school to go into the Chapel at the senior site. This will enable the older students to continue playing and practicing the organ. David Pipe, Director of the Organists’ Training Programme, had this to say about Viscount and the programme
“I am in debt to David Mason and Viscount Organs for this tremendous support of our organ teaching. All of the children have enjoyed exploring the many capabilities of the Envoy model, and its presence has expanded our teaching opportunities considerably. We are receiving regular enquiries into organ lessons, and look to further expand the Programme’s teaching provisions in the coming months.”
Read more about the Diocese of Leeds Organists Training Programme.
Support for other Schools, Courses and Programmes
St Edward’s College Liverpool (Cadet Compact 31)
Viscount Organs are delighted to support St Edward’s College in Liverpool with a permanent loan instrument for the College Hall. The digital organ will allow their young organ students access to an instrument in school to practice and perform on.
The organ will be used in assemblies, liturgies and concerts in the College as well as being used for practice and teaching. The school now hope to encourage more pupils and students to consider learning the organ.
Find out more about the organ at St Edward’s College.
Oundle for Organists
For many years now Viscount have also provided practice instruments for the Oundle for Organists courses run in the summer holidays at Oundle School in Northamptonshire.
Three additional instruments in the school buildings adds to the fine pipe organs available and again allows easy access for students without leaving the campus.
Find out more how we have provided Oundle for Organists with practice organs.
London Organ Week
What used to be London Organ Week at St Giles Cripplegate, usually an August course and now run by the RCO also have Viscount instruments to increase the practice options.
This is now renamed Summer Course for Organists and provides teaching resources for what are mainly mature students but is another example of Viscount putting something back.
Foyle Academy in Londonderry
Foyle Academy in Londonderry were the recipient of a Chorum 40 organ from Viscount as part of a small competition run with local schools to coincide with the 2017 Londonderry Organ Festival. Foyle presented the best case for teaching and access to a gift instrument which they now have in their music department.
Read about how Foyle College hit the right notes at Organ Festival.
Holy Trinity School in Ramsgate (Chorum 40-S)
Another organ scheme that has benefitted from a loan instrument is Holy Trinity in Ramsgate. The scheme was conceived and masterminded by the Fr Paul Blanch. He spoke to us regarding a loan instrument to teach organ to students as part of a school music curriculum.
We agreed to loan the organ free of charge and the RCO came up with funds to provide a teaching bursary. The RSCM are watching and hoping to use this as a pilot scheme that they may roll out in other areas of the country.
Read about the practice organ at Holy Trinity.