When asked to play the organ, many pianists agree only very reluctantly. Often, they feel pressured into helping out during church services, when the regular organist is not available.
Most times, they’re not unwilling but worried that they don’t understand how to ‘work’ all the knobs and certainly the pedals that manage the sound. The keyboards look the same, but that is where any resemblance between the instruments ends.
Four simple rules for a pianist playing the organ
This fear is understandable but with just a few minutes preparation it really is not at all difficult to be very competent if you follow some very simple rules. Especially the golden rule- don’t panic!
- Ignore the pedal board. Forget it is there. Do not attempt to use your feet at all.
- Ignore all but one of the keyboards. If there are 2, play on the lower keyboard. If there are 3, use the middle keyboard. And if there are 4 keyboards, wonder why on earth an organist cannot be found to play on what is most certainly a very special and rare instrument!
- Only look for stops that say 8ft. If it says 8 Flute it will be quiet, 8ft Diapason medium loud, and 8ft Trumpet it will be loud.
- Having found a sound that you are happy with, stick to it. Do not add to the pressure by trying to alter the sound.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the switches, levers and buttons
It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the array of switches, levers, knobs, and buttons found at many organ consoles. Once the fog of apprehension and sometimes fear these controls create clears, it really is just a job of playing the notes as you would on a piano.
All our customers started off with basic keyboard skills before starting to play the organ and so transferred from piano to organ at some time or other.
Why not consider making the change yourself? The organ is a most rewarding instrument, and with the option of home practice instruments, you no longer need to find a church instrument to learn to play the organ.
If you are pianist interested in playing the organ, you can explore our range of instruments on our website. Our digital organs are suitable for home practice as well as churches, schools and concert venues. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance. You can also read more about us on our blog where we write about all things organ.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.