The Organist Training Program seeks to provide the qualified keyboardist with the skills and training to successfully serve as an organist in a parish setting through a low-cost, goal-oriented, and flexible pedagogical structure. Lessons are taught by members of the archdiocesan Music Commission and other highly-qualified organists throughout the Archdiocese.
Interested students are directed by the Office of Liturgy to a prospective instructor. The instructor then determines whether a student has the potential to benefit from the program. Qualified students should be able to demonstrate keyboard (piano) proficiency, possess an interest in the ministry of music, and have a desire to improve musical skills through a commitment to regular practice.
Each semester (September-December; January-May; June-August) of instruction consists of 10 lessons (45 minutes each). The cost for each semester is $500.00. A student is encouraged to seek the sponsorship of his/her pastor and parish, but a student may also pay his/her own tuition. Payments are made directly to the instructor.
Students must have access to a suitable organ for practice purposes. The minimum requirements for an instrument include two manuals of 61 keys each and a pedal board of 30 keys. Text materials and printed music are essential elements of the instruction and are required, as per the direction of the instructor. Copies of service music, psalmody, and hymns from the student’s parish repertoire should be made available to the student by the parish. Students are required to have access to organ shoes and a metronome.
Lessons are scheduled either at the instructor’s or student’s church at the discretion of the instructor. The location of the lessons will be decided in advance of the beginning of each semester. If student is under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must be present for the entirety of each lesson.
The organist training program offers two certificates which serve as evidence of skills achieved. The “A Certificate” is granted when the student is able to play, with a minimum number of mistakes, a sampling of service music and psalmody representing his/her parish repertoire, along with five hymns selected from a prescribed list. The “B Certificate” places more emphasis on organ repertoire of the masters. The student who requests a certificate must perform the aforementioned selections before a jury of three professors, who then recommend certification. Certification is not intended to indicate that the student is qualified to function as a parish organist, but rather, serves to document progress made in building organ skills.
There is no minimum timetable for the completion of either certificate. Students are allowed to progress at their own pace.