BYU INDEPENDENT STUDY ORGAN COURSES (“Organ Certification”) (Offered by BYU Independent Study)
Brigham Young University Independent Study offers a variety of organ courses designed to provide motivation and instruction for organists to improve their skills by working toward specific goals. Traditional instruction is offered through books and computer lessons, while performance instruction is coordinated with qualified organ instructors in the vicinity of the student.
These courses are a multi-level, in-depth organ training program created by the BYU organ faculty. Each of the six levels/courses (organ.byu.edu/TrainingResources.pdf) is available in both college-credit and non-credit versions. College-credit versions (Music 399R Sections 1-6 (http://is.byu.edu/site/courses/index.cfm?school=univ) offer between 2 and 5 hours of college credit (fee: $386-$965) and a certificate of completion. Non-credit “Continuing Education” versions (Music 71-76) offer a certificate of completion but no college credit ($150 per course). Visit elearn.byu.edu, and then click Catalog > Continuing Education Courses, and then find Organ Performance, Level 1, etc. Free versions are available for Levels 1 and 2 only, offering neither college credit nor a certificate. Visit elearn.byu.edu, and then click Catalog > Free Courses > Music 071 or Music 072.
The courses begin at Level 1 with basic organ skills for the pianist, and end at Level 6 at the point of readiness for the Colleague and Service Playing certificates of the American Guild of Organists. Visit https://www.agohq.org/certification/.
Students, in consultation with their instructors, enroll at the level that best suits their needs. Up to one year is allowed to pass the requirements for that level. Upon passing, students may enroll for the next level. In the free versions of Levels 1 and 2, students are welcome to pick and choose the topics that they wish.
Each level presents two types of instruction: 1) written assignments and exams on organ technique, organ registration, and music theory, and 2) played assignments on specified exercises, organ repertoire, hymn playing, sight-reading, transposition, and accompaniment. The written assignments are graded by computer. Students may pass off the played assignments with an approved evaluator or possibly with a member of the BYU organ faculty. Some may be submitted by video recording. To see a summary of the requirements for Levels 1-2, visit http://www.organ.byu.edu/orgcertlev1-2.pdf. For levels 3-6, visit http://www.organ.byu.edu/orgcertlev3-6.pdf.
Seek out a qualified organ instructor to meet with as often as needed to help you complete the course requirements. In addition, instruction customized for each level is offered during the BYU Organ Workshop (see below). Other instructional materials are available at http://organ.byu.edu/. The cost for the instructor and course materials is in addition to any course fees.
THE BYU ORGAN WORKSHOP (Offered by BYU Conferences and Workshops)
The BYU Organ Workshop offers four days of instruction in organ playing skills. Up to five classes are scheduled every hour to meet the needs of beginning to advanced organists. Whether you use your skills in the church service, for teaching, or for your own enjoyment, you will be taught and encouraged by more than a dozen seasoned instructors.
Supervised Practice Sessions (no fee) and Private Instruction ($25-40) provide an opportunity to play hymns or organ pieces for an instructor and receive personalized feedback, instruction, and motivation. Most organists prepare hymns or organ repertoire pieces from the six Independent Study organ levels (visit the web site for a detailed list of requirements at each level), but any form of organ performance preparation is acceptable.
Return home from this intensive workshop with the seeds of new skills and with the motivation to follow through with organ study throughout the year. Use this workshop as a springboard for lifelong learning in organ. If you wish, enroll in a BYU Independent Study organ course (see above) to help you along during the year. Return the following year and take workshop classes that will prepare you for the next level of study. The fee is $250-$290.
THE BYU YOUNG MUSICIANS SUMMERFESTIVAL (Offered by BYU Conferences and Workshops)
The BYU Young Musicians SummerFestival is a workshop for young instrumentalists and vocalists ages 14–18 who want to improve their musical skills and talents. It is a six-day musical experience with instruction in more than 20 instruments, including voice. Instruction is by School of Music faculty and guest instructors, and is offered at the beginning level for pianists who want to study organ, and also at the intermediate and advanced levels. Several BYU organ majors have began their organ studies with the SummerFestival.
Workshop Package: $440 (includes daily lunch), plus optional food and housing package $235 (housing and all meals). Counselors provide excellent supervision.