INSTRUCTIONS TO THE BYU GRADUATE STUDENT ORGAN MENTOR

 

THE BYU INDEPENDENT STUDY ORGAN COURSES FOR PERSONAL ENRICHMENT

 

The organ courses for Personal Enrichment in the BYU Independent Study program are non-credit courses designed to provide motivation, direction, and instruction for organists to improve their skills in specific areas: organ technique, organ repertoire, hymn playing, music theory, organ registration, and sight-reading (college-credit versions are also available).  You have been selected by the BYU organ faculty to serve as a mentor to one of these organists through three played assignments.  In all your dealings with each organist, please remember the following:

  • First and foremost, please remain positive—MOTIVATE the student to continue organ study!
  • In all your direction and instruction, please remain positive—MOTIVATE!
  • As you hold to high standards of achievement, please remain positive—MOTIVATE!
  • In addition to pointing out areas for improvement, please help organists learn how to improve—how to practice.
  • Please make every effort to return feedback within seven days

 

There are two tracks for each course: a Self Study track, and a Certification track.

 

The Self Study track is designed to make limited or no use of BYU mentors, faculty, or Independent Study resources.

 

The Certification track offers a certificate of completion from the BYU organ faculty, which requires that we assure that high standards are being reached by the certifying student.  The Certification track makes greater use of the mentor in checking those standards and in providing valuable feedback to the student and the organ faculty.

 

In either track, EVALUATORS (and you may serve as the evaluator) are paid directly by the student on a per-item basis, as described below. MENTORS (certification track only) are paid by the School of Music.

 

PLAYED ASSIGNMENTS

 

Each course includes three played assignments. Beginning with played assignment 1, students prepare by practicing the organ technique, organ repertoire, hymns, and sight-reading items required for that assignment.  (Note: Speedback lessons 1 and 2 should be completed during this same time.)  This process usually requires several weeks or months.

 

The simplest way to complete the assignments is as follows:  Early in the process, the student makes a copy of the played assignment evaluation forms included with the course instructions and gives them to the teacher.

The student’s teacher keeps a record of the requirements as the student completes them during lessons.

 

In the Self Study track, the teacher returns each form to the organist as it is completed, and the mentor is not involved.

 

In the Certification track, after each assignment is complete, the teacher should return a copy of the form by mail, or a summary of his or her evaluation by email to the BYU graduate student mentor.  The mentor will review this evaluation and report to Dr. Don Cook (the BYU organ faculty member) via email.  There is no fee paid to the mentor for this type of evaluation and communication.  Dr. Cook will then post the credit to the BYU Independent Study grade book.

 

There are two other ways to complete the played assignments: playing for an evaluator, and sending a video recording to BYU.  The mentor, who can also serve as an evaluator, is paid a fee directly by the student or by the School of Music. Instructions to the student are as follows:

PLAYING FOR AN EVALUATOR

 

SELF STUDY TRACK

 

A student can complete the played assignments in three separate sessions with a qualified evaluator (and, as a mentor, you may serve as a qualified evaluator).  In choosing a qualified evaluator for played assignments, the student finds an organist with formal training in the fundamentals of classical organ technique.  Formal training means regular and ongoing organ (not piano) lessons or classes with a qualified organ (not piano) teacher.  Even though an organist may have had years of experience playing the organ, without at least several months of serious organ training he or she will not be able to evaluate the student’s playing properly.

 

When he or she is ready to pass off a played assignment, the student makes arrangements to play it for the evaluator.  In addition to setting the appointment, it is appropriate to discuss a fee with the evaluator.  If he or she is working with the student on a church service basis, a fee may not be required.  The student should, however, offer to pay the evaluator his or her standard fee. Although fees vary widely, an hourly rate of $30 is often appropriate.  This fee should be paid directly to the evaluator at the conclusion of the session, which usually requires between sixty and ninety minutes.  (Note: Such “paid lessons” are permitted on LDS church premises when there is no reasonable alternative, as long as one of the parties involved is a member of the local church unit.)

 

On or before the day of the appointment, the student makes a copy of the appropriate played assignment evaluation form and gives it to the evaluator.  After the assignment is complete, a verbal summary with the student would be appropriate, and the evaluator should then return the form to the student.  Applying this feedback should serve as a valuable guide as the student continues organ study.

 

CERTIFICATION TRACK

 

OPTION 1: EVALUATOR SENDS RESULTS TO MENTOR (mentor may serve as both evaluator and mentor).

A student completes the played assignments in three separate sessions with a qualified evaluator approved by the BYU organ faculty.  First, the student checks the list of approved evaluators.  If he wishes to work with someone whose name does not yet appear on that list, he can propose a qualified evaluator for the played assignments as follows:

He finds an organist with formal training in the fundamentals of classical organ technique.  Formal training means regular and ongoing organ (not piano) lessons or classes with a qualified organ (not piano) teacher.  Even though an organist may have had years of experience playing the organ, without at least several months of serious organ training he or she will not be able to evaluate the student’s playing properly.  At least two weeks prior to the appointment, he submits to his BYU mentor the name, mailing address, email address, phone number, and a brief description of his proposed evaluator’s organ training, and if approved (by both the mentor and Dr. Cook via email), he or she will be included on an internet list of qualified evaluators.

 

When he or she is ready to pass off a played assignment, the student makes arrangements to play it for the evaluator.  In addition to setting the appointment, it is appropriate to discuss a fee with the evaluator.  If he or she is working with the student on a church service basis, a fee may not be required.  The student should, however, offer to pay the evaluator his or her standard fee. Although fees vary widely, an hourly rate of $30 is often appropriate.  This fee should be paid directly to the evaluator at the conclusion of the session, which usually requires between sixty and ninety minutes.  (Note: Such “paid lessons” are permitted on LDS church premises when there is no reasonable alternative, as long as one of the parties involved is a member of the local church unit.)

 

On or before the day of the appointment, the student makes a copy of the appropriate played assignment evaluation form and gives it to the evaluator.  After the assignment is complete, a verbal summary with the student would be appropriate.  The evaluator should then return either a copy of the form by mail, or a summary of his or her evaluation by email to the mentor (see address on the evaluation form).  The mentor will review this evaluation and see that the student receives credit on the BYU Independent Study grade book by forwarding an email to Dr. Cook.  Applying this feedback should serve as a valuable guide as the student continues organ study.

 

OPTION 2: STUDENT SENDS VIDEO RECORDING DIRECTLY TO MENTOR.

As an alternative, the student can make a video recording of the played assignment (VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV, DVD) and send it for evaluation by a BYU graduate organ student mentor.  He or she sends the recording, the appropriate Played Assignment Evaluation Form (top section completed) with a check for $20 made out to BYU School of Music and addressed to:

Played Organ Assignment
c/o Dr. Don Cook
C-550 HFAC, BYU
Provo, UT 84602

The student should observe the following in making the video recording:

  • Include a copy of the appropriate played assignment evaluation form with the recording.
  • State your name and email address in the recording and on the evaluation form.
  • Be sure to follow the directions for each item on the assignment carefully and completely.
  • For manual-only playing, position the camera for a good view of the upper body and hands.
  • For pedal playing, position the camera for a good view of the feet.
  • If you wish to repeat a portion, record over the undesirable “take.”
  • The recording will not be returned.

The student should receive an evaluation through email within approximately two weeks from the mentor. Applying this feedback should serve as a valuable guide as the student continues organ study. He or she will see that you receive credit on the BYU Independent Study grade book.

 

There is more information on the Organ Study at BYU website (www.organ.byu.edu). Please feel free to direct any questions to Dr. Don Cook (doncook@byu.edu, 801-422-3260)

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