Organ tuition for beginners without previous keyboard skills: a critical evaluation of four published methods against the background of initial piano tuition and general organ pedagogy

Steyl, Marian (2018-03)

Thesis (MMus)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There exists a general opinion that anyone who wishes to start with organ lessons first has to reach a certain level of competency in piano playing. This viewpoint is confirmed by the majority of sources which focus on initial organ tuition. The current study investigates the characteristics of the organ and the technique required for expressive playing in an attempt to highlight the unique nature of the instrument. The result of this investigation emphasises that the aspects common to playing piano and playing organ are mostly limited to only certain aspects of keyboard technique, or manual technique in the case of the organ. For this reason, piano tuition as a prerequisite for organ tuition may well be questioned. A result of the viewpoint that only learners with established keyboard skills may start with organ lessons is that suitable methods available for prospective learners without keyboard skills are limited. The main objective of this study is to determine whether the methods available are comprehensive enough for learners who have no keyboard skills. The theories and principles of organ pedagogues and organists as well as four widely-used beginners’ methods for learners with keyboard proficiency are examined to define the fundamental principles of organ playing. Furthermore, the writings of piano pedagogues are consulted for the purpose of acknowledging the work done in the field of learning styles and teaching strategies as well as integrating the development of instrumental (technical) skills and musicianship. Four available methods for organ beginners without keyboard skills are evaluated against the backdrop of this survey of pedagogical material, culminating in a confirmation that these limited available resources for such students also have limits.

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