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3 online helps for new ward organists

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(Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom.)

(Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

Imagine this: You can play the piano and you are comfortable accompanying groups in quorum or auxiliary meetings, but you’ve never learned to play the organ. The ward organist will be out of town next week and has asked you to fill in during sacrament meeting. What do you do?

Answer: Use your resources at LDS.org. The Church has a few available for just such a situation. Whether you only have a few days to cram on the basics or you want to set a New Year’s Resolution to learn the organ well, these resources are a great place to start.

1. “The New LDS Organist”

The New LDS Organist” is a free, 12-lesson course produced by students and professors at BYU. The course is designed for pianists and aims to help them adapt their skills to the organ as quickly as possible. Certain lessons can be skipped if a pianist needs to begin playing in sacrament meeting very soon.

The lessons are available as podcasts through iTunes, with just over four hours of total instruction. The material is also available in other formats if needed.

2. “Manual-Only Hymns for Organ”

This collection of simplified hymns includes some introductory material that will be helpful for the beginning organist. The simplified hymns have three-part harmonies rather than the official hymnbook’s four. They also include helpful fingering specifically for the organ and are meant to be played without pedals. Use the “Manual-Only Hymns for Organ” here.

3. “Transformations”

This helpful addition to “Manual-Only Hymns for Organ” provides additional music that can convert the simplified hymns into preludes and postludes. “Transformations” includes introductions and codas for each hymn included in its companion book.

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