January 2012 organ lesson

Yesterday morning, I went to Toledo for an organ lesson with Michael Gartz at Trinity Episcopal Church. This was my first lesson at Trinity as St. Mark’s Episcopal recently merged with Trinity.  There are a few pictures from when the organ was installed in 2005 here. I had planned to take my camera along but in my anxiety of driving in snow (which turned out to not be problematic) I forgot it. I will take some pictures at my next lesson.

When we first arrived, I had the pleasure of listening to Michael practice a few of his pieces.  The organ is in the balcony so I walked around the nave while he played.  (In protestant churches this is usually considered the sanctuary). The sound of this organ is amazing.

I have heard it said that sometimes the organist has the worst seat in the house. This was apparent to me yesterday when I comparing how the organ sounded while standing in the balcony to hearing it while in the nave. The music sounded much more complete and how you would expect to hear a piece in the nave. In the balcony, the distance to the organ pipes is short so the full affect of the sound combining cannot be realized.

My actual lesson started off well. I did not need much coaching on the first piece as I am aware of when I slow down on harder parts and I’m still learning the end. From there, I needed much more help. Michael pointed out areas where I still need work and gave advice on techniques I can do at home. Overall, it was a great lesson and I am slowly making progress. I hope to be able to successfully play “O Come, All Ye Faithful” by next Christmas!

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Heidi Bender writes about her experiences of learning to play the organ. She started on the adventure in 2009.

She also writes on her website Tons of Thanks, which helps people write thank-you notes. Heidi is also a cat lady who writes at The Joy of Cats.

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