Learning during lockdown : 14 Beethoven and the organ

September 23, 2020

Organists really do have something to shout about regarding Beethoven after all, says Richard Brasier, in a new film that is the RCO's contribution to the celebrations around the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth this year.  In Learning during Lockdown this month we look at Beethoven's relationship with the organ, and at the wider legacy of organ music from the Classical period.  We also note how two organists took a major role in shaping the content of the live music this year's COVID-constricted BBC Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall.

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Learning during lockdown : 13 harmony from beginner to FRCO…and live looping

August 27, 2020

We are recording our current series of live webinars on harmony for the RCO examination written papers, so they can be viewed on iRCO.  This month's Learning during Lockdown suggests how you could use these, and other resources, to start or continue your studies of harmony, depending on your existing knowledge.   We also introduce live looping, an improvisatory technique from the world of electronic music, which can be creatively applied to the organ.

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Learning during lockdown: 12 resources for organ-only church services

July 30, 2020

Current guidance from the Church of England allows for the organ to be played for communal church services, which recommenced earlier this month.  However there can be no group singing or chanting while worshippers are present, though a single singer or cantor is permissible.  This month's Learning during Lockdown explores options for suitable organ music when the staples of the organist's repertoire—hymns, mass settings, and choral accompaniment— are excluded.

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Hands across the pond – the new AGO/RCO affiliation

July 16, 2020

The College has just announced a new reciprocal agreement with colleagues in the American Guild of Organists, which allows members of either organisation to join the other as affiliate members, and benefit from a range of perks.  We look at the AGO and what it can offer RCO Members, and at other American resources that might be of interest.

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Learning during lockdown : 11 back to the pedalboard

June 25, 2020

As of last week, organists within the Church of England were allowed access to church buildings again, for organ practice, under new government guidance.  So we hope it's not too optimistic to focus this week on pedalling technique, for organists who may be moving back to a pedalboard for the first time in many months; with advice on how to start playing again, and pedals-only music.

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Learning during lockdown : 10 keyboard harmony, and other keyboards

June 9, 2020

This week's Learning during Lockdown introduces new films on iRCO, which, coupled with recordings of recent webinars, form an introduction to practical harmony for the beginner, and a course in keyboard harmony and the structure of Bach chorales for RCO examination students.  During lockdown many organists have been taking to keyboard instruments other than the organ: we explore the results, and the music they've chosen to play.

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Learning during lockdown : 9 creating online services and virtual choirs

May 28, 2020

Not all cathedral choirs are silent and choir leaders furloughed. We look at how some cathedrals and choral societies are finding ways to keep singers engaged with meaningful activities without a huge investment in equipment or new music, and investigate the practical issues around creating virtual choirs.

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Learning during lockdown : 8 performance and competition

May 14, 2020

It may seem slightly perverse to be looking performance skills in Learning during Lockdown, when the coronavirus pandemic currently preventing most musicians from performing at all.  But lockdown is possibly an opportunity to step back and reflect on how we felt about our own performances in the past, and how they could improve.  iRCO has resources on performance techniques, and we look at competitions for organists that are still taking place in the next year.

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Learning during lockdown : 7 starting, and diversifying, your career

May 7, 2020

Regular lessons may have fallen into abeyance during lockdown, and keeping up impetus and engagement in solitude can be difficult even for the best of us, without some sort of structure.  This week's Learning during Lockdown looks at ways in which beginner and developing organists can gain inspiration and keep engaged through the structure of the RCO's early qualifications, up to CRCO.  Established organists might like to use the enforced thinking time of lockdown to imagine how they could diversify their careers, and we have some suggestions.

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