Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1189873 - 04/29/09 02:12 PM Can a pianist play an organ?
rabu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/29/09
Posts: 3
I am a piano teacher who knows little about organs. I recently had a prospective student's mom ask about piano lessons for her daughter who wants to play the organ (they already have an organ at home). Does this preschool girl need to decide on either piano or organ and then go to a teacher who plays that actual instrument? Or would she be able to learn and practice piano music, taught to her from a piano teacher, on her organ? If she decides on piano lessons now what (if any) problems would she experience in switching to the organ later?

Top
#1190758 - 04/30/09 05:14 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: rabu]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
I don't see how she would be able to reach the pedals, so I would guess piano is a better choice. She could try organ when she is older.
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

Top
#1191113 - 05/01/09 08:43 AM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Hrodulf]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
When I asked a good organist for lessons, she told me to come back after I'd made some progress on piano. Apparently it is the common wisdom that organ skills are built on piano skills.

So that's what I'm doing. Still hope to get to the organ someday. Though at my age the clock is ticking <grin>.

I don't know if the common wisdom is true, but every good organist I know started on piano, and the ones I've talked to have all recommended doing that.

Organ keyboards are unweighted and if that is her only practice instrument, I think she'll have trouble with the piano lessons.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1191119 - 05/01/09 09:05 AM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: TimR]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
In Japan it's very common to start directly on Organ (Yamaha Electone). Frankly, there are substantial differences between organ and piano style playing:

- There is no sustain pedal, so organists need to learn how to do legato and fingering without pedals.
- Piano is played somewhat percussively, while organ keys should be pressed smoothly and evenly.
- piano is velocity sensitive and has one keyboard. Organs are not velocity sensitive and usually have several manuals.
- stops and registrations (and smoothly changing them) need to be studied.
- Of course, the pedalboard needs to be learned (along with reading three staves of music!)
- Loud pedals and foot pistons also require practice.
- I dislike rhythem and auto accompinament, but, on electone-type organs that have them, they require some study.

So piano is a good way to get the basic keyboard skills for organ, but a good pianist is not necessarily able to play organ half-way decently. He will probably need to "un-learn" some bad habits which work well on piano but not on organ.

Top
#1191175 - 05/01/09 11:17 AM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Geoffk]
BearLake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 144
Loc: SE Idaho
Before I took formal lessons on the organ, I did a fair amount of self-training on church organs. When I introduced myself to my organ teacher, I said that I probably developed some playing habits that need to be corrected.

As I was learning, the legato fingering stands out the most. I learned techniques that would seem odd to use on the piano. I frequently used the thumb to slide to adjacent keys and incorporate finger substitutions on the keys. Fingering the notes became paramount to learning each piece. I enjoyed the challenge of exploring different ways to find my optimal fingering pattern.

One of my attractions to Bosendorfer pianos was the additional keys on the larger pianos that added a rich bass to the piano tone, even though these keys weren't actually played. These bass strings would vibrate with the sustain pedal. While the key-touch lacks the dynamics of the piano, the organ compensates with the crescendo, swell and bass pedals so the feet become a very active in both adding a rich bass to the music and mood to the sound.

Top
#1198190 - 05/12/09 10:03 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: BearLake]
Jim Berna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Fayette City,PA. 15438
I started on the organ as a teenager, I really enjoyed it and then in my later teens I started piano! Today I prefer piano over organ! To start a young child, use piano first! Most kids have trouble with the pedals where a piano student who becomes proficient on the left hand will really have no problems with the organ bass pedals! The only thing is that music expression on organ is a great bit different than piano, Give piano about a year and a half and then go to both instruments!
_________________________
Nothin like a Good Piano!

Jim Berna
Tuner-Technician

Top
#1198200 - 05/12/09 10:26 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Jim Berna]
Christopher Sedlak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 61
Loc: Indiana
Rabu,

Much depends on what type of organ. Just saying "organ" is generic. We could be talking a Lowrey Home organ, or maybe a pipe organ in a church with an AGO pedal board (or maybe a European one), perhaps a Hammond with drawbars, or even a pump organ. Each is going to require a special technique. (Sometimes the organ you have won't work for the type of music you want to play - such as Bach on B3 with full Leslie <g>) And in the case of a "church" organ, getting a model for use in the home will probably cost more than most starter pianos, and will most definitely take up more room (unless you are planning buying a 6' grand). Finding a competent teacher for the type of organ you want to learn to play can be a challenge as well, but not so much for the piano.

I say these things not to discourage, but to add a dose of realism. I'm actually an organist and choirmaster by trade. I presently play on a little 6 rank tracker organ built in 1915 as well as a Galanti digital at the two churches I work at. The other posters are correct, the fingering is different oftentimes because you do not have the sustain pedal for legato passages. There's also the three staves to read and plenty of multitasking with registrations, pistons, expression pedals, etc. But there's also plenty of manual only baroque music available that won't require the pedal board.

My suggestion is to play piano for at least 2-3 years before considering the organ so you understand at least the basics of playing a keyboard instrument. Then, if there is still interest, set out to find a competent teacher for the type of organ you wish to learn. They should be able to assist in acquiring an appropriate instrument if need be, or even setting practice times at area churches.

Christopher
_________________________
Composer & Solo Piano Artist
www.christophersedlak.com

(also offering piano instruction and web development services)


Top
#1201589 - 05/18/09 03:34 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Christopher Sedlak]
ginger_vitys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Nashville TN
Some pianists wishing to play organ will discover that weight of the arm piano technique is antithetical to organ technique. There may be a tendency to develop muscle tension. Relaxation is key.
_________________________
If you think education's expensive, try ignorance.

Top
#1205460 - 05/25/09 12:36 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: ginger_vitys]
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
I began organ lessons at 18, after many years of piano. It was frustrating not being able to play pedals as well as the manual keyboards, but it got better with practice. Now I play both instruments regularly and have organ students.

Without a doubt, a solid piano background is a prerequisite for classical organ studies. There are more similarities than dissimilarities between these instruments. A student with a solid piano technique can thus focus on the issues unique to the organ and become adept with them.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: with the organ the release is just as important as the attack. This concept sometimes seems odd to piano students when they begin organ lessons.

Top
#1209040 - 05/31/09 04:20 AM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: whippen boy]
PhilCwm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/22/09
Posts: 12
I am learning Piano at the moment, learned organ in my teens.
I wish I'd learned piano first.

Regarding the cost of organs its very simple to buy two MIDI controllers, one weighted and one unweighted perhaps for less than £100 each on e-bay for instance and a one octave MIDI pedal board can be obtained for £250 new. There are so many excellent software emulations of any kind of Organ you can think of, some of these are even free (Organized Trio for instance you only need a MIDI cable to give this a try or a USB cable if your current keyboard supports this, just unplug your printer and give it a whirl) or a sampler can be used, I got mine (Proteus X) free with my E-mu soundcard.

Top
#1209857 - 06/01/09 04:03 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: PhilCwm]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: PhilCwm

Regarding the cost of organs its very simple to buy two MIDI controllers, one weighted and one unweighted perhaps for less than £100


a one octave MIDI pedal board can be obtained for £250 new.

There are so many excellent software emulations of any kind of Organ you can think of, some of these are even free (


I think you underestimate the cost.

I have several unweighted MIDI keyboards at about $50 US.

But an AGO style MIDI pedalboard will run you $3500.

I haven't found that many software emulations. There is Hauptwerk, very good but expensive and demanding of processor power; Miditizer, which works much better on my minimal laptop, but is a theater organ and sounds like it; MyOrgan, which I heard has just disappeared; and jOrgan, which I didn't get to work.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1212284 - 06/05/09 01:55 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: TimR]
Dr. J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/09
Posts: 134
Loc: Oregon
As a player and teacher of both the piano and the organ I too would strongly recommend starting children on the piano to gain some understanding of music concepts and music reading skill first. Once concepts and technique is in place the transition to the organ with its necessary multi-tasking and reading of three staves is easier and more rewarding.

Dr. J - The More You Play the Better Your day
_________________________
Dr. Jordan is a professional piano teacher and performer,
offering creative online piano tutorials to adult beginners.

Dr. Js blog http://playpianotodaywithdrj.wordpress.com/

Top
#1213702 - 06/07/09 11:45 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Dr. J]
EightyEightFingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Ontario, Canada
If the daughter really wants to play the organ (rather than the Mom wanting the daughter to play), then she should be exposed to the instrument as early as possible.

As BearLake points out, bad habits are hard to break. Let's get her on the bench and learning age appropriate lessons at the console.

The problem with organs (the serious, wind-powered, pipe variety) is they tend to be locked up tightly when not in use and the most persnickety people are entrusted with the keys. This was a tremendous problem for me when I was first learning to play. I had a long search for someone who'd allow me access to their instrument. But once I did, what a motivation to continue piano studies. They call it the King of Instruments for a reason.

Yes, start on the piano. Yes, continue with the piano technique and study. It will make her a stronger, and better organist. But don't keep the organ console out-of-reach of a young musician who just might be inspired by the experience of playing it.

Top
#1235951 - 07/23/09 01:20 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: whippen boy]
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: whippen boy
I began organ lessons at 18, after many years of piano. It was frustrating not being able to play pedals as well as the manual keyboards, but it got better with practice. Now I play both instruments regularly and have organ students.

Without a doubt, a solid piano background is a prerequisite for classical organ studies. There are more similarities than dissimilarities between these instruments. A student with a solid piano technique can thus focus on the issues unique to the organ and become adept with them.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: with the organ the release is just as important as the attack. This concept sometimes seems odd to piano students when they begin organ lessons.


Hi John,

I'll be taking some organ classes at UMASS Lowell in the fall. A year or so ago I had the opportunity to try a real organ for the first time. This is a 1928 Aeolian Skinner Op.99 instrument located at the Holy Trinity here in Haverhill.It was rebuilt by C.B. Fiske in the 1990s for the church after they aquired from the now moribund Bradford College. Up to this time, I wasn't impressed with the organ because any intrument I had heard previously sounded obnoxious to me. This instrument on the other hand was different and now I'm hooked. This organ is extremely beautiful and very musical. I was quite impressed with the instrument and would like to play it more in the future. wink

The organist there let me try the instrument said I had the knack for it and will do well. This is probably because of the harpishcord lessons I had many years ago and the fact that I play both the harpsichord and clavichord. As you know both instruments require finger sliding and substition techniques for legato because there are no pedals. This technique, by the way also works well on the piano for when the pedal doesn't work due to mushing, but a good strong finger legato is the only way to accomplish it. I'm sure you do the same since you play both instruments.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

Top
#1235966 - 07/23/09 01:50 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: John Citron]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Can a pianist play an organ? Answer: Yes.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

Top
#1243640 - 08/04/09 09:21 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: John Citron]
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
[off-topic]

Originally Posted By: John Citron

Hi John,

I'll be taking some organ classes at UMASS Lowell in the fall. A year or so ago I had the opportunity to try a real organ for the first time. This is a 1928 Aeolian Skinner Op.99 instrument located at the Holy Trinity here in Haverhill.


Hi John,

I don't check this forum too frequently but stopped to look at it today; I'm so glad to hear you will be studying the organ!

I'm wondering if the organ in question is actually an E.M. Skinner, op. 853 from 1931? My sources don't show an Op.99, unless that is Fisk's opus number.

Original Skinner organs are rare indeed, and they have a unique sound. They may not be everyone's cup of tea (especially for people who prefer early music) but are quite wonderful for other types of music. I'm not surprised you became hooked after playing it!

When you say you are taking an organ class, does this mean there are many students or are you getting some private lessons?

I hope you keep us posted on your progress!

John

Top
#1245858 - 08/08/09 06:26 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: whippen boy]
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: whippen boy
[off-topic]

Originally Posted By: John Citron

Hi John,

I'll be taking some organ classes at UMASS Lowell in the fall. A year or so ago I had the opportunity to try a real organ for the first time. This is a 1928 Aeolian Skinner Op.99 instrument located at the Holy Trinity here in Haverhill.


Hi John,

I don't check this forum too frequently but stopped to look at it today; I'm so glad to hear you will be studying the organ!

I'm wondering if the organ in question is actually an E.M. Skinner, op. 853 from 1931? My sources don't show an Op.99, unless that is Fisk's opus number.

Original Skinner organs are rare indeed, and they have a unique sound. They may not be everyone's cup of tea (especially for people who prefer early music) but are quite wonderful for other types of music. I'm not surprised you became hooked after playing it!

When you say you are taking an organ class, does this mean there are many students or are you getting some private lessons?

I hope you keep us posted on your progress!

John


Hi John,

I will keep everyone posted. I hope to actually take lessons. I've also emailed the former organist at this church. She has left and I hope it's only because she wants a change.

Here's a copy right off the churches website regarding a previous recital.

Aeolian-Skinner organ, Opus 998, 1940. Tonal design by G. Donald Harrison. This instrument was rebuilt by CB Fiske in Gloucester, MA. You might be correct in the renumbering of the instrument.

This is a really great instrument and to my suprise very sweet sounding compared to other similar instruments, and is an inspiration for me to learn. Who knows... I might end up with a Roland C-330 in my house along with my clavichord, virginal, Roland C-30 and piano. wink

John
_________________________
Nothing.

Top
#1247041 - 08/11/09 12:28 AM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: John Citron]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 293
Loc: New York City!
Can a pianist play the organ?

Franz Liszt had an organ in his studio upon which he composed this organ works. Great pianists who also became great organists include Franck and Saint-Saens.

I began studying the pipe organ at 17, only after I had already worked my way through Chopin etudes, Beethoven sonatas, etc., and I found the technique I had already acquired at the piano gave me a huge advantage when tackling the larger works of Bach and Reger. I honestly don't know how an organist can give a virtuoso performance of the larger words of Dupre or Vierne without a substantial foundation in piano technique (as both those composers were also pianists).

Most pianists new to the organ are immediately frustrated by the absence of the sustain-pedal, that lack of 'touch' response or dynamic control by hands alone, and of course, the daunting prospect of playing the pedal board (the keyboard played by the feet). Pianists too often do not account for how carefully they release a key up. Without the sustain pedal, and the organs capacity to sound a note indefinitely, the shutting off of air to the pipe (by raising back up the manual key) is as critical as when the key is initially pressed downward.

The pipe organ is a magnificent art form, but it is a monster in its own right: not only does it require a rather thorough revision of what one thought keyboard technique should be, it requires a different kind of listening. In a large church there is usually a delay between when the keyboard is struck and the time when the sound of the pipe reaches the ear, this can be a considerable delay if the main body of the pipework is 70 feet away. When playing in St. John the Divine at NYC, the State Trumpet is a full city block away from the rest of the organ with about a 1.5 second delay. Coordinating such acoustic variances takes years to master...

Jonathan
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

Top
#1249170 - 08/14/09 02:09 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
L0ZiiE Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/09
Posts: 3
Loc: England
Over the past year I have taught myself to play the piano and have performed many solos. Through this I gained many habits that need to be corrected. At this time I also gained an intrest in the organ. (Being 14) I went to my music teacher asking who I would have to ask about learning to play the organ and he is now giving me lessons after school.

Because I don't have access to the organ very often (except maybe a few days after school during term time) he asks me to learn the manuals on piano (or organ when I get chance) so that I can add the pedals to it.

I have not been having any trouble switching from one to the other at all. It is just a case of paying attention to the pedals a bit more as there are definately more than a piano and it is best not to look at your feet. Therefore you have to be able to feel your way around the pedals rather quickly with your feet.

You also have to realise that when a note is played the volume of the sound does not decrease but stays consistent whilst being held down (unlike a piano).

As has been said before, a preschool child would probably struggle with reaching the pedals. However, as soon as the child can it is good to start because it is easier to learn when you are younger (so I have been told).


Hope this helps!

Top
#1297382 - 10/31/09 07:14 PM Re: Can a pianist play an organ? [Re: TimR]
Dew643 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/28/09
Posts: 13
Originally Posted By: TimR
When I asked a good organist for lessons, she told me to come back after I'd made some progress on piano. Apparently it is the common wisdom that organ skills are built on piano skills.

So that's what I'm doing. Still hope to get to the organ someday. Though at my age the clock is ticking <grin>.

I don't know if the common wisdom is true, but every good organist I know started on piano, and the ones I've talked to have all recommended doing that.

Organ keyboards are unweighted and if that is her only practice instrument, I think she'll have trouble with the piano lessons.


Wished I had read this before posting my thread about if it was possible to start right out on organ. No offense toward
anyone on the organ forums,but maybe I should go over to the piano forums with my question. Maybe some of the digital pianos would be worth a look.

Top

What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
128 registered (anotherscott, 36251, AndrewJCW, 35 invisible), 1392 Guests and 14 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76001 Members
42 Forums
157157 Topics
2308150 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
High pitched sound from Yamaha Clavinova PF P-100
by Shiverca
5 minutes 34 seconds ago
Rusty strings- a silly question?
by PhilipInChina
Today at 08:59 AM
Yamaha "reconditioned in Japan"
by NanatoFour
Today at 08:44 AM
New start - wish me good luck:)
by FarmGirl
Yesterday at 11:21 PM
Automatic Piano Players...
by tksler
Yesterday at 10:33 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission