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
(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
#1294190 - 10/26/09 03:45 PM Non-Christian organist
spatial Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 96
Loc: USA
I am not a Christian, but I would like to work as a substitute organist. Is this something Christian churches would be upset about? Would they like to know this before hiring me?

Top
#1295116 - 10/27/09 09:21 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
Amant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 310
Loc: Southwest
No, not a long as you are a good organists, are respectful of the religious denomination, and are very knowledgeable about the specific liturgical service hymns and prayers.

Top
#1295175 - 10/27/09 11:46 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: Amant]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8903
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Good topic, spatial. (I don't post in this section, but saw it in the 'Recent Posts'.)

Good organists -any organists really- are getting scarce, and small churches often end up hiring a pianist willing to press a foot pedal or two. There's plenty of music published with those people in mind, a lot of it by Lorenz.

My humble (but experienced) advice: if you're not a Christian, why bring it up? If you can use the money, then by all means go for it. A church music committee isn't necessarily going to fish too deeply, not if they know what's good for them. A conservative church may find a non-Christian objectionable, but that is not for them to know.

I'm Anglican myself and prefer to substitute for C of E (Anglican) churches, but I'm on the substitute list for churches of other denominations and I simply don't go into details about my religious beliefs. OTOH, I've been trained as a church organist so it's less of an issue. Take me or leave me.

Personally I avoid calls from RC churches as (in the UK at least) they tend to have the worst organs (if any at all) and almost non-existent choral programs.

Hope this is of help to you.
_________________________
Jason

Top
#1295178 - 10/27/09 11:52 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: Amant]
Piano Peddler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 351
Most churches that hire professional musicians (organists and choir directors) base their hiring decisions on qualifications and ability, not personal religious convictions. Some denominations screen applicants to disqualify individuals that are not "like minded" in their beliefs, so as not to be incompatible with their members who participate in the music program. Like Amant wrote above, as long as you are not critical of their religion and keep your personal opinion to yourself, it probably would not be an issue. If you are of a different religious background (such as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.), but are familiar with the Christian liturgy and can perform all the music required, they should respect your beliefs.
_________________________
Craig Smith
aka "Piano Peddler"
Veteran industry professional
and keyboard musician

Top
#1295882 - 10/29/09 08:28 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: Piano Peddler]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3219
Loc: Virginia, USA
My church would not care in the case of a substitute; we'd rather not know.

If we were hiring a full time musician we'd ask. We wouldn't insist on the same denomination, but would probably want some compatibility.

Just a suggestion. Get your fee up front.

Sadly, churches tend to stiff their substitute or guest musicians. It is rarely intentional, I think, but far more common than you'd expect.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1303190 - 11/11/09 11:13 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: TimR]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
of course denominations each have their repertoire. if you are a good enough sight reader to totally wing it, you needn't worry (doubt if you'll even check back to this thread, it's been so long). i would pick a denomination (perhaps the largest in your metro, find the music they use and contact the churches,.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#1304920 - 11/13/09 03:59 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: apple*]
spatial Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 96
Loc: USA
Thanks for the advice everyone. It seems like I should just not bring it up. I didn't want to feel like I was deceiving anybody. Sight-reading is not really a problem for me, so I don't think I need to spend time learning repertoire. At least not at the level I'm playing, since most churches I've been in contact with are happy to have anyone at all.

Top
#1304939 - 11/13/09 04:09 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
A little off the subject, but maybe to put this in perspective: Some churches in these parts (NY area) are even taking on PASTORS of a different denomination! (Although in this case we're talking denominations, not non-Christian, but look..... it's about the pastor!)

I don't think you have to worry about it at all.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

Top
#1305577 - 11/14/09 07:45 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: Mark_C]
Big_Al Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 24
Loc: UK
As an Organist, albeit a young one, I can tell you that (at least in the UK) any kind of organisation which requires an Organ to be played will hire ANY Organist - they just seem to be in such short supply!

I am Christian, although I have played in all sorts of strange places including communes, private functions and even a Masonic lodge... About your position, a friend of mine who used to work as an Organist around the county and has now gone to study as an Organ Scholar at Cambridge, is not Christian, so I don't think you need to worry at all!

Good luck!
_________________________
Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor BWV 542, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: 3. Presto Agitato Op. 27/2
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor Op. 32, Ballade #1 in G Minor Op. 23/2
Liszt: La Campanella S.140/3, Grand Galop Chromatique S.219
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op. 23

Top
#1306228 - 11/15/09 06:45 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
off topic but have you ever seen "carnival of souls" a horror movie from 1962? It's about an organist who isn't very religious and takes a job for a church, and bad undead things happen. It was filmed at the saltair pavillion (which has been long ago torn down, but was abandoned even at the time).

At one point, the priest screams out "Profane! Profane!" to the organist. I don't think that'll happen to you.

Top
#1306236 - 11/15/09 07:00 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: edt]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
LOLOL!!!
It sounds like this is one movie that our guy definitely DOESN'T want to see. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

Top
#1365042 - 02/03/10 06:06 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: Mark_C]
RayE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
To answer your question, it is going to depend on the Church. I'm Lutheran and although we would prefer our organist / choir director to be Christian also it isn't a requirement. For a sub we wouldn't even ask. I've been in a Lutheran Church where the Organist was Jewish and it wasn't an issue. We would ask about your religious affiliation and beliefs when interviewing a full time organist, if the choice came down between a Christian and a non-Christian the Christian would almost always win out.

There are church's out there (I've found this a lot in congregational church's) that do believe that people leading their worship need to be spirit led, and will not hire non-believers to lead music in their congregations. My advice if asked be honest, if you're not asked Don't volunteer the information. If it is important to the church that is hiring you that you be a believer they will ask you.
_________________________
Retired Army reserve Bandsman who now plays for the Joy of Music!!

Top
#1371610 - 02/12/10 09:26 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: RayE]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
It is important to be familiar with the rites of the service.. to know what music is played when. I'm Catholic, we have perhaps 10 - 20 different Mass settings to play the service music. It's easy enough, but one needs to know the cues.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#1589536 - 01/03/11 10:59 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
Mike86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 92
I have a friend who plays at a synagogue on Saturday and an Anglican church on Sunday. Yes, there are some synagogues in the new and old worlds with pipe organs.

Top
#1604273 - 01/24/11 12:13 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
quantumm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 61
Loc: Canada
I know of someone who grew up RC, learned to play organ in a synagogue and is now organist and music director in an Episcopal church.

Top
#1615782 - 02/08/11 11:55 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
RickG1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 305
Loc: TX
I agree. Don't ask and don't tell. Organists are becoming scarce and it is sad. I am having a harder and harder time finding someone to sub for me and therefore can't take off very often. This summer, I may resort to a piano player.
_________________________
Mason-Hamlin "A"
Steinway "B"
Baldwin console

Top
#1720390 - 07/25/11 03:09 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: RickG1]
VillageOrganist3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: RickG1
I agree. Don't ask and don't tell. Organists are becoming scarce and it is sad. I am having a harder and harder time finding someone to sub for me and therefore can't take off very often. This summer, I may resort to a piano player.


Exactly! "Don't ask -- don't tell". No better advice.

I've played for many church traditions in my life. At the moment, a short traditional service in CofE, and a Unitarian Chapel. But I don't tell each about the other.

BTW Argarichfan (above) expresses it very well also.
_________________________

"Play Bach for me". (How Chopin ended his letters.)

Top
#1788523 - 11/14/11 01:16 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
treelogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Los Gatos, CA, USA
I'm a Jewish atheist. My high school music teacher (I grew up in Germany) was Catholic, and organist at a local church. I occasionally helped him with the organ (repairs, tuning), and was allowed to occasionally practice on it. A few times, when he got sick and couldn't find a suitable substitute, he'd call me. He would leave me detailed instructions, and sheet music of easy stuff. The chorales I had to improvise, but that's easy (for someone who has learned how to write 4-part harmony and has read lots of Bach). By the way, my pedal technique is barely good enough for a 1-4-5 bass, but that's better than having no organist at all. When in doubt, use the left hand on the lower manual instead of the pedal, it's safer.

On those days, I would always check in with the priest first thing, to make sure he knew that he didn't have the regular organist. The real problem for me wasn't so much the playing of the organ, but knowing the exact order of the service. I was always afraid that I would start playing at the wrong time, or forget to play at the right time. The priest (a kindly older gentleman) would explain the order to me beforehand, and give me clues by looking up at the organ balcony when he needed me to come in.

The other hard part is accompanying a chorus of complete amateurs of on average advanced age. I had been warned to start the chorales with an 8-bar intro in a good speedy tempo, because the congregation would start dragging. Then while they sing, I had to deliberately push the tempo, to prevent things from coming to a grinding halt. Man, those folks sang badly. For a chamber musician who has been accustomed to often play with a soloist (for example when I helped my violinist friends practice concertos), it was quite hard to have to lead instead of follow. Add to that the acoustics of a church (you don't hear the singing for a while, and when you play something the echo stays around), and it was a bit hair-raising, until you get the hang of it.

I never accepted any remuneration for this task; I only did it as a favor for my teacher (typically when he had the flu). I never mingled with the congregation afterwards, as I was clearly an outsider (both in age and in religion). The priest was grateful to have anyone; he knew about my rather different religion (being Jewish in Germany was quite unusual back then), and didn't make a big deal of it.

Still, I think it would be best to actually believe in the stuff that the church you're playing in is doing. I always felt very out of place.

P.S. Another weird story: Instead of military service, I became an ambulance driver and paramedic. Part of our training was to perform emergency baptisms ... if you are called to help a dying infant, then religious parents may ask for any person of authority to perform the baptism before the infant passes away, since unbaptized babies supposedly have real issues with going to heaven, according to more traditionalist views. And we were told that you don't have to be from the right denomination, nor religious, and even a Christian to perform a baptism "in extremis"; canon law allows any person of good intentions to do it. So I learned a few short phrases. Most fortunately, I never had to deal with either a dying infant or having to baptize anyone; surely it would have been a terrible experience.


Edited by treelogger (11/14/11 01:18 AM)

Top
#1788540 - 11/14/11 01:48 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: treelogger]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Treelogger, I enjoyed reading your post! Did you do social service instead of military service in Germany?
In catholic churches believe it or not, I think there are still areas where women are not allowed to go, very strictly speaking, that may include non christians playing the organ? But as mentioned, I wouldn't mention affiliation unless asked - and in any case most Christians are only too happy for the opportunity to get you into the fold!

Top
#1789030 - 11/14/11 07:54 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
treelogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Los Gatos, CA, USA
Indeed, I refused to do military service (super-easy, being Jewish means your request for non-military service is immediately honored). But then, instead of the usual civilian service (of 24 months continuously) I signed up for a program of evenings and weekends for 10 years. The idea was to do ambulance dispatch on evenings, and ambulance driving and teaching first-aid classes on weekends. All this came to naught after the military declared me to be unsuitable for service ... due to having braces! And if you can't serve in the armed forces, you are also not required to perform civilian service.

As far as restrictions on women in churches goes, by the 70s and 80s German catholic churches were quite liberal. I've not met a female church organist, but they do exist; there were certainly female acolytes and lectors (matter-of-fact, as an undergraduate I used to date a lady who was the chief acolyte of her parish, and sat on the parish board or council; didn't prevent her from dating unbelievers). On the other hand, her parish priest used to go shopping while holding hands with his "housekeeper", and used to squeeze her in public. He has since been promoted to Monsignore. The commandment of chastity was mostly honored in the breach.


Edited by treelogger (11/14/11 09:32 PM)

Top
#1915185 - 06/18/12 08:54 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: spatial]
backto_study_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 452
Loc: Australia
I would challenge any "non-Christian" to be able to effectively lead worship from the organ.

In my preparation for a service, I prayerfully sing through all the hymns, voluntaries (if they have words) and choral etc works. In this and other ways, I spend as much time preparing myself spiritually for the awesome task of leading a congregation to be able to worship God, as I do with the musical stuff which I believe can only flow out of the preceding preparation.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

Top
#1918508 - 06/25/12 12:17 PM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: backto_study_piano]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3219
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I would challenge any "non-Christian" to be able to effectively lead worship from the organ.

In my preparation for a service, I prayerfully sing through all the hymns, voluntaries (if they have words) and choral etc works. In this and other ways, I spend as much time preparing myself spiritually for the awesome task of leading a congregation to be able to worship God, as I do with the musical stuff which I believe can only flow out of the preceding preparation.


Indeed, I know people who think they can skip the musical part of preparation as long as they are spiritually ready.

Never worked for me!
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1935200 - 07/31/12 09:37 AM Re: Non-Christian organist [Re: backto_study_piano]
RayE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I would challenge any "non-Christian" to be able to effectively lead worship from the organ.

In my preparation for a service, I prayerfully sing through all the hymns, voluntaries (if they have words) and choral etc works. In this and other ways, I spend as much time preparing myself spiritually for the awesome task of leading a congregation to be able to worship God, as I do with the musical stuff which I believe can only flow out of the preceding preparation.

I'm glad your preparation ritual works for you, and knowing the hymn lyrics is imparative to selecting appropriate registrations. In my experience I've sang in church choirs with paid organists who where non-christians and they have done exemplary jobs. To imply that a non-christain organist can't effectively lead a worhip service isn't a subtantiatable claim, and my experience is the opposite. I agree that it is better if the Organist is a believer, but if you have a choice between no organist, and an organist who is proficient on his instrument but doesn't believe the same things you do, I would choose the proficient organist.
_________________________
Retired Army reserve Bandsman who now plays for the Joy of Music!!

Top

What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Forster vs August Forster
by eazydyonizy
Today at 03:43 AM
Grigory Sokolov releases album
by wimpiano
Today at 03:11 AM
Lindblad Steinway rebuilt pianos
by brahms
Today at 02:54 AM
Got the VPC1! Hooked up the Ivory! Played Brahms.
by TwoSnowflakes
Today at 02:13 AM
Pianos of Downton Abbey
by Almaviva
Yesterday at 11:58 PM
Who's Online
83 registered (barbaram, anotherscott, Al LaPorte, 36251, arX, 24 invisible), 1319 Guests and 15 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76620 Members
42 Forums
158437 Topics
2326700 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 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