CSO Training Courses: Syllabus

The CSO offers practical and informal courses for pianists or organists wishing to build on their existing technique, suited more to the requirements of the participants than to a rigid timetable.

Using the Pedals
A source of mystery to many non-organists! Whether to use the toe or heel is explained, as well as whether to use the right foot or the left foot. Also, practice methods which will speed up your co-ordination between hands and feet.

Choosing the Correct Stops
The myriad of buttons, things to pull and push etc. can bewilder even the most curious. Here, the different families of stops are explained as well as which stops work well with each other.

Selection of Appropriate Voluntaries
There has been a massive amount of organ music written over the centuries and a great deal is still being written today. We now have a chance to learn how to make the most appropriate choice of music for both the occasion and also your technique, along with suggestions about which music books to buy.

Basic Hymn Playing
Much more difficult than many people believe. How to decide which notes to play with your hand and your feet (if you are using them) as well as suggestions for encouraging people to sing and keep in time. Also, how to get effective contrasts between verses.

Finger Technique and Substitution Explained
The organ does not have a sustaining pedal like the piano, but we learn here how to get the same smooth effect which, incidentally, is also very helpful in playing much other keyboard music.

Arrangement of Modern Hymns for Organ
Many newer hymns are written more with the piano in mind and can appear bewildering when trying to play on the organ. However, there are certain patterns to look for to make them easier to adapt and these are explained under this heading.

Does the collection take too long? Is the bride late? Has your piece finished too soon? There are numerous times when it is handy to make up music "on the spot" and an introduction to the art of improvisation is available to those on this course.

A Peek at the Pipes
Nothing too profound or lengthy here, but often a fundamental understanding of the way the organ produces musical sounds can help speed progress and resolve any problems which might occur on the way.

Help in Deciding Which Tutor to Use
Nowadays there is a number of excellent publications to help you learn the art of organ playing. However, this variety can in itself be confusing and we are now able to show you sample copies of a range of books and help you decide which will suit you the best should you wish to further your studies.


Each course generally consists of five sessions of about one-and-a-half hours each, roughly at monthly intervals, with a maximum of six participants per course. An effort is made to have sessions at different venues within the area, so as to add variety and interest As indicated above, each course is designed to reflect the needs of the participants on that particular course, so it is important for you to make known to your tutor what your special areas of interest are so as to gain maximum benefit.

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