Inspiring Organists of the Future

I decided to research “Who are the organists of the future?” following the publication of the Hubbard Report in January 2018, which stated just 4% of organists are under the age of 30. Initially I thought I might look at a project qualification through school, however the support I have received from the organ world has enabled it to become much more than that. With feedback from over 250 organists of all ages, many of whom provided additional supporting comments, several interviews conducted, further questions asked and much research carried out, it has become a project of passion (and too long for a school qualification!). The final title being:

Inspiring Organists of the Future: Does More Need to be Done?

To read the report, please just click on the title above and it will take you to a copy. I do hope you find my report, ideas and conclusions interesting. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

I’d value any feedback you may have.

 

18 comments

  1. Hi Anna
    This is a wonderful find. I am currently doing an HND music in Bishop Auckland College and I’m trying to find out about Equality and Diversity in the Church organ world, my question at the moment is “Why is the organ world predominantly held by the white male sex?” I also want to find out about age as well, hoping that I find answers

    Best Wishes

    Richard Ellis Hawley

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    • You could say the same about class, why is learning to play a musical instrument (not specifically the organ) exclusively for the middle classes? Why, if you are working class (as I am) and living in a very downtrodden working class town (as I do) does music have to begin and end at the X Factor and Capital FM, and it is always our class that has to bear the brunt of cuts to music services in schools that would help to break down and challenge these class barriers?

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      • That’s what is so important about the schemes which encourage young Organists. In many cases the learning is paid for by the scheme (otherwise heavily subsidised). There are many who are trying to get these schemes running across the country.

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  2. Hi Anna,
    I’m a young organist who is passionate about music.
    I was saddened to find that there is only one other young organist (male) in my local area! For such a beautiful instrument, I find it difficult to understand why more people our age don’t play.

    Would it be possible for you to tell me a bit about how you started your journey? I learn at the Church I attend, without support. I’m taught by the musical director there, who is such an amazing person – I wouldn’t be able to do it without her!

    Thank you for writing such an important and interesting report,
    Maisy

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    • Hi Maisy!
      How lovely to hear from you. I’d love to chat with you and exchange ideas and things.
      Could you please go to the contact me box and it’ll send me an e-mail to my Mum’s mail and then we can e-mail each other?
      Look forward to hearing from you.
      Anna x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This piece of research is exactly what was needed to validate the thoughts that people have had about the organ and its music. Looking forward to seeing it flourish and be used as the most valuable piece of research [possibly ever] conducted. A real inspiration, Anna. Thank you for your contributions.

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  4. Dear .Anna,
    Congratulations on producing such a splendid and informative report – the time given to the research indeed shows your dedication to the organ. Your report does highlight some very interesting observations. I am a village church organist and I agree with the comments that it one sometimes feel a little isolated. Your enthusiasm and love of the organ is marvellous and I hope that you never lose it. After 55 years of playing the organ still feel enthusiastic and like you I attended the Bloomsbury Organ Day and was inspired by Dame Gillian Weir who I have always very much admired.
    All the very best to you for your career and organ studies, and I have no doubt in my mind that you will make your goal as a DOM in a cathedral or other music establishment.

    Kind regards

    Richard Marsh

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  5. Thank you for your impressive report – it made really interesting reading. I was pleased that you picked up on the demise of ‘The Organist Entertains’ which I used to listen to. There was quite an outcry when it was axed as it was the only programme to cover a really broad spectrum of organ music. Did you ever consider incorporating the world of the theatre organ in your study? I guess it would not really have been feasible. However I do wonder whether the decline in the use of popular electronic organs in the home might have had some effect on the shortage of church organists. Probably it is the commitment to playing every week that is one of the main obstacles to recruitment rather than a lack of keyboard players.

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    • Thank you for your comments. Did you know there is a version of the organist encores online? I didn’t have the resources to do theatre organs too. Maybe one day when I’ve finished school!

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  6. Hi Anna!
    Congratulations – what an impressive achievement!! This looks worth its weight in gold. Ive only had time to skim read it as yet, but look forward to digesting it properly soon. I hope that you’ve been able to send a copy to the RCO (to Simon)? All the best, Dan

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  7. Dear Anna, what an outstanding piece of research! It’s sharp, focused and worthy of a great future organist, as I am sure you will be. I’m a rank amateur of 68, going on 90 myself, with access to an organ that far exceeds my deserts, but everything you have said rings so true, at every level. I shall follow your website with interest and if you do prepare posters that I can run off (therefore small format A4), I will certainly endeavour to put them up in Church.

    My best wishes: thank goodness we have someone of your own age who is so dynamic and inspiring to support the world of the most beautiful of instruments!

    Yours,

    David Fishwick

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