National organ Festivals are a prime source of professional development, through exposure to world-class performers and artists, attendance at workshops delivered by recognised authorities, and of course exchanging ideas and experiences with fellow musicians. Attending a Festival can provide insiration, encouragement and the pleasure of sharing with like-minded people.
A major program offered by the College is the Travelling Clinicians Program, whereby each year professional musicians make visits to Centres to perform, teach and encourage. Fees and travel expenses are borne by the College, and the local Centre is able to mount a first-class organ concert, which might otherwise be beyond its reach. Visiting clinicians may also hold a masterclass or conduct a workshop at a Centre meeting.
Information is sent out each January to all Centres to explain their role, and how to apply to be included in this program. Our Travelling Clinicians for 2020-2021 will be Valerie Hall and Marnie Geisbrecht. Valerie and Marie both offer interesting and refreshing workshops and concert ideas. Click on their names for biographies, workshop topics and concert offerings.
Centres should apply by April 1st to arrange a visit in the following season. Click here for details of the 2020-2021 program. Centres should note with care their responsibilities when hosting a visit. The application form that can be completed electronically is available here.
To meet the need for skilled and experienced organ teachers, especially in remote areas, the College is offering a Distance Learning program. A student anywhere can study, both playing technique and theory, by means of current internet technology, such as Skype or Zoom or others. The student and teacher are connected via the internet, using a suitable device, such as iPad or smartphone, so there is a link both visual and auditory. The teacher is thus able to observe and listen to a student’s playing, and offer comments and demonstrations.
This method will be useful for study for college exams at any level, from anywhere in the country, and covering both written material and playing. It is open to members and non-members alike (though we hope non-members who enjoy the learning experience will join the College!). Teacher fees and payment method are negotiated directly between student and teacher.
CLick here for details about available teachers.
Centres may choose to run an Outreach program, and five are suggested. Pedals, Pipes and Pizza is aimed at the Introductory level, and has attracted good numbers of school students for a half-day program explaining the mysteries of pipe organs. They are fairly easy to organise and a good way of reaching into the wider community.
A Pipe Organ Workshop (POW!) is for young organists, usually between 12 and 18. It may run for several days in school vacation time and attracts students who have some keyboard skills and are intrigued by the organ. It can run for up to a week and requires considerable organisation and planning, as its desirable to give each student practice time daily. The rewards can be high, as some POW attendees go on to become serious organists.
Tools and Techniques is for more experienced players. It may consist of a number of three-hour sessions, often on a given evening. Topics are chosen to be helpful to the attendees, most of whom are active organists, or pianists wanting to learn how to become organists. Subjects may include hymn playing, basic improvisation, choir conducting, relations with clergy, and more.
Choral Thursday is an event which draws in as many choirs as possible from the area. It aims to give choristers the chance to sing with a large group in SATB and to learn some new music. It also promotes the RCCO and raises the college profile in the community.
Choral Clinic for Junior Choirs is an indoor camp for young singers, ranging in age from 8 to 18. It typically runs for a half day and enriches the music experience of all the participants. By drawing in a number of junior church choirs, it raises the college profile in the community.
Details for each of these five programs, and guides to their success can be found under Resources for Centres.
Guides may be downloaded free, or ordered in hard copy from the RCCO Store ($6 handling charge.)
Information about a Centre's activities are crucial to professional development. Recitals and concerts offer both enjoyment and instruction, and these as well as other events are publicised to Centre members, often via a newsletter. Instead, or in addition, there may be an active website and Facebook account for the Centre, all of which sources of inormation aid musical knowledge and a sense of community. Newsletters vary widely in their frequency and depth, and are distributed free of charge to RCCO members attached to the Centre.