When our new pipe organ is installed in 2019, we want to use it as fully as an enhancement to our liturgy, an asset to the community, and an instrument for teaching and learning. For the latter of these, we aim to set up one or more organ scholarships aimed at (but not necessarily limited to) youngsters within the parish.
What is an organ scholarship?
An organ scholarship provides funded teaching for a 1-year period, and is typically worth about £600-£1000. The organ scholar receives free tuition from a qualified teacher, and is expected - when sufficiently skilled and confident - to assist with playing at masses and services at St Mary's on an occasional or regular basis, and to accompany the choir during rehearsals as needed. If the organ scholar is proficient enough to play at weddings and funerals, this will be remunerated.
An organ scholarship is true professional training, and is aimed at people who expect to become part of the next generation of skilled church musicians. A good standard of piano playing is expected, typically at grade 5 or higher. As well as the technical skills involved in playing the organ (which is very different to the piano), the organ scholar gains experience in a whole range of soft skills essential to a church musician, such as musical leadership, listening and accompanying sensitively, and performing with confidence in public.
More details will be posted later in the year - the number of scholarships, and the timing, depends of course on how much funding we can get together, from donations and grant sources. If you'd like to help with the funding, our Sponsor a Pipe web page allows you do dedicate part of your donation towards training new organists; alternatively contact the Parish office about supporting this programme.