Derby and District Organists’ Association

Children and the Organ


The project aims to introduce young children to the fascinating world of pipe organs through practical workshops and fun activities.  The building and playing of organs being such multi-disciplinary activities, their study has numerous spin-offs for the school curriculum.

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The project team, consisting of DDOA members, offers to primary schools a practical workshop based in a local church. The activities allow pupils to:

Hear and see a pipe organ being played by a professional organist

Have a go on the organ themselves

Find out about how sounds are produced

See how the mechanics work

Enjoy a live musical experience

Understand how the organ is played.

The project involves a visit to a local church and is aimed primarily at pupils aged 9 –11.  It has been carefully developed in consultation with experienced teachers and  the Derbyshire Music Service. The  pipe organ is a  rich source of learning  experience for children which is related to the National Curriculum. In particular  our project encompasses many aspects; music, science, technology, art & design and physical co-ordination.

What do the pupils actually do?

We start by listening to the organ, usually at full blast, which is very exciting and sweeps many children off their feet. We then usually have a brief explanation of how an organ works, using a mini organ, real pipes and including listening games and other simple activities to engage the pupils.

In the ’follow up’ session pupils split into smaller groups and engage in a variety of activities that deepen their understanding of what they have already experienced.


PRESENTATION  - 30minutes

GROUP ACTIVITIES  -  15 minutes each, groups of 6 in rotation

1.  PEDAL POWER  Pedalling with a solo pedalboard  

2.  HOW IT WORKS  Inspecting the inside of a mini-organ

3.  PLAYING THE ORGAN  Feeling the manuals, pedals and operating stops

4.  HOW IT LOOKS  Organising pipes in an organ case   

5.  ORGANIST IN CONTROL  Interactive presentation showing how many              tasks organists perform when playing

PRESENTATION  -  10 minutes

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