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Organ Academy

THE ORGANIST ACADEMY, to address a need for professionally trained organists to serve the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, seeks to discover young faith-filled students in whom God has created a musical talent, to offer exploration of a possible vocation in church music.


OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH place an emphasis on use of the pipe organ in the liturgy. However, there exists in the Catholic Church in the United States of America, a shortage of trained, professional organists. Trained organists and/or organist-choir directors are needed. Positions may be classified as 10, 15, 20, 30, or 40 hours a week, and professional salaries range from $26-70K depending on hours per week, level of education, skill, and experience. Or, one can serve as a local supply organist, earning up to $250 per call.


WHO MAY APPLY? Any rising 6th – 11th grader with, or without a piano background may apply.

STUDENTS WITH NO PRIOR KEYBOARD SKILLS enter a custom curriculum designed to teach the student basic piano/keyboard skills. There are two grades of assessment before beginning organ training (see below).


STUDENTS WITH EXISTING KEYBOARD SKILLS may enter Organ Training Grade 1 after completing a Grade 1 and 2 Keyboard Skills workbook with the instructor. Completion of the workbook may take only one lesson or several lessons depending on the level of existing keyboard skill.


STUDENTS ENROLLED IN CARDINAL NEWMAN ORGANIST ACADEMY participate in one organ-crawl each school year, visiting one or two pipe organs in the Columbia/West Columbia area. On these organ-crawls, students go inside a pipe organ to see close-up, how everything works: pipes, chests, console, wind blowers, etc. Students also try out their new organ pieces on the organs visited. And, the best part of all, students enjoy an all-you-can-eat pizza party at the end of the crawl.


Also, students enrolled in Cardinal Newman Organ Academy are eligible to attend summer Pipe Organ Encounters (POE) sponsored by American Guild of Organists (AGO). POE is a four or five-day event for students 13-18 years of age, organized by a local AGO chapter under the sponsorship of the national organization. It introduces participants to the world of the pipe organ, provides an opportunity for participants to have individual and group instruction from visiting organ professors, and provides a unique opportunity for participants to meet and interact with peers who have similar interests. For more information visit .