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Course Outcomes

When you complete this course, you will have deepened your skills and understanding in the following ways.

  1. Technique: In addition to being fluent in basic skills, you will learn to perform varieties of legato, non-legato, and staccato, as well as articulations and phrasings.
  2. Repertoire: You will learn representative works from the baroque, romantic, and contemporary periods.
  3. Hymn Playing: You will polish several hymns in the normal arrangement, manual only, tenor solo, and soprano solo.
  4. Accompaniment: You will learn to play four-part vocal scores at the organ, where each part is written on its own staff.
  5. Music Theory: You will advance from basic music theory into the study of tonal harmony.
  6. Organ Registration: In addition to a review of basic organ registration, you will explore organ building and registration in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands; and as it applies in the music of J. S. Bach.
  7. Sight-reading: You will be able to sight-read easy three-part organ pieces.
  8. Transposition: You will learn to transpose the soprano part of simple hymns and folk tunes into all keys up to and including a major second up and down.

Course Structure

This course consists of three units and three played assignments. Each unit contains between three and seven lessons, a Speedback assignment or two, and an exam. Each lesson contains a reading assignment, usually based on a section from one of the textbooks. Study Guides for each lesson will help deepen your learning of the material and prepare you for the Speedback assignment and the exam at the end of each unit. There are three exams total for this course—two midcourse exams and a final exam.

Begin the course by working on unit 1, lesson 1, “Organ Registration Fundamentals—Review.” Follow the study guide closely, taking careful notes. After you have completed all lessons in the unit, review your study guides. When you feel that you are ready, take the Speedback assignment. Use the detailed feedback that you will receive as you review the topics that you missed. This will help you prepare for the midcourse exams.

While you work through lesson 1, begin working on Played Assignment 1. Throughout the course, practice the played assignments alongside your work on the three units, arranging for lessons with your local organ instructor as often as needed. Whenever you are ready, arrange with the approved evaluator to pass off the entire played assignment, or send a video recording to your course instructor.

Are You Enrolled in the Appropriate Level?

Make sure that you are enrolled in the level that is right for you. Level 3 is early intermediate—for those with substantial training and fluency in the basic organ fundamentals listed in Level 2. Level 3 students should feel comfortable with the playing skills and understand the music theory topics covered in Levels 1 and 2 (see below).

Level 1 offers beginning organ instruction—for pianists with little or no previous formal organ training, or who need help in applying what they have learned in their organ playing. It is also very helpful to those who have played the organ for years but wish to “fill holes” in their organ training. Level 1 covers basic organ technique, early-level repertoire, basic organ registration, and sight-reading single-line melodies. It also begins developing organ accompaniment and transposition skills. Music theory topics covered in Level 1 include the overtone series, musical notation (including note names, clefs, ottava sign, accidentals, enharmonic notes, chromatic scale, whole and half steps) rhythmic concepts (including duple, triple, and quadruple meter; simple and compound time), note values and rest values, metronome indications, tempo indications, and time signatures.

Level 2 reviews the basics taught in Level 1 and deepens them significantly. Level 2 is designed for those with organ training, but who would benefit from a review of basic legato organ technique, repertoire, hymn playing, and registration. Because Level 2 develops the ability to sight-read two-part music, students should already be able to sight-read single line melodies. Music theory topics covered in Level 2 include harmonic and melodic intervals, numerical classification of intervals, compound intervals, classification of intervals by quality, inversion of intervals, enharmonic intervals, structure of the basic scales, modes, the keynote, structure of the major scale, use of accidentals to form major scales on any note, the minor scales (natural, harmonic, and melodic), diatonic and chromatic intervals, key and tonality, major key signatures, relative keys, minor key signatures, use of accidentals to form the various minor scales, the circle of fifths, enharmonic keys, parallel keys, the tertian system, triads (basic, major, minor, diminished, augmented), and triads generated by major and minor scales.

While it is possible to “catch up” during this course on a few concepts or skills that you may have missed from earlier levels, avoid enrolling in a course that may be too difficult to complete in time. If you feel that you have enrolled at the wrong level, contact Independent Study to request a change of course. If you are unsure, contact your BYU faculty organ course instructor.

Course Materials

You will need the following materials to complete the course.

BYU Organ Faculty Resources

In addition to the materials you will receive from BYU Independent Study for this level, other resources are available on the BYU Organ Study home page. Make use of this internet resource as you continue organ study. This website will be updated frequently with new and interesting organ related resources, some of which are designed specifically for BYU Independent Study organ students.

Don Cook, your BYU organ faculty course instructor, can answer most of your questions dealing with the subject matter of this course. Feel free to contact him at 801-422-3260 or by email at

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Speedback Assignments

After thoroughly studying each lesson, you should complete the corresponding Speedback assignment. Speedback assignments consist of a series of multiple-choice questions formatted for immediate computer (Internet) processing and feedback.

Most Speedback assignments may be completed with or without the aid of lesson materials. However, these concepts will be included in the written midcourse and final exams, which should be completed without using any materials for assistance. Whatever procedure you choose, strive for complete understanding of each concept.

When you are satisfied that the assignment represents your best work, submit it through Web-Grade for immediate grading and feedback.

Carefully review any feedback you receive and work on gaining a full understanding of any unclear concepts. Use the feedback as part of your preparation for the midcourse and final exams.

Played Assignments 1, 2 and 3

This course includes three played assignments. You must submit unit 1 before playing Played Assignment 1 for an evaluator. For details on the content of the played assignments, see “Preparing for the Three Played Assignments” section in this syllabus.

Prepare Played Assignment 1 by practicing the organ technique, organ repertoire, hymns, and sight-reading items required for that assignment. This process usually requires several weeks or months. When you are ready, follow the instructions given under “An Approved Evaluator” in the “Preparing for the Three Played Assignments” section of this syllabus.

There are two other ways to complete the played assignments: playing for a qualified evaluator and sending a video recording to BYU.

Preparing for the Three Played Assignments

Looking Ahead

Each of the three played assignments consists of up to four sections--organ technique, organ repertoire, hymn playing, and sight-reading. The evaluator will make point ratings for all sections on manual technique, pedal technique, accuracy of notes, and accuracy and steadiness of rhythm as applicable. In addition, he or she will evaluate certain sections for tempo, registration, musical effectiveness, and line (meaning consistent touch, clean articulation, musical phrasing, parts independent yet cohesive). You must complete the midcourse and speedback assignments for lessons 2–9 to access Played Assignment 2; also lessons 2–11 for Played Assignment 3.

An Approved Evaluator

It is your responsibility to select an evaluator and make an appointment to play the assignment for him or her. You are responsible to pay an appropriate fee to the evaluator at the time of your appointment. Although fees vary widely, an hourly rate of $30 is often appropriate. This fee should be paid directly to the evaluator at the conclusion of the session, which usually requires about ninety minutes. If the BYU course instructor is chosen (in person or via video recording), no fee is required. In seeking out a qualified evaluator, choose from these three options:

Meeting with the Evaluator

When you meet with the evaluator, do the following:

IMPORTANT: In order for your instructor to post the grade, you must complete the Played Assignment Overall Grade assignment found under the Played Assignment module in your online course.

Don Cook
C-550 HFAC
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

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The Midcourse Exams

The midcourse exams, which consist of 50 multiple-choice questions and 35 multiple-choice questions respectively, may be taken only after completing the respective lessons that they cover. Played Assignment 1 must be passed before you can complete the first midcourse exam, and Played Assignment 2 must be passed before you can complete the second. In order to space your studies throughout the year, plan to complete the first midcourse exam no later than six months into the course. See the Midcourse Exam Preparation section of this course for further information. When the results for the written midcourse exams are returned from Independent Study, carefully review any topics that are recommended to gain a full understanding of any unclear concepts. Use this feedback as part of your preparation for the final exam and to strengthen your foundation for further organ study.

The Final Exam

After passing the midcourse exams to your satisfaction, complete the new lessons that are covered in the final exam (lessons 11–13) and complete Played Assignment 3. The final exam, which consists of 35 multiple-choice questions, may be taken only after all midcourse exams, played assignments, and Speedback assignments have been completed. In addition to the new lessons, be sure to review those lessons from the midcourse exams that will be covered again in the final. See the chart below and the Final Exam Preparation section of this course for further information.

All assignments must be submitted and graded before requesting the final exam.

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The grading scale below used for all assignments, exams, and for final grading is as follows. A grade of D- (70 percent) or above is required on all assignments and exams in order to pass the level.

Your four Speedback assignments are worth 5 percent each (20 percent of your total grade). The three exams are worth 10 percent each (30 percent of your total grade). The played assignments are worth 15, 15, and 20 percent respectively (50 percent of your total grade).

Grade Scale
A 94-100
A- 91-93
B+ 88-90
B 86-87
B- 84-85
C+ 81-83
C 79-80
C- 77-78
D+ 74-76
D 72-73
D- 70-71
E 0-69

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MUSIC 399R Level 3 Course Outline

Unit 1: Organ Registration Fundamentals Review

Midcourse Exam 1

Unit 2: Music Theory

Midcourse Exam 2

Unit 3: Music Theory

Final Exam

Played Assignments


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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


4 computer-graded assignments, 3 played assignments, each may be resubmitted once for a fee. The grading scale used in organ certification for all assignments, exams, and for final grading is as follows: a grade of D- (70%) or above is required on all assignments and exams in order to pass the course.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


3 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded exams, may retake each once for a fee. A grade of D- (70%) or above is required on all exams in order to pass this course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514