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Benefits of Taking Music 075

Welcome to Music 075, the organ courses offered by the Brigham Young University School of Music through Independent Study. Organ Performance, Level 5 is designed to provide motivation, direction, and instruction for organists to improve their skills in specific areas: organ technique, organ repertoire, hymn playing, accompaniment, music theory, organ registration, sight-reading, and transposition. This is accomplished by providing materials, assignments, testing, and feedback in each area. Levels 1–6 focus on the skills needed for the Colleague and Service Playing certificates offered by the American Guild of Organists.

Course Outcomes

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

  1. Technique: In addition to deepening basic skills, you will continue to appropriately apply varieties of legato, non-legato, and staccato, as well as articulations and phrasings.
  2. Repertoire: You will learn early advanced 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, alto up an octave, and nonharmonic tones. Free accompaniments will be introduced. Reflecting the hymn text in your playing will receive particular emphasis.
  4. Accompaniment: As in Level 4, you will learn to play intermediate organ accompaniments of choral works and several four-part vocal scores at the organ, where each part is written on its own staff. In addition, you will learn the basic skills needed to adapt piano or orchestral accompaniments to the organ, and to play a simple Baroque-style figured bass.
  5. Music Theory: You will expand basic common-practice skills to include new applications of seventh chords, modulation, borrowed chords, and altered sixth chords.
  6. Organ Registration: In addition to a review of basic organ registration, you will explore organ building and registration in nineteenth-century France, and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italy.
  7. Sight-Reading: You will be able to sight-read intermediate three-part and easy four-part organ pieces and four-part hymns.
  8. Transposition: You will learn to transpose simple hymns and folk tunes of easy three- and four-part composition into all keys up to and including a major second up and down. Both prepared and at-sight transpositions will be included.

Course Structure

Unit 1—Organ Registration Fundamentals—Review (a study guide comes with each lesson)

Unit 2—Music Theory: Harmonic Materials Part II (a study guide comes with each lesson)

Unit 3—Music Theory: Harmonic Materials Part II (a Study Guide comes with each lesson)

The Played Assignments

Appendix A: Where to Buy Organ Music

Appendix B: Supplemental Texts

Are You Enrolled in the Appropriate Level?

Make sure that you are enrolled in the level that is right for you.

Level 5 is early advanced—for those with substantial training and fluency in legato organ technique, repertoire, registration, hymn playing, and in intermediate organ pieces in both legato and articulate styles. Should be able to play moderately difficult four-part vocal scores and easy choir accompaniments, to sight-read moderately difficult four-part organ music and hymns, and to transpose simple hymns into all keys up to and including a major second up and down. Level 5 students should feel comfortable with the playing skills and understand the music theory topics covered in Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 (see below). Music theory topics covered in Level 5 includes:

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.

Level 3 assumes fluency in the techniques taught in Levels 1 and 2, and introduces the performance of early music. Because Level 3 develops the ability to sight-read easy three-part music and hymns, students should already be able to sight-read two-part music. Music theory topics covered in Level 3 include

Level 4 assumes fluency in the techniques taught in Levels 1–3, including an introduction to the performance of early music. Level 4 students should have training in organ pieces in both legato and articulate styles. They should also be able to play easy four-part vocal scores, to sight-read simple three- and four-part organ music and hymns, and to transpose hymn melodies (only) up to and including a major second up and down. Music theory topics covered in Level 4 include

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 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

The following may also have been used in Level 4:

The following resources are newly required in Level 5:

The following resources are recommended but not required in Level 5:

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 (http://organ.byu.edu). 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 don_cook@byu.edu.

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This course consists of three units and three played assignments. Each unit contains between three and seven lessons.

Unit 1 also contains two Speedback Assignments. Each lesson contains a reading assignment, usually based on a section from one of the textbooks. Study guides for each lesson (and the Speedback Assignments in Unit 1) will help deepen your learning of the material and prepare you for the exam at the end of each unit.

Begin the course by working on Unit 1, Lesson 1: “History and Development of the Organ.” Follow the study guide closely, taking careful notes. Complete the first Speedback Assignment after Lesson 1. After you have completed all of the lessons in the unit, review your study guides. When you feel that you are ready, complete the second Speedback Assignment. Use the detailed feedback that you will receive as you review the topics that you missed.

While you work through Lesson 1, also 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.

An Approved Evaluator

Select an evaluator and make an appointment to play each played assignment for him or her. For this noncredit course, you are responsible to pay an appropriate fee directly to the evaluator at the conclusion of your session, which usually requires about ninety minutes. Although fees vary widely, an hourly rate of $50 is often appropriate. In seeking out a qualified evaluator, choose from these three options:

Approved Evaluator. Obtain approval for an evaluator of your choice from Don Cook, the course instructor. Contact him by email (don_cook@byu.edu) or telephone (801.422.3260), and provide him with the name, contact information, and general credentials of your proposed evaluator. Evaluators of your own choice will be considered upon request, but should be someone (possibly your local organ teacher) who meets one of the following qualifications:

Your BYU Organ Faculty course instructor, in person. If you wish to travel to Provo, schedule a time to complete a played assignment directly with your course instructor. Bring the Played Assignment Evaluation Form 1, 2, or 3 as appropriate. For this non-credit course, the fee for this service is $50 per assignment via Venmo (RDonCook) or PayPal (801-372-9869).

Your BYU Organ Faculty Course Instructor, through video recording. If you choose this option, you do not need a proctor or evaluator in your locality. Play and record the entire assignment without stopping the recording. Do not play any portion of the assignment more than twice. Mail the recording or post it on YouTube, Vimeo, or as a standard video file on another common file sharing service. In addition to posting or sending the recording, email the ungraded Played Assignment Evaluation Form 1, 2, or 3 to Don Cook (don_cook@byu.edu) for evaluation and grading. For this non-credit course, the fee for this service is $50 per assignment via Venmo (RDonCook) or PayPal (801-372-9869).

Meeting with the Evaluator

When you meet with the evaluator, do the following:

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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 two Speedback assignments are worth 4 percent each (8 percent of your total grade). The final exam is worth 14 percent each (42 percent of your total grade). The played assignments are worth 15, 15, and 20 percent (50 percent of your total grade).

Grade Breakdown
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%
Assignment and Exam Weighting
Speedback 1 4%
Speedback 2 4%
Final Exam 42%
Played Assignment 1 15%
Played Assignment 2 15%
Played Assignment 3 20%
Total 100%

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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.


Two computer-graded assignments, and three instructor-graded assignments. No resubmissions allowed. Must pass with a 70% on all assignments to pass the level.


1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded final exam. No retakes are allowed. All assignments must be submitted and graded before requesting the Final Exam. Students must pass all the exams with 70% to pass the course.

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