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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 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 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.

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 final exam, which should be completed without using any materials for assistance. Whatever procedure you choose, strive for complete understanding of each concept.

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 final exams.

Played Assignments 1, 2 and 3

This course includes three played assignments. 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).

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 ( 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 ( 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 Final Exam

The final exam, which consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, may be taken only after all played assignments, and Speedback assignments have been completed. See the chart below and the Final Exam Preparation section of this course for further information. There is also a practice exam in the course to help prepare you for the final. The practice exam does not count toward your grade.

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 final exam is worth 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 073 Course Outline

Unit 1: Organ Registration Fundamentals Review

Unit 2: Music Theory

Unit 3: Music Theory

Final Exam

Played Assignments


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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.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee. 


1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded exam, may retake each once for a fee, must pass the final exam to pass the 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