Music Lessons Online

The Ultimate Pipe Organist Improvisation Courses

Pipe Organ Improvisation Lessons

Learn how to improvise on the pipe organ from scratch using comprehensive courses!

These ultimate pipe organ improvisation courses will teach you everything you need to know to become an accomplished pipe organ improviser. The lessons cover all aspects of improvisation from Renaissance, through Classical, Romantic, 20th Century and Rock-Pop with guest celebrity pipe organ masterclasses coming very soon.

Introduction to Pipe Organ Improvisation

Let’s start with essentially the same harmonic progression improvised on in 3 different ways.

Firstly, a simple improvisation using the flutes of the pipe organ and a solo reed. Pipe organ reed stops resemble oboes, clarinets, horns, trumpets etc and so they are perfect for a solo against the organ flutes. Here I use the circle of 5ths with appoggiaturas to create an expressive pipe organ improvisation. If you are unsure about circle of 5ths in improvisation or appoggiaturas, explore the Maestro Online Theory Courses.

Intermediate Pipe Organ Improvisation

It’s amazing what a bit of rhythm and some larger intervals can do. Here the harmonic progression is near enough the same, but add some intervals and rhythmic variety and you have a completely different organ improvisation: light, jolly.

Lively Pipe Organist Improvisation

The beauty of being a pipe organist, is the opportunity to combine different sounds (stops) to create different moods and atmospheres, essentially an orchestra at your finger-tips. Here a moderately full pipe organ sound with principals/diapasons (the typical “organ sound”), mixtures (adding brightness) and reeds (adding power) help create a more bombastic organ improvisation. Essentially the same progression, but a few more interesting rhythms, a ‘chopped up’ accompaniment followed by a different, smoother accompaniment pattern to bring it to its final cadence. The rise to the 3rd of the chord as the top note at the very end adds even more brightness.

Romantic Pipe Organ Improvisation

The word “Romantic” is used here to refer to the 19th Century style of music, which is often perceived as more expressive owing to increased use of chromaticism in both melodies and harmonies. The horn solo in the previous organ improvisation examples is replaced with a trompette. Note the avoidance of a traditional perfect cadence at the end of the organ improvisation. This creates a real “melting” moment.

20th Century Pipe Organ Improvisation

There is no doubt that in the 20th Century, pipe organ improvisation has literally blossomed. This is particularly thanks to the late romanic, early 1900s French school of Widor, Vierne, Dupre, Demessieux, Alain (Jehan and Marie Claire) who established a formidable school in which even fugues were improvised.

This improvisation uses seemingly unrelated chords a tritone apart, and then a progression using chords a tone apart. I’ve also broken the texture up a little more and, again, ended with the major 3rd at the top of the final chord for electric brightness!

The Ultimate Pip Organist Improvisation Courses

Organ Improvisation, Organ Lessons Online, Organ Courses

The Maestro Online provides courses that start with the ear and include an enormous amount of pedagogy. They start with only a few notes so that beginner organists feel comfortable and extend to advanced levels, with celebrity masterclasses booked for recording in the coming weeks.

They include:

  • Playing in several keys from the outset.

  • Counterpoint and Canons.

  • Harmonisation and Chords (in an easy way that develops understanding!).

  • Different Textures.

  • Registration.

  • Extended improvisations on short famous melodic snippets (from We Will Rock You to Dvorak’s Largo).

  • Guest celebrity courses in the pipeline (see below).

  • Nb – No Cathedral waffle here!

What new Pipe Organ Courses are in the “Pipeline”?

Several professional organists are involved in recording organ improvisation courses over the next few months.

From Frere Jacques to Fugue on a fabulous Swiss organ.

How to play the same piece in different ways for different occasions, by a leading USA organist.

Improvisation courses from an up-and-coming young UK organist who has studied in France.

Courses from an experienced name at the very top of UK organ improvisation and choral work.

Subscribe Today

For 1-1 music lessons (Zoom or in-person) visit The Maestro Online Calendar

All Courses

Far cheaper than 1-1 lessons + a great add-on
£ 19
99 Per Month
  • Annual: £195.99
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses

All Courses + Masterclasses + Exam Practice Toolkits

Best value
£ 29
99 Per Month
  • Over £2000 total value
  • Annual: £299.99
  • All Masterclasses
  • All Exam Practice Toolkits
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses

All Courses + Masterclasses Exam Practice Toolkits

+ 1 hour 1-1 Lesson
£ 59
99 Per Month
  • Monthly 1hr Lesson
  • All Exam Practice Toolkits
  • All Masterclasses
  • All Piano Courses
  • All Organ Courses
  • All Singing Courses
  • All Guitar Courses
Music Chat

Have a Musical Chat!

About your music needs and request support.

  • To discuss partnerships with musical institutions.

  • Anything you like! A cup of coffee online if you wish!

  • Contact: phone or email to discuss music lessons details.

  • Time Zone: Hours of work are 6:00 am-11:00 pm UK time, providing music lessons for most time zones.