Bachelor of Music: Organ Performance

Program Overview

The Organ Department at Westminster Choir College educates students in many facets of organ playing and related topics. Courses in performance, collaborative skills, choral conducting, improvisation, and literature are offered each semester. Westminster is home to a collection of 18 pipe organs built by Aeolian-Skinner, Beckerath, Casavant, Flentrop, Noack, and others. Students are encouraged to seek church employment during their time at Westminster; the organ faculty and sacred music office maintain a list of available positions in the area. For more information, including audition requirements and instrument specifications, visit the Organ Department website.

Curriculum Overview

The undergraduate curriculum includes eight semesters of applied lessons, two semesters of organ literature, two semesters of organ improvisation, and courses in choral conducting, worship planning, and accompanying.  

Degree Recital Requirements

  • Two recitals: Memorization is encouraged, but not required.

    • A recital of at least 45 minutes at the conclusion of the Junior year.

    • A recital of at least 60 minutes at the conclusion of the Senior year.

  • Students are required to be enrolled in organ lessons at Westminster during the semester of a degree recital, without exception.

Performance Class Requirements

For each semester a student is enrolled in organ lessons as a performance major, these requirements must be met:

  • Three solo works, one of which must be memorized.

  • Two hymns, one of which must be memorized.

  • One collaborative work (i.e. anthem, vocal/instrumental solo, concerto, etc.)

Jury Requirements

  • All freshman performance majors must pass a qualifying jury that includes:

  1. Five Orgelbüchlein Chorales, by J. S. Bach; a Leipzig, Schübler, or Clavierübung III chorale can be substituted for one of these.  (This requirement may be met in any jury or performance class during the first year.)
  2. A Prelude and Fugue of J.S. Bach or Präludium of Dietrich Buxtehude, or Nicolas Bruhns
  3. Three contrasting pieces from the 19th, 20th, or 21st centuries.
  4. A complete hymn performed creatively (introduction, alternative harmonizations, etc.)
  5. All major and minor scales (harmonic and melodic); four octaves

Note: One of these works must be memorized

  • A jury must be performed at the conclusion of any semester that does not include a degree recital.

Degree Offered

B.M. in Organ Performance

Contact

Daryl Robinson, M.M.
Assistant Professor of Organ
Bristol Hall 3
609-921-7100, ext. 8349
drobinson@rider.edu

Program Website: www.rider.edu/organ
Associated Department: Department of Organ, Conducting, and Sacred Music

Related Programs

Faculty

Matthew Lewis • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Organ, 2005. B.S., B.M., Philadelphia Biblical University; M.M., D.M.A., Juilliard School

Alan Morrison • Adjunct Associate Professor, Organ, 2006. B.M., M.M., Curtis Institute of Music

Daryl Robinson • Assistant Professor, Organ, 2015.  B.M., University of Houston; M.M., Rice University

Organ Performance Program Requirements

Learn more about General Undergraduate Requirements.

Choirs and Conducting
CR 109Chapel Choir (2 terms)2
CR 209Schola Cantorum (2 terms)2
CR 509Symphonic Choir (4 terms)4
CR 215Fundamentals of Conducting3
Applied Music
OR 101AOrgan Primary (2 terms)4
OR 201AOrgan Primary (2 terms)4
OR 301AOrgan Primary (2 terms)4
OR 401AOrgan Primary (2 terms)4
Voice secondary (4 terms)4
Theory and Music History
TH 141
TH 142
TH 241
Musicianship I
and Musicianship II
and Musicianship III
12
TH 342Contemporary Trends3
Theory level I elective3
Theory level II elective3
MH 247
MH 248
Music Historiography I
and Music Historiography II
6
MH 345Music Since 19003
Music History elective3
Professional Studies
OR 433
OR 434
Organ Literature I
and Organ Literature II
6
OR 587Organ Improvisation2
OR 589Organ Improvisation II2
OR 590Accompanying at the Organ2
SM 531Colloquium in Sacred Music (2 terms)4
PI 101BPiano Primary (4 terms) 14
or HP 101B Harpsichord Primary
Arts and Sciences
LL 131English Composition3
Foreign Language I / II / III / IV (4 courses) 212
Literature or Philosophy elective3
Social/Behavioral/Natural Science elective3
History elective3
Arts & Sciences electives (2 courses)6
Free Electives
Free Electives10
Total Credits124

Notes

1

Four terms of one-credit, half-hour lessons (suffix B) are covered under full-time tuition. Students wishing to take a full-hour lesson register for Suffix G, and are billed for one half-hour. After four terms are complete, all harpsichord or piano lessons are considered elective.

2

Completion of French, German, Italian, Latin, or Spanish IV is required. If students are exempted from one or more semesters of foreign language study, they must replace the missing credits with other Arts & Sciences electives.

3

Attendance at weekly studio classes is required during all semesters of applied study.

4

A half recital must be presented in the junior year. A full recital must be presented in the senior year. All recitals must receive prior departmental approval.

Academic Plan of Study

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
CR 109 Chapel Choir 1
OR 101A Organ Primary 2
VC 103 Voice Secondary 1
TH 141 Musicianship I 4
HP 101B
Harpsichord Primary
or Piano Primary
1
LL 131 English Composition 3
Literature/Philosophy elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CR 109 Chapel Choir 1
OR 101A Organ Primary 2
VC 103 Voice Secondary 1
TH 142 Musicianship II 4
HP 101B
Harpsichord Primary
or Piano Primary
1
Social/Behavioral/Natural Science elective 3
History elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 2
Fall Semester
CR 209 Schola Cantorum 1
OR 201A Organ Primary 2
VC 203 Voice Secondary 1
CR 215 Fundamentals of Conducting 3
TH 241 Musicianship III 4
MH 247 Music Historiography I 3
HP 101B
Harpsichord Primary
or Piano Primary
1
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CR 209 Schola Cantorum 1
OR 201A Organ Primary 2
VC 203 Voice Secondary 1
TH 342 Contemporary Trends 3
MH 248 Music Historiography II 3
HP 101B
Harpsichord Primary
or Piano Primary
1
Arts & Sciences elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Year 3
Fall Semester
OR 301A Organ Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
Theory level I elective 3
MH 345 Music Since 1900 3
OR 433 Organ Literature I 3
SM 531 Colloquium in Sacred Music 2
Foreign Language I 3
 Semester Credit Hours17
Spring Semester
OR 301A Organ Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
Theory Level II elective 3
MH 433 Seminar in Music History 3
OR 434 Organ Literature II 3
SM 531 Colloquium in Sacred Music 2
Foreign Language II 3
Junior Recital  
 Semester Credit Hours17
Year 4
Fall Semester
OR 401A Organ Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
OR 587 Organ Improvisation 2
Foreign Language III 3
Arts & Sciences elective 3
Free elective 4
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
OR 401A Organ Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
OR 589 Organ Improvisation II 2
OR 590 Accompanying at the Organ 2
Foreign Language IV 3
Free elective 6
Senior Recital  
 Semester Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation124

Courses and Descriptions

OR 101A Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 101B Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 101C Organ Elective 2 Credits

OR 101D Organ Elective 1 Credits

OR 101E Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 101F Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 101G Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 201A Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 201B Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 201E Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 201F Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 201G Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 301A Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 301B Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 301E Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 301F Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 301G Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 401A Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 401B Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 401E Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 401F Organ Primary 1 Credits

OR 401G Organ Primary 2 Credits

OR 433 Organ Literature I 3 Credits

Historical study of organ literature coordinated with a study of the development of the organ as a musical instrument.

OR 434 Organ Literature II 3 Credits

Continuation of OR 433.

OR 490 Independant Research and Study 1-4 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-4 credit hours. Students may count up to a maximum of 18 independent study hours toward graduation. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing.

OR 587 Organ Improvisation 2 Credits

A laboratory in the keyboard disciplines of modulation, transposition, improvisation and vocal score reading. Required for undergraduate Organ Performance majors; others may elect the course by permission of the instructor.

OR 588 Organ Pedagogy 2 Credits

Pedagogical approaches to organ playing. Required for undergraduate Organ Performance majors; others may elect the course by permission of the instructor.

OR 589 Organ Improvisation II 2 Credits

Continuation of OR 587.

OR 590 Accompanying at the Organ 2 Credits

Development of accompanying techniques essential to the professional organist. Arranging and transcription from piano reductions and orchestral scores; standard choral/organ literature. Leading congregational song; appropriate methods of instrumental registration.

OR 623 Organ Music of J.S. Bach 3 Credits

A study by genre of Bach’s organ compositions will include background, overview of the influences of Buxtehude, Pachelbel and Böhm, and performance practice issues. The question of the "Bach organ" will be explored. Prerequisite(s): MH 731, OR 433.

Corequisite(s): MH 731, OR 433.

OR 629 Seminar in Organ Literature 2 Credits

An intensive study of an area of organ literature or its performance practice. Specific content will change with each semester. Emphasis upon in-depth study of the works of a selected composer or genre.

OR 641A Organ Primary 2 Credits

2 Credit hours.

OR 641B Organ Primary 1 Credits

1 Credit hour.

OR 641C Organ Elective 2 Credits

2 Credit hours.

OR 641D Organ Elective 1 Credits

1 Credit hour.

OR 641E Organ Primary 2 Credits

2 Credit hours.

OR 641F Organ Primary 1 Credits

1 Credit hour.

OR 690 Independent Research and Study 1-4 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-3 credit hours. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): graduate standing.

OR 723 Organ Literature Before 1800 3 Credits

Historical study of the organ literature coordinated with a study of the development of the organ as a musical instrument.

OR 724 Organ Literature since 1800 3 Credits

Study and research into the style, form, and interpretation of representative organ works composed after 1800. Study and research into national styles of organ composition and construction in France, Germany, England and North America.