The Organ in Theory

My name is Kaylee Hoyt and my EDGE project is titled The Organ in Theory. EDGE is a program from my school Southern Utah University designed to help students branch out and become more experiential learners. Although I am a graphic design major, I was interested in exploring music in my project because I’ve always loved it dearly, and it’s a practice I plan on continuing to use outside of my career throughout my life.

I was inspired to carry out this project because music is a huge source of joy for me that I don’t want to lose sight of once I begin working full-time. I plan on continuing to perform a variety of musical skills outside of my career in community and hobby projects, and I saw EDGE as an opportunity to delve into an interest I’ve recently felt out of touch with. I chose to learn the organ specifically because it’s been a goal of mine for several years. This instrument interests me because I love the sound, and with it, I can participate more fully in musical opportunities that often come within my religion instead of passing them by. I also wanted to learn more about music theory and exercise those skills in order to start learning how to arrange and eventually write my own music correctly. Although I feel like I have just scratched the surface and have much more study ahead of me, I am satisfied with my outcome and learned much along the way.

I planned my project as two parts:

1) To learn a new instrument, the organ. I first learned the basics from my mother and then chose 3 classical songs to practice.

2) To study music theory that would help me arrange a music piece for the organ. I used online guides, reference books supplied by my mother, and also used her as a teacher with my questions.

My Deliverables

Chorale (Bach)

In Quiet Joy (Bach)

To fulfill part one of my project,

 

I chose two songs written by Bach and one by J. Habert to practice. One part I had the most trouble with was learning the pedals to the organ, which are a row of large keys beneath the bench where you sit that you must play with your feet.

 

Even having some years of experience with playing the piano, suddenly needing move your feet along with the top two keyboards was quite the learning curve for me, and for a long while I had trouble mentally keeping up with three simultaneous parts.

To fulfill part two of my project,

 

I decided to arrange a Christmas Medley because there will be several opportunities to use it within coming months while also giving me time to practice and edit out any issues that may be in it. These pre-existing songs are also within public domain, so I knew I wouldn't run into any copyright issues while they also give me a chance to see how the chords I had been studying work together in music written by professionals.

I cleaned up and compiled my messy notes on my lessons into about 6 handwritten pages along with my sheet music into a single binder. I know this will be a good resource as I continue to learn and practice.

Prelude (Habert)

Christmas Medley (MIDI)

Theory Notes

In conclusion,

The time I devoted for this goal has helped me grow in my performance skills, helped me gain a better grasp on music theory, and taught me better self-discipline through practice. I am more confident in my overall performance, music-reading, and rhythmic skills. With this project, I also now have a new arrangement that I plan to use as an opportunity to perform and share my progress with other people. In looking back at what I was able to achieve in planning and carrying out this project, I now know that I’m capable of furthering these skills in my future endeavors.

As an artist, whether it be visual or musical, it's important to develop your skills and talents through many hours of perseverance, and I know this project will help prove to myself and others my ability to do so.