ECU Logo
 
School of Music
Organ Performance & Sacred Music Studies


 
 

Overview
I. BM and MM degrees with a Sacred Music Concentration

II. BM and MM in Performance, Organ



I. BM and MM degrees with a Sacred Music Concentration

What are the possible major applied areas of study?
At the undergraduate level students can study either Organ or Voice. At the graduate level students can study either Organ and Choral Conducting.

Tell me more about the program and how it would prepare me for a vocation as a church musician.
All Sacred Music students benefit from the high level of individual attention they receive from their degree advisor and applied teachers, a condition that encourages a more personalized approach to learning. Class sizes are small and opportunities for creative learning are many. Music making outside of the university, most often at an area church, allows Sacred Music students to put into practice the skills and concepts they are taught in the classroom This cooperative and collaborative experience helps each student carry into the field concepts learned in the classroom and also gives the faculty an added opportunity to act as mentor. The high number of practicing church musicians on our faculty allows students to learn by observing their professors in the roles of organist, conductor, composer, singer, and liturgist. Each year the East Carolina Religious Arts Festival brings internationally acclaimed leaders in the field of church music to campus where they interact with our students. Regular departmental field trips, master classes by visiting artists, "organ crawls," and opportunities for foreign study ensure a forward thinking, globally aware outlook. Equally important is the fact that the program supports an ethic that emphasizes the pursuit of knowledge, skill, wisdom and independent thought while maintaining support for and respect of one's colleagues. In this manner the program seeks to model the kind of healthy working relationships and high personal, musical and intellectual goals that we hope will mark each student's career life upon leaving ECU.

What should I prepare for an audition and when are your upcoming audition dates?

BM Performance, Sacred Music Audition information
  • Organ Concentration:
  • Performance of solo literature representing three contrasting historical and stylistic periods (memorization optional); performance of a hymn of the student's choice, which may or may not include a special introduction or re-harmonization;
  • Performance of solo literature representing three contrasting historical and stylistic periods* (memorization optional), plus a hymn
    • a work by J.S. Bach
    • a work from the Romantic era
    • a modern work (post 1960)
    • a hymn of the student's choice, which may or may not include a special introduction or re-harmonization
  • Sight read a brief passage of music using manuals and pedals.
*Please feel welcome to contact the faculty if there are questions about specific audition pieces.
  • Vocal Concentration:
    • Two selections: 1 English and 1  Italian, memorization required. See Vocal Studies website for more detailed information regarding the audition.

MM Performance, Sacred Music Audition Information

Organ Concentration:
  • Performance of advanced solo literature representing three contrasting historical and stylistic periods* (memorization optional), plus a hymn
    • a work by J.S. Bach
    • a work from the Romantic era
    • a modern work (post 1960)
    • a hymn of the student's choice, which may or may not include a special introduction or re-harmonization
  • Sight read a brief passage of music using manuals and pedals.
  • Entrance/placement exams will also be administered in Aural Skills, Theory, and Music History
*Please feel welcome to contact the faculty if there are questions about specific audition pieces.
Choral Conducting Concentration:
  • Prepare and discuss a self-edited anthem-octavo of your choosing as well as "Like as the hart desireth the Waterbrooks" by Herbert Howells. Your discussion of these pieces should focus primarily on formal organization, stylistic background, rehearsal strategies, and overall dramatic affect. Be prepared to sing and/or play excerpts of these pieces to illustrate points during your discussion. Conduct one of the university choral ensembles in a 15-minute rehearsal of the above repertoire. Diagnostic sight singing, score reading, and aural acuity session with Dr. Andrew Crane.
Audition Dates

Upcoming audition dates: Please visit the School of Music homepage.

*An audition can be scheduled by appointment under some circumstances. Please contact the faculty as needed.

What are the scholarship possibilities for Sacred Music majors?
Talented music students at East Carolina University are supported by a large scholarship program with awards available from $500 to $5,000, renewable for up to four years. In addition to general School of Music scholarships, the following awards are designated for Sacred Music or Keyboard majors.

The Grover and Jessie Rodgers Scholarship in Church Music assists deserving students majoring in sacred music at East Carolina University and is awarded on the basis of academic and musical merit, and a demonstrated commitment to the study and practice of church music. It is open to both undergraduate and graduate students and may be renewed.

The Henry Husted Wooten Keyboard Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate School of Music students majoring in keyboard, including Sacred Music: Organ emphasis and Organ Performance majors.

The Shingleton Scholarships in Organ, two endowed scholarship given by Dan and Helen Shingleton of Elm City, NC, awarded to outstanding organ majors at either the undergraduate or graduate level. 

Graduate Assistantships are also available in the areas of organ, voice, choral conducting, and accompanying. These awards provide valuable opportunities to gain experience in teaching and performing, while underwriting a great portion of the cost of a student's graduate education. There are also numerous opportunities for church employment in the area and faculty regularly assist students in finding suitable church jobs.




II. BM and MM in Performance, Organ

How does the organ performance major differ from the sacred music major and how do I know which concentration to choose?
Those whose ultimate goal is a career in university teaching and performing may wish to choose the Organ Performance major. While this major does not eliminate the possibility of a career in sacred music, it does place more emphasis on public performances and pedagogical knowledge than the sacred music major and is a logical choice for those who wish to concentrate their energies on developing the highest degree of skill in their playing. It should be noted that several sacred music courses are required for the performance major and most performance majors are actively involved in church music during their time at ECU. The advisor works with each student to help them determine their educational and career goals. Students who choose the organ performance degree take full advantage of our diverse and gifted faculty, aiming for a balance between performance studies (applied organ, harpsichord, piano, historic performance practices) and academic courses (research projects, counterpoint, specialized music history courses, among others). We believe that these degrees provide an excellent foundation for further graduate work, and offer as proof news of our recent graduates seen elsewhere in this web site. 

What is your approach to teaching applied organ?
With all organ majors, Sacred Music or Organ Performance, the goal is to assist in the development of a solid technique and a broad base of historical and musical concepts, an approach which produces well-informed, exciting and musical performances. Students learn a wide range of solo organ literature, but also perform in a variety of ensemble situations on the organ, piano and harpsichord.

What are your practice and performance facilities?
The School of Music houses six practice organs, including mechanical action organs in the Classical style by Daniel Jaeckel and James Lauck. Experience on a wide variety of instruments is important; to that end we also utilize many organs off-campus for lessons and recitals. Builders include Richards, Fowkes & Co., Petty-Madden, C. B. Fisk, Aeolian-Skinner, Casavant, and Zimmer. The School of Music also possesses a double harpsichord by Hubbard/Kingston. All organ majors have regular weekly practice, lessons and recitals on the C.B. Fisk, Op. 126 organ recently installed.

What are some of the opportunities your students have to perform and hear other organists?
The School of Music has a gifted and active performing faculty and a rich concert series, including The Fisk on Fourth organ recital series. Our students regularly perform recitals for American Guild of Organists chapters throughout the area, state, region, and nation. The School of Music's Student Concerto Competition is open to organists and several recent students have been finalists and prizewinners in the AGO’s NYACOP and RCYO, the MTNA Collegiate Competition, Poister Competition and the Metropolitan Ministries Organ Competition. Students are regularly invited to play in masterclasses for the world’s leading artists, both in our area and in prestigious venues such as the AGO National Pedagogy Conference.

What opportunities do your students have to study or perform nationally and internationally?
Since 1999 numerous ECU organ majors have been prize-winning participants of the Oundle (England) School for Young Organists.  In May, 2008 the students took an Organ Studio Study Tour of Germany, under the leadership of Ludger Lohmann, where they  concentrated on organs and repertoire of Bach and the German Romantic period.  In 2010, the studio took a study trip to Boston, MA, and New Haven, CT where they played and studied a variety of instruments, toured the C.B. Fisk workshop and spent two dates touring the Yale University campus and playing the organs there.

What should I prepare for an audition and when are your upcoming audition dates?

BM in Performance, Organ Performance, Audition Information
  • Performance of solo literature representing three contrasting historical and stylistic periods* (memorization optional), plus a hymn
    • a work by J.S. Bach
    • a work from the Romantic era
    • a modern work (post 1960)
    • a hymn of the student's choice, which may or may not include a special introduction or re-harmonization
  • Sight read a brief passage of music using manuals and pedals.

*Please feel welcome to contact the faculty if there are questions about specific audition pieces.

MM in Performance, Organ Performance, Audition Information

  • Performance of advanced solo literature representing three contrasting historical and stylistic periods* (memorization optional), plus a hymn
    • a work by J.S. Bach
    • a work from the Romantic era
    • a modern work (post 1960)
    • a hymn of the student's choice,   which may or may not include a special introduction or re-harmonization
  • Sight read a brief passage of music using manuals and pedals.
  • Entrance/placement exams will also be administered in Aural Skills,Theory, and Music Hist

    *Please feel welcome to contact the faculty if there are questions about specific audition pieces.
Audition Dates

Upcoming audition dates: Please visit the School of Music homepage.

*An audition can be scheduled by appointment under some circumstances. Please contact the faculty as needed.