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What does an Organist do?

Learn all about Organist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Organist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 2 min read

An organist is a musician who plays the organ.

Organist job duties include:

  • Play the organ for religious services, concerts, and other events
  • Select music that is appropriate for the occasion
  • Rehearse with other musicians if necessary
  • Arrange music for the organ if needed
  • Keep the organ in good working condition
  • Train new organists if needed
  • Plan and direct music programs for churches, schools, and other organizations
  • Perform research on new music and composers
  • Give lectures and workshops on the history of the organ and its music

Organist Job Requirements

An Organist typically has a college degree in music, although some positions may only require a high school diploma. Many churches also require that their Organists be certified by the American Guild of Organists. Experience playing the organ is also necessary for most positions.

Organist Skills

  • Keyboard skills
  • Sight-reading
  • Musical memory
  • Transcription
  • Composition
  • Arranging
  • Conducting
  • Improvisation
  • Accompaniment
  • Leadership
  • Ensemble playing

Related: Top Organist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Organist

There is no one path to becoming an organist, but there are some general steps that can be followed. First, it is important to develop a strong foundation in music theory and ear training. This can be accomplished by taking classes, participating in music programs, or working with a private teacher. Next, it is helpful to learn to play the piano, as this will provide a good foundation for learning to play the organ. Once these basics have been mastered, it is time to start learning to play the organ itself. This can be done by taking lessons from a qualified teacher, practicing on your own, or attending workshops and master classes. With dedication and hard work, anyone can become an accomplished organist.

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