Instrument Exploration: Meet The Organ (Part One)

CN Instrument Thumbnails

Age Range: Elementary, Middle School

Learning Objective: Students will learn about four kinds of organs and the organists who play them.

Note to Teachers: This is the first of a three-part video series featuring the organ. The first video provides a fun introduction to the instrument. Lesson 2 and Lesson 3 provide a deeper understanding of how the instrument works and composers.

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ENGAGE students

ASK.  “Have you ever heard of a musical instrument called the organ? Today we will learn about and listen to several different kinds of organs. We will also meet four organists, people who play the organ.”

DISCUSS.  “How do you think organists get their start? Can any person play the organ? Where are organs played?”

EXPLORE sounds

WATCH.  Watch the Class Notes video, Meet the Organ. (8 min)

REVIEW.  Use the provided pictures to review each organist and their instrument.

REFLECT.  Use the following questions for journaling or discussion:

  • Which of the four organs was your favorite sound and why?

  • What are three words you would use to describe the organ?

  • Are there other places you have seen or heard organs and organ music?

  • What are three things you will remember from this video?

EXTEND learning

Choose one or both activities to extend learning.

WATCH.  Learn more about the pipe organ and how it produces sound in the second lesson of the series, How the Pipe Organ Works.

MOVE.  Allow students to move around the room while listening to the first few minutes of the organ piece, Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Use the opportunity to practice hearing rests by asking students freeze during the periods of silence.

Special thanks to Phil Asgian and the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and Michael Barone, host of Pipedreams, for help and support with this lesson.

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Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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