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by Michael Ford last modified 30 Sep, 2021 12:59 PM

Training the next generation of church organists.

PipeUp Pupil Concert at Edington Priory 2019Concert at Edington Priory

The PipeUp scheme has been running since 2005 in partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury and is designed to help ensure the future of church organ players for the next generation and beyond. Thanks to the support of the Mrs R P Tindall Trust and the Michael James Music Trust, all pupils on the scheme receive a subsidy of £15 per hour towards lessons. Tutors are carefully selected from right across the region and are fully checked in accordance with the Diocese’s safeguarding requirements. Because this is a Diocesan-supported initiative, all pupils must either live or have their lessons within the Diocese of Salisbury.

The scheme was the brainchild of Ven Paul Taylor while he was Archdeacon of Sherborne and was first overseen by Robert Fielding. It has since been looked after by Dr Richard Godfrey and Chris Totney, and is now under the guidance of James Thomas, with the support of the Revd Heather Waldsax in her capacity as Diocesan Music in Worship Network Co-ordinator.

Depending on their age and previous experience on a keyboard instrument, pupils generally begin anytime between the ages of 8 and 12. Gaining the first few grades on piano before starting the organ can be a huge advantage and is therefore the recommended route. However, this is not necessarily an essential requirement, and a keen interest and willingness to work hard, both in lessons and in practice, are the main pre-requisites.

Since its inception, the number of students to have benefited from the scheme is nearing 100, many of whom have gone on to pursue scholarships at university and now play regularly in various churches all over the country. Recruitment workshops and pupil concerts are regularly arranged at various locations around the diocese, with recent highlights including events at Salisbury Cathedral, Wimborne Minster, St Michael’s in Lyme Regis and Edington Priory. Pupils already on the scheme help demonstrate the organ to prospective students, who also get the chance to have a go on the instrument themselves!

If you think your child may be interested in taking up the organ, please feel free to contact the scheme’s co-ordinator for advice.

Please click here to view the PipeUp safeguarding policy.

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Your contact is: 

PipeUp Tutor James Thomas

James Thomas (Director of Music, Holy Trinity, Weymouth)
PipeUp Tutor and Scheme Co-ordinator
07971 403856

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