Below you will find a list of the types of classes and modules that have been on offer at the Academy.
Your Principal Study is the primary focus of your work at the Academy. The requirements differ from department to department. The below is an overview, for more details please refer to the course specification.
The principal modes of teaching are described below:
Individual lessons for Principal Study
These classes provide a bridge between one-to-one tuition, masterclasses, and concert performances.
These provide students with opportunities to present work to a leading visiting artist, and members of the public.
Ensemble and Directed Ensemble coaching
Our Artist Development provision is here to prepare you practically, creatively and strategically for a sustainable career in the music profession. We want you to leave here as fully-rounded, creative and adaptable musicians, with the tools and know-how to gain employment in unpredictable times. Practical sessions and intensive electives through the year include working with online content, personal recording techniques, preparing professional documents, auditioning well, how to get funding, and self-employed finances. We also look at your creative and career options, with talks and workshops on effective programming, orchestral life, working with promoters, creative collaboration, and producing and creating your own projects. Alongside our talks and day-long events, there are ongoing one-off sessions throughout the year, focusing in on more specialised areas, such as West-End work, writing for video games, TV and film, and the improvising musician. We also offer one-to-one career guidance sessions with members of the Artist Development team. Our talks and electives are run by combination of Academy staff and invited experts from all fields of music, including established solo artists, fixers, agents and festival directors.
Artist Development forms a part of the broader range of your work and activities, which we assess over the course of your studies via a portfolio. You receive one-to-one supervision to help guide your study choices and to support preparation for this. The portfolio includes professional documents, such as a biographies, an engagement with internet presence, a short collaborative video, a list of all of your musical activities, including external work, and some written reflection on your development. Your supervisor will help you to use the portfolio to take new kinds of responsibility for your musical development, and to manage your transition out of studentship into the profession.
Masterclasses and Performance Classes
Public masterclasses are a regular feature and a highlight of the calendar for our students. You will have the opportunity to work on specific repertoire with leading performers in the organ world. By contrast, Performance Classes are led by Academy professors offering you an opportunity to discuss and experiment with your interpretive ideas in an informal environment.
These classes held in groups with occasional individual coaching for the more advanced students. They are designed to introduce you to improvisation in both formal and free styles, and to enable you to develop an ability to express yourself through improvisation both liturgically and in concert
An important aspect in the study of the organ and its wide repertoire, these classes provide an in-depth approach to national styles of organ performance are complemented by study trips to mainland Europe and overseas
Specialist Keyboard Skills for Organists
These classes are grouped based on experience and aural abilities and include preparation for RCO (Royal College of Organists) diplomas, score-reading and advanced aural training
This class helps you to overcome technical challenges in order to play as musically as possible and approach a variety of repertoire.
This series of lectures and site visits teaches you about the construction, design and mechanics of organs. We believe knowing how the organ is constructed and works is fundamental to knowing how to play it.
Choral Conducting: Organ and Church Music
Students are encouraged to attend teaching in the Choral Conducting department (as an elective), and to work with relevant Organ professors in other fundamental church musician skills. Opportunities to attend rehearsals at Christ Church Oxford and London cathedrals are arranged and encouraged.
Performing with other musicians is a vital part of an organist’s development and is taken very seriously at the Academy. With the installation of the new organ in the Duke’s Hall, we can play repertoire requiring large instrumental forces.
Performance practice projects are supervised by specialists and frequently take the form of overseas visits where repertoire study is matched to a specific organ-building tradition. Recent trips have been to Hamburg’s St Catharinen and St Jacobi Churches, to Lübeck, Paris, Rouen, Toulouse, Southern Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain and to the historic organs of the Siebenbürgen in Transylvania.
Unique to the Academy, we offer a series of intensive classes designed to introduce the harmonium to our students.
Organ and Church Music Principal Study option
This relatively new Principal Study option gives students an opportunity to balance solo performance with church music.