Our courses have inspired and guided young organists for 30 years. Whether you are an absolute beginner, a budding professional, or somewhere in between, Oundle for Organists will help you become the best musician you can be.
This photo of Oundle School Chapel was taken as I walked past after the end of last year's Summer School, on a beautiful July evening, reflecting on the wonderful students we'd spent the week with. Oundle seemed very quiet! Unfortunately, as far as OfO goes, it will continue to be quiet this spring and summer.
As director of OfO, I wanted to update our followers and supporters with the news that emails have now gone out to our wonderful cohort of 2020 students letting them know that all OfO courses for this year are cancelled. This will not come as a surprise to any of you. And although I and my fellow tutors are hugely disappointed that we won't be working with our lovely students this year, I have great reason to be hopeful for the future. Here is what is in the works for now:
First, once restrictions are lifted on accessing church buildings and so forth, I am hoping to create some online content which I can share with all of our students who missed out this year. OfO may be temporarily closed down, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue reaching out to you all, inspiring and helping you in some small way.
Second, we hope to be back in some form 2021. OfO has a 35 year history of educating young organists, and a large number of people are very determined that our mission will continue. I am not yet sure what form our course offerings will take in 2021. It will depend largely on what restrictions are in place, how long they continue, and on Oundle School, our base. We may only offer one course and build back up to three as we begin to fundraise again. We may be able to offer our full programme. I am not yet certain, but please do keep an eye on this page and on our website for further details.
And a final word to our students: there is much you can do during this strange time of lockdown we are in. Set yourself a practice routine, even though you cannot get to an organ. Use a piano at home, if you have one. Do some online aural training or theory work. Acquaint yourself with composers whose work you do not know well. If you are a beginner, with the help of your teacher (remotely!), begin work on keyboard skills (sight-reading, transposition, score-reading, improvisation/harmonisation), if you have not done so already. If you are at a more advanced level, you should be working on these skills every single day. Look at our website for links to several films we made last year about organ scholarships: there is one on keyboard skills.
Our 2020 students will soon be receiving documents which they would have received after attending their course; these will, I hope, also give you some practical guidance.
The Royal College of Organists has made the excellent educational films and materials on iRCO (their virtual learning platform) free for everyone to use, which is very exciting. Please take the opportunity to look at everything that is on offer there. You will certainly find much to help you improve as a musician. Use this time productively!