Predict and explore

During a visit to a large organ in the church or the concert hall, there is much to discover for children. As an organist you can make the visit even more interesting by doing exciting experiments together with the children. This prevents you from just giving a demonstration of your organ. A way to actively involve children is letting them predict what will happen or what they expect. And then try it out together. Below are some examples.

How much wind is stored in the bellow?

During the construction of the Do-organ, children have already learned what the function of the bellows is. Is it possible to take the children in the church or concert hall to the bellows room? When they can see the wind supply of a large organ, there is something new to discover. After all, these bellows are not filled by hand, but with a motor. When the engine is switched off, the bellows deflates. But until it is completely empty, a tone can continue to sound.

  • Let the children predict how long the organist will be able to play after the motor is turned off.
  • Then try it out together. Let kids take time with a stopwatch or app on the phone.
  • Discuss and explore if it makes a difference whether you play one note with one stop or a whole chord with more stops open.

What does a tremulant?

The tremulant is an aid to make the sound wave extra vibrate. This gives a melody a different effect.

  • Let children sing a sound (eg aaa) on a steady note.
  • Now again, but while singing they push on their necks a few times in quick succession.
  • Discuss what you hear and what happens: the air flow with the sound is disturbed by the pushing and therefore starts to sound different.
  • Then let the organ sound with and without the tremulant.

How do you use a swell box?

If the organ in the church has a swell box, let the children think about the loudness of the sound of the organ. And about its use. Start with the music and then investigate together how the effect arises.

  • Is there music that should sound less loud? Or from very quiet to increasingly louder?
  • How can you make the organ sound louder and softer? The children will probably cite the different registers as a solution.
  • Demonstrate the effect of swell box with music with a constant registration. Ask the children to listen very carefully.
  • Then discuss the operation of the swell box and, if possible, take the children to a place where it can be seen.
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