Contemporary Organ Method

Musical aspects covered

Interval Reading within the five-finger hand-position

  • The simplified interval language (same, step, skip, skip-plus-one, jump) which makes incorporating intervals, direction and timing in one process easy.
  • Reading without looking at the hands
  • Playing by feel
  • Developing the ear by having to listen for the intervals for correction
  • Transposition
  • Awareness of combined direction for both hands: up, down, in, out, same or oblique.

For novice musicians, the preparatory book, the Junior Primer, presents tunes which have matching intervals in both hands. In the Contemporary Organ method the reading material, although beginning with music using matching intervals, moves on to present music using mixture of intervals between the hands.

Preparatory techniques for enhancing reading and encouraging speed-learning, include finger-tracing and a preparatory talk-through, allowing the student to identify the whole view of the music which includes intervals, direction and counting. For instance observing that the music for both hands is stepping up or skipping out. The student is then encouraged to say these aspects out loud while playing, which ensures security.

When the two-part music for the manuals uses varying intervals students should say - mix out or mix down and so on. Once the piece has been rehearsed and the student knows the mixture intervals, then the process should be streamlined so they are saying direction and counting only.
The layout of the pieces in the book is based on proportional notation for easy understanding of timing.

N.B. The use of the Contemporary Theory Primer alongside the practical materials facilitates the reading of intervals and understanding of the timing concepts. In this book the student learns to write and recognise intervals very quickly and to understand timing through the use of colour-coding and clapping.

Introduction of Scales and Chords

  • For hand-position changes
  • To learn scale pathways on the keyboard
  • To learn key signatures and the cycle of fifths
  • To find chords in root position


  • Extension beyond the five-finger position using the larger intervals: sixths, sevenths and octaves.

(a) Chords in Inversions, Block and Broken forms.
(b) Primary Chords in Major Keys and the Chord Table
(c) Chord progressions using the Primary Triads I, IV, V

  • How to find chords on the written music
  • Chordal analysis of pieces
  • Twelve-Bar Blues

Playing in major keys via scale pathways and interval reading

  • using the key signature in the original sense of the word, as a 'key' to unlock the puzzle
  • hand-position changes along pre-learned scale pathways

As a bonus, the book also includes arrangements of three popular tunes, for students to enjoy their newly learned skills.