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Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

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Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:29 am

I would like to share photos of how I use Hauptwerk in a classroom situation to introduce young children to the organ.

I am a trained specialist school music teacher, now in the 37th year of my teaching career. For the first 21 of those years I worked in high schools, before making the rewarding decision to move into primary schools where I now teach children from Kindergarten to Year 6.

My work involves implementing the Creative Arts (Music) Syllabus of the NSW Board of Studies. This document offers significant latitude to teachers in deciding how they will cover the syllabus concepts.

For more than 15 years I've been using small Casio keyboards in my classrooms as the basic performance medium. Through this I can explore the syllabus in an appealing hands-on fashion with students of all ability levels in classes of up to 30 students. I also employ percussion instruments, listening activities and undertake a great deal of singing work. My current workplaces are parish schools in the Catholic system, which means that singing plays an important role in school worship. I teach singing to my classes, conduct whole-school singing practice sessions, and jointly manage the music in school worship in partnership with each school's Religious Education Co-Ordinator. Often this means using prerecorded accompaniments for songs of a contemporary flavour, but as far as possible I make use of the organ, especially when accompanying singing of the parts of the Mass. The parish churches associated with my schools all possess digital instruments - one of which was recently rebuilt and refitted as a headless Hauptwerk setup to a specification drawn up by myself.

In my classrooms I have been able to introduce the organ by way of Hauptwerk, running from a MacBook Pro computer. For some time this involved using just a single MIDI keyboard, but a few years ago I decided to expand the hardware situation. I now use two Behringer UMX-61 or UMX-610 keyboards mounted on a folding keyboard stand, and for pedals I use Hammond MIDI pedalboards of either 13 or 20 notes. More recently I've created another setup using a Studio Logic MIDI pedalboard of 17 notes. Since I work part-time in each school and in every instance share the use of a learning space with other users, everything has to be dismantled and packed away at the end of the day. This rules out the use of a 32-note pedalboard. I have actually had an organ setup in my high school days involving a 32-note pedalboard connected to an array of MIDI keyboards in pre-Hauptwerk days, but back then I was working full-time in the one school and had a classroom exclusively for my own use.

At one of my schools I now have no less than 3 collapsible organs. Two involve Hauptwerk and the third is based around an old Ahlborn-Galanti sound module.

Storage has to be managed very carefully. This is a view of my "organ" storage cupboard with everything packed away. I still have some further refining of the layout to attend to - this photo shows a number of extra items which are destined to be relocated in order to further optimise the organ storage situation.

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The mainstay of my classroom work is a full set of 30 Casio keyboards.

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At this school I share a classroom with the Visual Arts teacher. She works on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I go there on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is how I set up the Casio keyboards.

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When set up, the 3 classroom organs look like this. It takes just a few minutes to bring each out from storage, and likewise at the end of the day to pack them away.

First - the "Red" organ - which uses two Behringer UMX-610 keyboards. It's driven by my main MacBook Pro. The Advanced licence key also holds licences for several sample sets including Hereford, Paramount 341 and the PAB Essential. The Hauptwerk software and sample sets are licenced to myself, and the hardware is all owned by me and not by the schools.

Shown here on the Red organ is St Anne's Moseley. The remote monitor is not a touch screen, but serves to allow the class to see what's happening when the organ is played. Stop control is by a single launchpad. For smaller sample sets such as Moseley and PAB Essential I have included all the stops and couplers as well as pistons plus other controls such as sequencer, master generals and recording function on the launchpad. For larger sample sets I leave out the stops and just put in as many pistons as I can. Audio is reproduced through two pairs of headphones (so two students can work together), or it can be routed through the classroom audio system which contains an inexpensive subwoofer.

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The second, or "grey" organ, uses older Behringer UMX-61 keyboards. It runs through my older MacBook Pro laptop. This one also runs audio into a pair of headphones, or sound can be routed through the portable speaker shown here behind the launchpad.

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Just a few weeks ago I set up a 3rd organ by way of dusting off an old Ahlborn-Galanti 201 sound module plus a Behringer Virtualizer for reverb.

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Here are some views across the room with everything set up.

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And at day's end, this is what the room looks like when all is packed away. I have classes trained up to pack the Casio instruments, and I pack the organs myself. The shared learning space is then ready to become the Art room for a couple of days.

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I also have some Ped-X-Tend units from Wayne Leupold Editions Inc. Here's a view of these in place a couple of years ago when I had the 20-note pedalboard set up differently in another school.

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The purpose is to give students right down to Kindergarten level the opportunity for first-hand experience of organ sounds and technique. Even just by holding a single pedal note underneath a basic keyboard melody they can experience something unique. I use teaching resources from a number of sources including an excellent series of books entitled "Progressive Method for Beginners" - several related books using common repertoire, arranged for Piano, Electronic Keyboard and Organ. I also dip into the "Discover the Organ" series from Wayne Leupold Editions. For students who have had piano lessons I use books such as Colin Hand's "One Foot at a Time" - this contains clever arrangements requiring established piano skills but adding just a couple of pedal notes here and there.

While I am clearly operating at an extremely elementary level, I believe that the experience I am providing is valuable and informative. Also, it's incredibly popular and lots of fun for the students, to the extent that I open up my classroom at recess and lunchtimes to cater for students who want more time at the instruments.

Andrew Grahame
Sydney
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby mdyde » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:43 am

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing it, and for the dedication and inspirational work you do.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:04 am

Super cool. 8) Would be a very good thing if there was more of this sort of musical education.

How do you manage to keep track of all that would be going on at one time?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby telemanr » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:04 pm

As a retired teacher, I applaud you. I taught senior high school instrumental music in the 70's but in those days there was no Hauptwerk. Being an organist, how I would have loved to have been able to add organ to the curriculum.
Well done.
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:14 pm

Wouldn't it be neat to be a "fly on the wall" to see the reaction of enthusiastic kids?. Access to an organ would have been an impossible dream in my early days. Another in the plus column for Hauptwerk as well. :D

Would be nice to fast forward 15-20 years and check on the results of these musical efforts. :wink:

Rgds,
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:52 pm

Thank you for these responses.

Martin - thank you immensely for creating Hauptwerk, and for your ongoing amazing support for the software and its implementation! My initiative would have been impossible without this. The ability to run the software in a basic computer connected to cheap MIDI keyboards mounted on off-the-shelf music hardware at low cost, yet have access to top-quality organ sounds and features, is the catalyst. I am pleased to be able to show you at last where and how my 2nd and 3rd Advanced Hauptwerk licence keys are being used.

To engrssc - the task of keeping track of what is happening comes down to routine classroom management skills inherent in basic teaching technique. What I do is, in principle, no different from how any teacher would manage a lesson in a practical area such as sport, visual arts, industrial arts, home economics or science. There are aspects of planning, matching with syllabus requirements, selecting resources, presentation, implementation, explanation, behaviour management/discipline, reinforcement, revision, assessment, feedback, display of achievement and of course the mandatory documentation in relation to compliance which are in common with the work done by any teacher in any teaching/learning environment. I happen to use this particular content with dedicated resources and tools, where another specialist music teacher might prefer to use guitars, recorders, band instruments or whatever. In my past life as a high school teacher I managed student rock bands, and there's a lot in common between the two environments regarding management skills. However I must say I do prefer the keyboard environment to that of guitars and drums!

To telemanr - you can no doubt relate directly to these concepts. One major advantage to me in using keyboards as I do lies in the fact that this work environment is directly in line with my personal interests. As teachers we are routinely expected to teach content regardless of whether we happen to like it or not, so to be able now to do what I like is a real joy, especially since I am now into what will inevitably be the last few years of my teaching career.

To Ed - yes, the looks on students' faces are priceless. I have students queuing to use the organs, and getting upset if their playing time is cut short for any reason. In this school I go there 2 days per week and teach lessons of approximately 40-50 minutes to each class (the actual lesson length varies from class to class due to timetabling issues). The organs are in constant demand in class time. In addition I open the room for the 30-minute recess and lunch breaks both days - and that's where the keen students are seen on a regular basis. Each break is preceded by a short eating time in their normal classrooms - and when the bell rings to signal the end of eating time it's then only a matter of seconds before students start knocking on the music room door. Unfortunately I can't show photos including students due to privacy issues, but yes - a fly on the wall would have lots to see. As to where it might lead in the future - well, that remains to be seen. Meanwhile it's a lot of fun!

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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:38 pm

A guesstimate of approx how many young students have and are benefiting from your efforts? I would certainly hope that this musical learning experience would continue well into the future. There are many legacies by all involved (including Martin.)

I know I would have been eagerly knocking on your classroom door as well. :D

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:24 am

Hi Ed,

This school has 142 students in 8 classes from Kinder to Year 6 (one class per grade, but there are 2 classes in Year 3). I attend this school on two days, but I don't start teaching until after the recess break each day. Officially I have 1 1/2 days of work here, but I opt to spread it equally across 2 days as this works better for me. All students are exposed to the organs, and like any activity you'll find some who show a greater interest than others. I normally have between 10 and 20 students back each break, often not the same students, to have extra time on the instruments. There's half a dozen very keen regulars, and rationing of organ time has become essential to ensure all get a fair go. If I had a fourth instrument it too would be in full demand, but I get around that by insisting that from time to time students should work on the manuals-only parts at a normal Casio keyboard then come to the organ to add the pedals. That's good practice for reality - when I was a tertiary organ major student myself I routinely spent much time doing manuals-only note-learning and technical work on pianos, finally adding pedals to it when I could get to the organ at my church - where I had to take my turn with 2 or 3 other players.

I currently have a second school where I go all day on Fridays. It's of similar size to the first, but without the extra class in Year 3. I also have 30 Casio keyboards there, and just one collapsible organ.

Here's that instrument photographed about 18 months ago. The 13-note Hammond pedalboard here has since been moved to the first school, and this installation now uses a 17-note Studio Logic pedalboard.

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I have considered the possibility of creating a second organ at that school but I would first need to overcome storage issues and acquire another pedalboard. For now that plan is on hold. I actually have the keyboards which I could use (Novation LaunchKey 61-note keyboards) but there would be other hardware acquisitions needed too. The demand and interest at that school isn't as great. I did have a third school which was where I originally had the 20-note pedalboard, but I resigned from there in the middle of last year and had to then decide where to move its organ to. I chose the first school due to the higher interest which already existed, giving that school 2 organs, and when I decided just a few weeks ago to dust off the old Ahlborn-Galanti sound module this brought that school's total to 3. This has proved to be the correct decision.

I am not aiming at creating large numbers of organists, just in raising awareness. In due course, who knows where things may lead.

I can however point to one success story already. At the school shown in the first group of photos we often lose students after Year 4 as they transfer to another larger Catholic school nearby which takes students from Year 5 right through to Year 12. I taught a student from Kindergarten in 2012 to Year 4 in 2016 before he moved on. He was having private piano lessons throughout that time and consistently doing well. He was in Year 1 when I first installed the original organ at this school, and from the outset he showed a keen interest. This year he is in Year 5 at the other school - which has a large chapel containing a 3-manual Ahlborn-Galanti (the Chronicler III model) excellently installed about 15 or so years ago. He has now become an organ scholar there, having regular lessons and practice sessions on the Chronicler III.

Since the students I work with are quite young it's more than likely that I won't get to see or find out in the long term where many of them end up within the world of the organ. However that doesn't discourage me in the least from the work I am doing in the present day.

Andrew
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:01 am

Even when the farmer plants the seeds, he doesn't see instant results. That doesn't discourage him either. :wink:

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Romanos » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:29 pm

This post is perhaps the epitome of "where there's a will, there's a way." Bravo!
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:25 pm

Thank you, Romanos!

Just by way of showing that this isn't the first time I'd done something like this, here's a photo taken in my high school music classroom in 1998.

The "organ" in this instance was based around a Viscount Cantorum III with a second MIDI keyboard added. The Cantorum III has two manual departments playable from a single keyboard. The small Mac computer (seen to the right of the organ) allowed one or other department to be made playable from the second (lower) MIDI keyboard. There is also a monophonic bass division, and although it could be connected via MIDI to the pedals I didn't use it as such. It only went up to Middle C, and the monophonic operation created all manner of problems when playing it from a remote keyboard.

The pedalboard was ex Johannus, with magnets in the ends of the keys. I constructed my own reed-switch key contacts. I brought the pedalboard home upon leaving this school, and it's now attached to my 4-manual console at home. The bench was self-built using scrap timber, and it too is now on my home console. The pedalboard was linked by way of a hard-wired connection to an old Yamaha synthesizer. To do this I dismantled the synth, traced out the various circuits on the printed circuit board, drilled tiny holes into the relevant tracks and soldered in the necessary wires. The resulting thick cable was brought out through what was originally the battery compartment in the bottom of the synth. I used a number of quick-connect plugs so that the synth could be detached from the pedalboard if necessary - these are just visible in the photo, hanging down under the table which supports the synth and the small Mac.

The manual departments of the Cantorum III could be played from the pedals (one or other, but not both together) by way of selecting the appropriate MIDI Out channel on the synth. In addition, the synth itself generated a range of 16-foot bass tones. The synth remains attached to the pedalboard and to this day continues to provide the pedalboard with a MIDI Out signal.

The audio went through the classroom hi-fi. The amp and mixer can be seen in the cupboard on the wall, and the speakers were mounted in the corners of the room up close to the ceiling. The sound was quite good. The various organ audio outputs were passed through the Roland analog swell pedal en route to the amplifier to provide a general swell control.

This curious contraption was bracketed out from a school desk, with the addition of a self-built wooden music rest. It conformed to AGO console dimensions and was quite comfortable to play.

I put this all together in late 1997, and it remained a permanent fixture in my classroom until the end of 2001 when I left the school. These were the last 4 of the 15 years I spent at that school, and this classroom organ was one of the reasons why those were the best years. The Cantorum III had been purchased with school funds so it remained at the school.

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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:05 pm

No doubt you have your teaching resources. This book is quite good, but may be a little too "adult" for your youngsters.

http://www.wayneleupold.com/organ-teaching-methods/first-organ-book.html

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:26 am

Hi Ed,

You are right - this is for adults. I use it with private students.

At school I dip into other resources.

First, there's the 4-part series "Discover the Basics". Here's the link to Part A.

http://www.wayneleupold.com/organ-teach ... m-eds.html

Then there's the sequel, "Discover the Organ", which goes much further. Here's the link to the repertoire book in Level 1.

http://www.wayneleupold.com/organ-teach ... ser-a.html

The other book I mentioned earlier is "One Foot At A Time" by Colin Hand, from Kevin Mayhew Publishing.

http://www.kevinmayhew.com/one-foot-at- ... OM8QRKGNE4

Andrew
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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby Andrew Grahame » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:59 pm

Here's a sequel to this thread. I took the photo below at school yesterday. I've cropped the photo to conform to privacy requirements.

The photo shows a girl in Year 2 playing a simple keyboard tune on the "red organ". The tune involves the 5 notes from Middle C. A tonic-dominant pedal part has been added (following the chord symbols written above the staff) and Ped-X-Tend units have been fitted to the pedal notes for C and G. She is playing with just RH and Ped at this stage.

Further down the track I'll show her how to add a simple left hand part - against pedal C the left hand plays Tenor E, and against G the left hand plays Tenor F. That way the left hand part alternates between adjacent notes, fitting with the pedal part to create a simple chord progression (V7 - I) which underpins the RH melody. The LH and Ped parts move in contrary motion and need to be rehearsed by themselves before adding the RH. The right hand can then move to the upper keyboard on a solo registration. This tactic gives a young player a first taste of managing 3 separate parts - RH, LH and Ped.

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Re: Collapsible Hauptwerk consoles

Postby engrssc » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:27 pm

It must be gratifying to see these young students come alive musically. For them as well. :D

When she becomes a "star", you probably won't need to crop her picture. 8)

Rgds,
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