Organists wishing to improve skills and expand knowledge may pursue one of the many certificates offered through the Professional Certification Committee of the Guild:
•Service Playing Certificate
•Choir Master (ChM)
Workshops are periodically offered outlining the benefits and requirements of the program. If interested, contact the local Chapter for information or visit the AGO National site for information concerning specific requirements, locations, dates and fees, or to order educational materials.
Ten Reasons to Become Certified
as listed in the AGO Certification Program
•The Guild has provided a ready-made program for you to develop and improve your organ skills. Preparation for the exams strengthens you in areas that you use all the time: sight-reading, transposition, modulation, improvisation, accompaniment, and hymn playing.
•Preparation is completely flexible. You can study on your own; you can work with a teacher; you can prepare as a group.
•The certification process is anonymous and it is fair. No one needs to know anything about it except the one chapter member who makes the arrangements. With the exception of the Choir Master exam, the examiners never see you and don’t know who you are. You could be a high school student or a college professor.
•You will know exactly what will happen at the exam. All testing procedures are spelled out in detail for all participants in a Manual of Procedure.
•Excellent preparation materials are available. Some are so good that you should get them even if you don’t plan to take an exam. Copies of exams from previous years are available, allowing you to try your hand at a level similar to the one you will be taking.
•You can repeat the exam as often as necessary. Many of those who have earned certificates did so on their second, third, or fourth try. Every exam you take makes the next one easier.
•The cost is modest, especially when compared to university tuition. You can hire a coach to help you in your weaker areas, and still it is a bargain.
•There are some attractive side benefits. Upon passing an examination, you will receive a certificate; your name will be published in The American Organist along with those of other successful candidates; you can list letters after your name showing your achievement. You may even get a cash prize!
•An increasing number of churches and schools are making use of the Guild’s salary scales. These guides, which are frequently updated on the AGO website, call for higher salaries for musicians with Guild certificates.
•The most important reason to become certified, of course, is that you be a better organist and a better musician. The preparation will make you more skilled and confident. And the certification will give you the respect of your employer and your peers, and a justified feeling of accomplishment.