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Piano to Organ Conversion Course

RIAM Head of Early Music David Adams helps pianists to transfer their skills to organ playing over a 6-week course


Over the course of six weeks, David Adams will take pianists through the fundamentals of organ playing, helping keyboard instrument players to address the transferable skills that they already possess, and identifying its unique features so that non-organ natives can get the most out of this beautiful instrument.

This evening course is ideal for

  • Musicians who, in the course of work or leisure, find themselves playing with or conducting a church music group due to their general keyboard skills, but would like more specialised training
  • Teachers who are occasionally needed to accompany student choirs or ensembles at school masses in the local parish
  • Pianists who would like to build confidence at the organ so they are equipped to perform at special occasions like weddings for friends and family
  • Piano students with an interest in early music, a desire to become multi-instrumentalists, and/or a great affection for this amazing and impressive instrument


Over six Monday-evening classes, you will cover:

Week 1—Introduction to Organ | 28th February
Week 2—Simple Pieces for Hands & Feet Together | 7th March
No class on Monday 14th of March
Week 3—Useful Repertoire for Weddings & Funerals, Hymn Playing | 21st March
Week 4—Off-Campus Visit to a Large Church Organ | 28th March
Week 5—Preparation of Pieces | 4th April
Week 6—Conclusion and Informal Performance| 11th April


Note: This course taking place live and in-person is subject to government COVID-19 guidelines


Ability:  There is no official RIAM certification required to take this course, but it is recommended for pianists who have a minimum of approximately Grade 8 standard.

Participants are recommended to source an organ practice possibility for themselves prior to the start of the course to be able to practise independently in between the course sessions.


A former organ scholar of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College Dublin, David Adams studied in Freiburg (with Ludwig Doerr) and Amsterdam (with Piet Kee and Ewald Kooiman), winning prizes at international competitions in Speyer, Lüneburg, Dublin and Bruges.

Since his début recital at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, at the age of 16, he has performed throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe, and is a regular guest at major international festivals. He regularly appears with all the Irish orchestras and is much in demand as an ensemble player in the fields of early and contemporary music. As a conductor he has worked with the Ulster Orchestra, English Touring Opera, Opera Theatre Company, the Orchestra of St Cecilia and the Irish Baroque Orchestra. He has premièred many new works including numerous compositions written specially for him. In addition to solo organ CDs recorded on the organs of Trinity College and the National Concert Hall Dublin, he has recorded for Naxos, Black Box and Wergo.

David Adams has taught at conservatories in Freiburg, Berlin and The Hague, and at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and Trinity College Dublin, and now lectures at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He gives masterclasses and lectures at home and abroad, and has been a juror for many national and international competitions. In 2007 he was awarded a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam for his work on Max Reger and Karl Straube. David is organist of Christ Church Taney and St. Nahi’s in Dublin.


"The course covered a wide range of topics including the history of the organ, developments in the instrument over time and in different regions, Baroque-style keyboard performance practice as well as efficient practice techniques at the organ. The course also included a visit to St. Mary's Pro Cathedral. The class was very conversational in style as David responded to questions with explanations that were in depth, yet easy to understand. All students made noticeable progress at the instrument within the 6 weeks. I would recommend to anyone simply curious about the origins and mechanics of the organ itself as an instrument, for those who wish to know more about Baroque keyboard performance, as well as pianists looking to expand their skills and employability by developing confidence at the organ." (O. Halligan)

I wish the course was continued and had more levels to grow up with techniques, thank you very much to the teacher, it was a pleasure learning with him. (O. Behan)

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