Help Yourself: Filing Templates

I struggle with keeping all my music in order and knowing how to file it.  Should I combine hymn arrangements and free harmonizations?  Should Leo Sowerby’s arrangements go under ‘art music’ or ‘hymn settings’?  If I am not careful, I am going to waste one of my five questions when I get to heaven on something like, “Where should I file an anthology that has some hymn arrangements, some art music, and is mostly Christmas repertoire, but has a few Easter pieces in there as well?”

At any rate, I’ve settled on the following categories for my music filing.  Using this system, I can file and access all of my library with ease.  It takes a while to get things organized, but it streamlines the process of being music librarian.  The following link is a pdf of my labels that can be printed out on a standard mailing label (1″ x 2 5/8′) sheet.  Hope it helps!


Being Better: Set up the Instrument

Part I of in the “Being Better” series – an attempt to find discrete ways to engage fully with the job of church musician while perhaps, getting the side results of efficiency and wisdom.
1.  Preset a generic level.
I can’t say that this is a particularly novel idea, but the return-on-investment is tremendous.  There are likely a limited number of combinations that you need, and if you have the available levels, it is invaluable to be able to sit down at the instrument and have the basic registrations immediately prepared.
Method 1:  Think about volume.  If I have 6 general pistons available, then
piston 1 is pianissimo
piston 2 is piano
……and so on…..
piston 5 is mezzoforte
piston 6 is forte.
You don’t need to preset fortissimo – you have that with the crescendo pedal and sforzando.
Method 2: Kind of the same as method 1.  Think about specific stops.  I heard Joyce Jones present this idea in a workshop.
piston 1: all 8′ flutes
piston 2: + 4′ flutes, 8′ strings & small principles
piston 3: + 2′ flutes, 8′ principle, 4′ octave
piston 4: + 2′ octave
piston 5: + mixtures
piston 6: + reeds
Method 3: This is for divisional pistons. I started this when I was playing a memorial service at an unfamiliar church and didn’t have the time to set up registrations for each piece.
Divisional pistons 1-3 are accompaniment stops – strings, flutes, soft things.
Divisional pistons 4-6 are solo stops – small reeds, solo principle, gentle cornet (8, 4 ,2, 2 2/3)
At this point, you can combine each solo sound with each soft accompaniment and always have the possibility of a new, gentle registration available.
This is probably the single thing that you can do to make your time at the instrument efficient. If you have an extra memory level, help yourself so that you can save time in the future.