Organ specialist, Ibiyefiebo Harry, is part of a crusade being undertaken by the music school to get more young musicians to play the organ.
With its complicated system of stops, pedalboard, manuals and ranks, both pipe and digital organs can be intimidating to an up-and-coming musician.
“You have to effectively coordinate your feet and hands so playing a professional organ is like reading two books simultaneously,” Harry pointed out.
The easiest route to mastering the organ is to initially master the piano. That’s why the 33-year-old organ maestro studying for a PhD in Organ Performance in the United States has been a guest instructor at Music Haven since February to help stir up interest in the organ.
Harry is from Port Harcourt in Nigeria and is married to a Ghanaian violinist, Evelyn Harry.
He started playing the piano by the age of six and by 12, had become assistant organist of the St Cyprians Anglican Church, Port-Harcourt.
He has worked his way through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations and is a Licentiate of Organ Performance.
He has played concerts in Ghana, Dubai, Holland, Germany, France, Italy and the United States.
One of his biggest desires is to see churches appropriately appreciate the role of the organ in worship and also for churches to work with well-trained organists.
Harry’s contention is that many churches use table-top organs and wrongly assume they are on the right path.
“When you go into the houses of pastors and church members, they have the best cars, the best furniture and the best of everything.
“So why should the church have the lowest standard of the keyboard family as the main instrument of worship? The organ is the king of instruments. You can get all sorts of sound from it and that is what befits the church.”
To him, though only a few people seem to appreciate the importance of formal training for musicians, it is extremely necessary for young people and practising church organists to access formal knowledge.
“There are a lot of self-taught musicians all over the place. That’s why the schools don’t have good music teachers, the churches don’t have good organists and many music recording studios lack good producers.”
The Music Haven school is planning a seminar for church organists and Harry will be one of the resource persons.
“A good thing about Nigeria is that her churches love the organ. They know the value of the instrument and they have regular seminars to train their musicians.
“My firm belief is that whatever good thing happens in Nigeria must happen in Ghana as well,” said Harry who is a co-founder of the Organists Guild of Nigeria.