American Organ Academy

James W. Guyer, DM

February 16, 2021

I am an organist and church musician with advanced degrees in music and organ performance. I enrolled in the American Organ Academy's intensive course in improvisation, focusing on harmonic control, treatment of melodies, and an introduction to silent film accompaniment.

Dr. Schwandt affirmed his reputation as a master teacher, working on the topics from my level and limited expertise. His patience and creativity helped spur my aging brain in ways that left me more energized after the course than when I started. The time spent inside the instruments utilized for lessons gave me added insight and understanding of pipe organ mechanism, winding, and tonal design. 

This was a fantastic way to utilize my church-sponsored continuing education funds in a pandemic-driven 2020, where social distancing and limited contact with other people were a necessity. My experiences with the American Organ Academy and with Dr. Schwandt were exceptional. I plan to attend more courses in the future and encourage others to explore the unique opportunities possible at the AOA!

With respect and gratitude,

James W. Guyer, DM
Organist / Choirmaster
St. Boniface Episcopal Church
Siesta Key (Sarasota), FL