Class Notes Lesson Library

Instrument Exploration: The Organ (Part Two)

Pipe OrganPixabay

How the Pipe Organ Works

June 09, 2022

Target age range: Grades 2-5

This is the second of three lessons about an amazing instrument - the organ. In the first lesson, we learned there are many different kinds of organs. In this lesson, we will learn more about how the pipe organ works.

  1. Begin with a pre-viewing question: How do you think a pipe organ makes its sound?

  2. Watch the video!

  3. We learned the pipe organ is made up of many parts. Look at the five images below and see if you can label each picture with the correct term:

    A) Keys B) Ranks C) Pipes D) Foot pedals E) Stops

    Parts of the Organ Chart
    Parts of the Organ Chart

  4. More follow-up questions for journaling or discussion:

    A) In the pipe organ you see and hear in the video, how is the wind in the wind system generated?

    B) How is wind let out of the pipes?

    C) Besides keys, what else can activate pipes?

    D) Fill in the blank: The greater the length of the pipe, the ______ the pitch. 

    E) What are groupings of pipes called?

    F) What do stops do?

    G) What are three words you would use to describe the pipe organ?

    (Scroll to the bottom of this lesson for an answer key to letters A-F.)

  5. Want to learn more?

    • For an ever-expanding resource regarding the pipe organ and its music, check out the online archive of PIPEDREAMS broadcasts  or tune in Sunday mornings from 6-8AM on YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio (KSJN-99.5FM in the Twin Cities), or listen anytime online.

    • Check out the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists’ Pipeworks education initiative and their Pipe Organ Discovery Day

Special thanks to Phil Asgian and the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of  Organists and Michael Barone, host of Pipedreams, for help and support with this lesson. 

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist!

Want even more? Our Class Notes Lesson Library has over 100 FREE lesson plans!

Answer Key for #5: A) a motor, B) by pressing a key or many keys, C) food pedals, D) lower, E) ranks, F) change the timbre (TAM-ber) of the note