We are very lucky to have two of the younger members of our parish learning the pipe organ, they have lessons via the Milton Keynes Music service. Both of them occasionally use the Willis organ as a practice instrument, although with all its problems, it is providing additional challenges than they already face in getting legs, hands and eyes co-ordinated in order to get music out of it. The nearest analogy I can think of is learning to drive a manual car, it takes time to get the process and reactions 'semi automatic' requiring a lot of thinking at the beginning, so a sticking gear lever is as much a cause for consternation as organ action that unexpectedly misbehaves (such as when keys stick or console electrics do odd things), especially for a beginner.
About 4 months ago, when some of the organ fund group members were having a discussion long after most people had left for their Sunday lunches, Katherine started her practice. She is very shy of anyone listening in, though has been playing the organ for about 2 years, so it was brave to play in front of us when we were talking. She did a great job and we wrote her a little note of thanks and encouragement before we left.
Last Sunday after the service Andrew did a voluntary after the final hymn as usual whilst we were all drinking tea/coffee and exchanging news. Then there was quiet from the organ for about 10 to 15 minutes before Jacob shyly sat at the console with his music and played two short pieces. Some of us were 'in the know' that he was going to do this, and my children dashed up to the gallery to watch. His godmother Lesley was also there with another child who was keen to see what he was doing. Everyone went quiet to listen and applauded when he finished his first piece (it was his first 'public' performance). It is wonderful that our congregation is so keen to encourage people in this way.
Hearing both our young budding organists play the instrument helped us to remember once again one of the reasons why we are so keen to get the organ properly refurbished - to give people of the future a chance to hear and enjoy this lovely instrument, especially when it is being played for worship.