Down, Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship

The Down, Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme helps provide and equip organists for public worship. It was established in 1990 when an anonymous benefactor, recognising the importance of the ministry of music in parish life and worship, provided a very generous endowment to train organists in these dioceses. A trust was set up and administered by Church of Ireland Trustees Board of Management.

The aims of any Organ Scholarship scheme are to provide training in organ playing, choir accompaniment, choral direction and vocal techniques and secondly experience a wide variety of liturgical music.

The study of music fosters concentration, discipline and confidence. Music-making promotes good mental health, feelings of self-esteem and the knowledge that we are contributing something of beauty and value to society.

Among the benefits of the scheme are free fortnightly lessons for the three-year duration of the scheme along with the development of practical skills including hymn playing, choral training and performance of organ repertoire.

The Dioceses of Down & Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme 2024 is now closed. Applications will reopen early in 2025.

For queries, please contact the Honorary Secretary at

Auditions for 2024 are scheduled to be held on May 18 2024 at St John’s Parish Church, Malone

General Information for Applicants

Purpose of the Organ Scholarship Scheme

The Down & Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme was established in September 1990 for the training of such individuals who have been commended by incumbents of a parish within either the Diocese of Down & Dromore or the Diocese of Connor and successful in the Scheme’s annual competitive auditions as church musicians.

Opportunities and Responsibilities of the Scheme

  1. As the purpose of the Scheme is to train Church Organists and Choir Directors, applicants should be able to demonstrate either current involvement in church music in their parish or a willingness to become so involved both during their scholarship tenure and afterwards. This is an essential element of the Scheme as practical experience and involvement in church music is a crucial factor in skills development. Consequently, involvement in parish worship and church music in particular will be taken into account in any decision to award a scholarship.
  2. Tuition for the Organ Scholarship is provided by some of Ireland’s foremost organists and choir directors who are not only renowned musicians but very experienced and gifted teachers who have a proven record of developing the skills of scholars with a wide range of abilities and in encouraging even the most tentative of church musicians. Scholars will find that they will very quickly establish a rapport with their tutor that will enable them to flourish under the Scheme and gain a great deal of enjoyment in the process.
  3. Although no previous experience in playing the organ is necessary, applicants should be aware that the scheme is aimed at those who have already acquired good basic keyboard skills so that they can competently play hymns from the Church of Ireland Hymnal (and Supplementary hymnal, ‘Thanks and Praise’) and chants used to accompany psalms and canticles.
  4. Applicants must be aware that participation in the Scholarship will require a considerable commitment of time on their part. They will be expected to commit to a continuous period of three years of study and up to five Saturdays per annum, one of which will be devoted to the annual assessment in June. Applicants under the age of 18 and those engaged in full time studies or with work commitments should take this time requirement of the Scheme into account before applying as they will be required to sign a formal agreement prior to the commencement of their scholarship.
  5. The scholarship is awarded for three years and includes up to 20 x one-hour lessons per year. The total value of each scholarship is £1,800.

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