Pipe Organ Intensive

Join certified pipe organ builder Xaver Wilhelmy on an in-depth discovery of the inner workings of a pipe organ. Each generation a well-stewarded pipe organ goes through a cleaning, re-voicing, and tuning overhaul by qualified professionals. Be a part of this historic event in the life of a beautiful pipe organ in a picturesque setting in Central Virginia. While at any other time the inner workings of the instrument should not be touched by anyone without qualification, during this work-learning experience, participants will learn proper handling etiquette, and will be able to closely examine, and discuss all aspects of the instrument in a hands-on experiential learning environment. Over the course of the class, students will work together to clean the instrument, learn to hear the nuances of pipe organ sound development, and participate in tuning. Field trips to meet other instruments can be included in the schedule based on student interest. Class will be conducted in English but international students are welcome.

This class is for:

  • Organists and other keyboard musicians who are usually on the outside of the instrument, this is your opportunity to experience the inner workings of the pipe organ.
  • Anyone considering a future in the fine art and craft of pipe organ building.
  • Physics and advanced math students who would like to experience complex mechanisms in relation to music making.
  • Anyone interested in the science of sound.
  • Anyone looking for a learning adventure and memorable experience.
  • While the class will be conducted in English, we invite people of diverse backgrounds who wish to learn English pipe organ terminology.

This class is not for:

  • The interior of a pipe organ is much like a shoe box with the shoes still inside, plus the shoes are very delicate and must be maneuvered around without touching. Individuals who can not proceed with care for and respect of the instrument need not apply.
  • The physical location of the instrument and access to it (stairs, ladders, etc) make this experience regrettably not accessible for individuals with specific physical limitations.

To Apply:

Apply for a Zoom interview by sending the following information in an email to carmenshenk@gmail.com:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Musical background
  • Describe your connection to or interest in pipe organs.
  • Contact email address
  • Contact phone number


Starting July 7th EST for 6 weeks

Orientation June 30st 7:00 pm via Zoom.

Three eight hour days per week, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Hours 9-5:30 (bring packed lunch as no restaurants are close by.)
Dates: July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, August 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13


  • Tuition is $2,450 US for class due at orientation.
  • Individuals who participate in the work project will receive a tuition discount at the rate of $10 per hour.


  • This class is prerequisite for each other class we teach.
  • This class is offered at various times throughout the year, there will be another opportunity.
  • Sometimes we are working on an instrument for an underserved congregation. In those cases, there would be no tuition discount for participants in the work project.
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