Bursaries & Trusts

Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars Trust


Since the 1980s many people have noticed a decline in the number of young people participating in church music. Fewer young people attend the RSCM Festival; many choirs now consist of adults only; many churches have no organist and rely upon taped music.

Most choirs, with young people playing a significant part in the music and worship have, as a leader, a professionally trained musician. Such leaders provide a first-rate musical education, as well as important life and leadership skills for the young people of the church, which remain with them for life.  A very large proportion of members of our congregations are people who sang in a choir when they were young.

The RSCM provides superb courses for choristers and organists ending in RSCM Awards, which are recognised nationally. At present, in this Area we offer organists a short training course, which helps them to fulfil their full potential. Such a short course has been very useful but it has not reached the needs of young people.

A look at history will help us to consider the way forward. S.S.Wesley, it is generally recognised, did much to take church music forward from its doldrums of the eighteenth century. By Victorian times the church was expanding rapidly. There were not enough organists and it was common for teenagers, not only to play the organ for services but also to act as choirmasters. Indeed, speak to professional organists today, and many played for services in their early years and led choirs.

We ought never to underestimate what young people can achieve to enrich our church life and worship!

  • Our Area is fortunate in having centres of musical excellence spread throughout it, which are ideally located to serve the districts which form our Area.
  • However if this scheme is to succeed we must never lose our focus on supporting the work of our local and village churches in enriching their worship and church life.


The Aims of the Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars’ Trust

  • To provide the highest possible standard of Organ teaching, through qualified professional organ teachers in our great churches.
  • To teach Young Organ Scholars the skills of accompanying and leading divine worship including the psalms, anthems, hymns and extemporization.
  • To include tuition which promotes a good understanding of the Liturgy and the part music plays in enriching worship.
  • To ensure that, when they are ready, Young Organ Scholars will have the experience of accompanying services in churches which have no organist, or whose organist is unavailable.

The Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars’ Trust will:

  • provide long-term funding for a young person to be taught over several years.
  • ensure that only those with professional organ teaching qualifications and the necessary CRB child protection clearances will be allowed to teach.
  • Promote a scholarship scheme consisting of two levels:
  1. Young Organ Scholar --- Entry: Young musician showing potential c. grade 5.
  2. Archbishop’s Organ Scholar --- An advanced level for highly skilled young organists. (N.B. these titles could be varied according to each denomination.)
  • ensure that two professional organ teachers one of whom shall be the teacher and the other an organist appointed by the Trustees, will interview applicants for the Scholarship Trust scheme. The selection decision shall be made by these two professional organists.
  • ensure that the selection of both the teaching instrument and the practice instrument shall be determined by the designated organ teacher.
  • determine the number of scholarships which will be available for Organ Scholars in training.
  • provide funding for a maximum period of usually five years for each scholarship.
  • provide scholarship awards of £1000 per annum for each Young Organ Scholar, which shall be used for tuition fees and/or practice fees only.



The Trust will work in association with the Area RSCM Committee. The Trustees shall appoint a group to deal with the day-to-day administration of the Trust consisting of a Secretary, Treasurer and two professional organists who will not be beneficiaries of the Trust. This Administration Group will be  responsible to, and report to the Trustees. This group will report to the RSCM Area Committee from time to time.

The Trust shall appoint professional organists as Trust Supervisors whose role it is to:

  • Agree the appointment of Scholars together with the organ teacher
  • To meet parents and acquaint them with the purposes of the Trust
  • To liaise with parents and scholars from time to time to review progress
  • To liaise with parents, scholars and teachers should any difficulty arise.

Costs and Funding

The funding of the work of the Trust will be resourced by Dr Martin Clarke. Other funding may be sought as the occasion or the need arises. Accounts will be administered by the Trust separately from the RSCM Area accounts.

Trust Status

The Trust is in the name of Dr. Martin Clarke who will provide its funding. There are three Trustees namely Dr. Martin Clarke, Revd. Canon Peter Moger and Mr. Christopher Cowell.

Ensuring fairness in all parts of our Area

We are fortunate in having professional teachers in all part of the North and East Yorkshire area:

i.e. Whitby, Ampleforth, Beverley, Bridlington, Selby and York. The Trust will endeavour to appoint young organ scholars in as many of these places as is possible.


Our Expectations of Scholars

When scholars are judged to be ready by their teacher they should be able to play at local churches for special occasions such as harvest festivals, patronal festivals etc.

Scholars must work hard and show progress. It will be the responsibility of the teacher to contact the Trust’s Scholarship Supervisor if it is felt that a particular scholar requires a warning regarding lack of commitment or progress.


Termination of Scholarships

In the event of a scholarship being terminated for any reason, the Organ Teacher and Trust Supervisor shall make arrangements for interviews to appoint another scholar.


Annual Young Organist of the Year Competition

Annually the Trust will organize a Young Organist of the Year Competition which normally will be held each summer  in York Minster. Dr. Martin Clarke will award a prize of £1000 to the winner.

This event will form part of the Organ Day when young people will be invited to come to the Minster to learn about the Organ and church music.


If you wish to make contact with the Trust please note that Chris Cowell’s contact details are as follows.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: 01937 558819



Next meeting

Date of Next Meeting - Wednesday 22nd November 2017 at the Wentworth Arms, Old Malton - 7.30pm.


Events calendar

September 2017
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