What is YOST?

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Our pledge is to:

  • Secure the highest possible standard of organ teaching available in each area, through qualified professional organ teachers in our cathedrals or greater churches
  • Teach Young Organ Scholars the skills of accompanying choirs and congregations and leading divine worship including accompanying Psalms, anthems and hymns and extemporising
  • Include tuition promoting understanding of the ways in which music can enrich worship
  • Ensure that Young Organ Scholars have access to the best possible practice instruments
  • Give Organ Scholars, when they are ready, the experience of accompanying services in churches which have no regular organist

At all times, we will ensure the highest standards of Safeguarding for our organ scholars and teachers through the Trust's Safeguarding Team. Our Safeguarding policy has been formulated using the RSCM's policy.

How does YOST work?

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Through donations from Benefactors, Friends and Members, YOST will:

  • provide funding for Scholarship awards for a Young Organ Scholar to be taught for the first year and, depending on the financial circumstances of the parent, where necessary over several years, the award being used for tuition fees and/or practice instrument fees only
  • ensure the quality of teachers with the necessary qualifications and Safeguarding clearances
  • promote a scholarship scheme consisting of two levels:
    • Young Organ Scholar - an entry level scheme, developing young musicians who already show potential on the piano, usually at around ABRSM Grade 5 standard
    • Higher Organ Scholar - an advanced level for highly skilled young organists
  • ensure that the selection process for recipients of the Scholarships is undertaken by two professional organists
  • ensure that the selection of teaching and practice instruments is undertaken by two professional organists
  • provide organ teaching for a maximum period usually of five years for each Scholarship
  • appoint both a Teacher and a Supervisor attached to each Organ Scholar

Scholarship Supervisors

In liaison with the RSCM and the RCO, the Trust will appoint professional organists of high standing as Scholarship Supervisors whose role is to:

  • advise on the selection and appointment of Scholars
  • sanction the appointment of Organ Teachers
  • sanction the selection of practice instruments
  • meet parents and acquaint them with the purposes of the Trust
  • liaise with parents and Organ Scholars from time to time to review progress
  • liaise with parents, Organ Scholars and Teachers should any difficulties arise

Expectations of Organ Scholars

When Scholars are judged to be ready by their Teacher they will be given the opportunity and requirement to play at suitable local churches for particular services. Scholars must work hard and demonstrate progress to retain their Scholarship. It will be the responsibility of the teacher to contact the Trust's Scholarship Supervisor if it is felt that a particular Scholar requires awarning regarding lack of commitment or progress.

Annual National Young Organist of the Year Competition

The Trust will organise a National Young Organist of the Year Competition annually from 2017 in which all Organ Scholars on the scheme may compete. The final round of the Competition will usually be held on the organ of York Minster, and Trust Friends and Benefactors, Members, Sponsors, Organ Scholars and parents will be invited to learn about the organ and church music. Dr Martin Clarke will award a prize of £1000 to the winner of the Competition.

Termination of Scholarships

In the event of a Scholarship being terminated for any reason, the Organ Teacher and Trust Scholarship Supervisor will make arrangements for interviews to appoint another Scholar.

Future Development

The Trust's ambitious goal is to establish Organ Scholarships in all areas of the UK by 2021.

Costing and funding

The funding of the work of the Trust is resourced by our Benefactors and Friends, following the generous lead given by Dr Martin Clarke. Grants disbursed by the Trust's Bursar are usually given directly to Teachers.

Visit the Support section to find out how you can become involved.


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A digital prospectus giving full details of YOST.


Download the prospectus


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  • Dr Martin Clarke, Founder
  • Ann Elise Smoot, Chair
  • Professor Peter Toyne, CBE, Chairman, The Friends of Cathedral Music
  • Simon Williams
  • Hugh Morris
  • Michael Nicholas
  • Hugh Benham
  • Terence Duffy
  • Robert Sharpe
  • Jason Kelly

Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Christopher Cowell


Trust Secretary:
Polly Sharpe

Safeguarding Officer:
Andrew Sykes
Deputy Safeguarding Officer:
Sue Tagert

Safeguarding Consultant:
Rosemary Field
(Dep. Dir. RSCM)
National Scholarship Supervisor:
Stephen Maltby