The organ studio at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music is a limited enrollment program that prepares students for success in multifaceted careers. Ken Cowan oversees the program and teaches private lessons to all organ majors, as well as courses in Organ Literature, Liturgical Organ Playing, Accompanying, and Keyboard Harmony. Esteemed colleagues Mario Aschauer (Sam Houston State University), Richard Erickson (Christ the King Lutheran Church; Houston Bach Society) Robert Simpson (Christ Church Cathedral; Houston Chamber Choir), and teach additional courses in Harpsichord/continuo, Improvisation, Church Music Seminars (including choral conducting, program management, and service playing skills). In addition, visiting artists from around the world regularly give masterclasses and recitals.
Students perform on the renowned Fisk-Rosales organ in Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall in a weekly performance class, special studio recitals and degree recitals. This landmark instrument is reserved exclusively for lessons, practice, and performance. Additional performance opportunities give students exposure to a variety of excellent local organs in contrasting historical styles. Students are encouraged to supplement their studies with work in churches and synagogues in Houston, the 4th largest city in the US.