Music Education through Orff Schulwerk

Music Education through Orff Schulwerk

Orff Schulwerk is a unique approach to music education created by composer Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. Orff and Keetman's collaboration began in the 1930s and the dynamic approach to music education continues to develop today and is used in many leading music education programmes around the world.
The approach makes connections with the way children naturally play using songs, dances, rhymes, stories, clapping, and other active music making activities. Language and movement underpin the instrument work.

It is a music education for all ages and abilities. The music programme is carefully structured to allow children to work at different levels of challenge within the same lesson with success for all.

The approach provides a strong foundation for any further musical study as well as encouraging children to make music part of their lives outside of and beyond their primary school years.

As Sofia Lopez-Ibor, (Orff Schulwerk educator at the San Francisco School), says: the aim of an Orff Schulwerk music programme is for children to leave primary school with the same enthusiasm and excitement about their musicality as when they entered as five year olds and for them to be happy and willing to make music wherever they may be.

Here is Doug Goodkin, world leading Orff Schulwerk music educator at San Francisco School, doing a TED talk about the importance of a music education for all, "everyone is a musical being...."

Everyone is a musical being: Doug Goodkin TED talk


Kia Ora and Welcome to my Teaching Blog.

This year I am joining Angela Campbell at Eastern Hutt School as an Orff Schulwerk music teacher. Eastern Hutt School is unique in the Wellington region to have a well established Orff Schulwerk specialist music programme, established and developed by Angela over the last 10 years. Angela has a wealth of experience in Orff Schulwerk, she has studied with Doug Goodkin in Salzburg and she completed her level 1 Orff training at the San Francisco school. I first began working with Angela 8 years ago when I was a general classroom teacher at Eastern Hutt School. I have since had three children of my own and have worked closely with Angela to develop my own Orff Schulwerk teaching as well as completing my own Orff Schulwerk training and study at postgraduate level. Music is a big part of my family life and I have used the Orff Schulwerk approach as part of my children's own music education. I will use this blog to share information and resources with teachers and parents and to share some of the students' music making. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

Marimba Playing

Marimba Playing
Drawing by Charlotte Prebble

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Term One: Junior Music Sessions: Year 0 - Year 2

I have had a wonderful time with the juniors this term exploring and discovering the elements of music through listening, singing, dancing, musical games, and percussion play.  

We have been building a rich repertoire of songs that we can sing confidently and a number of simple partner and circle dances, games, and clapping/body percussion pieces.  Some of our favourites include: Sally Go Round the Sun, We Say Hello, A Let a Go Go, I Wanna be a Friend of Yours, Old King Glory, and Johnny Brown.
From: 'Starting School' by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
We have been listening to music from around the world including Africa, Australia, and Russia and talked about the places and people who make this music.  We have responded to the pieces with movement to get the feel of the different styles and rhythms they use.  We have explored movement using scarves and have listened carefully to see if the music tells us to jump, swirl, skip, walk, run, or crawl slowly.  You can see Room C3 doing some different movements on their classroom blog:

We are learning there are many different styles of music in the world and they all make us want to move in different ways.  We are also learning that there are always stories behind the songs and music about the people and places they come from.

From 'Rhymes for Annie Rose' by Shirley Hughes
We have had lots of fun with poems like Davy Davy Dumpling, African chants like Bala Pata Zum and Awa, and nonsense rhymes like Tamminy Mamminy Ma.    We have clapped and patted the rhythms of words and then tried the patterns on different percussion instruments.  We have used the word play to explore different rhythms and contrasts in tempo ie. fast and slow and dynamics ie. loud and soft.  

We have talked about how our voices are the first instrument we learn to use and how we all have one of these we can use to make music anywhere and anytime.  Singing as a group is fun and makes us feel good.

“songs are one of the glues of cohesive culture.  A room full of people that know the same songs not only make an important personal connection, but a vital cultural one as well.” 
(From ‘Play, Sing, and Dance’ by Doug Goodkin, p.31).

We have explored keeping the beat with our bodies and also with shakers, claves, and bucket drums.  Rooms E6 and E7 have posted some small videos of us keeping the beat in different ways.
And you can also check out some lovely photos of D1 doing bucket drumming and using the tuned percussion in our Orff Orchestra too

In the last few weeks of the term we have also started getting to know the instruments in our Orff Orchestra.  We are very lucky at Eastern Hutt School to have the chance to play in an Orff Orchestra that has marimba, xylophones, metallaphones, glockenspiels, and even a contrabass C.  We have been learning about scales, the musical alphabet and how to find some of the different notes.  We have been learning how to hold our beaters and play the instruments with them.

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