Orff Schulwerk is a music education method I first learned in 1993 as a music education major at West Chester University. In a class called Elementary Methods, we dove into the teaching techniques and methods of Zoltan Kodaly, Emile Jaques Dalcroze and Carl Orff. We also worked tirelessly to learn, understand and apply the Educational Psychology and Cognitive Development methods and theories of Abraham Maslow, Benjamin Bloom, Jean Piaget and Howard Gardener
I truly enjoyed my experiences with Kodaly and Dalcroze lessons and incorporate their fundamentals into almost everything I create but Orff Schulwerk spoke to me in a musical language I had never encountered before. A language where music concepts made complete sense to me. A language where movement, dance and the written word made the music come to life. A language that gave me freedom to learn how I learn, create how I create and explore within the lesson criteria in an enjoyable, fun and educationally rich manner. I loved connecting with my fellow classmates, learning from their creative brains, working toward our common goals and laughing with them, countlessly.
I love the Orff Schulwerk environment! It’s a positive space that promotes wonder and exploration, where participants have the capability of feeling accomplished and confident, no matter their level of musical knowledge. It’s a space where music skills are a sensory experience of active participation, centered around unpitched percussion (metals, shakers, drums and woods), pitched percussion (xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels), movement, dance, rhyme and flow. It’s an atmosphere where everyone’s input is necessary, valuable and wanted. It’s the method that made me into the music teacher I became in 1995, the singer/songwriter I became in 2002 and the backbone to everything in Music Monkey Jungle.