Orff Schulwerk is a music education method I first learned about in 1993, as a music education major enrolled in a class called Elementary Methods. In this class, we dove into the teaching techniques and music education methods of Kodaly, Dalcroze and Orff.
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, explore within the lesson criteria in an enjoyable, fun and educationally rich manner.
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 an environment 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 environment where everyone’s input is necessary, valuable and wanted. It’s the method that made me into the music teacher I became in 1995 and the singer/songwriter I became in 2002.
Every original song, dance and game I’ve created and composed has Orff Schulwerk weaved throughout its reasons for being written. I look forward to sharing those reasons with you in live performance and/or conversation.