Teacher Education Courses
It would be difficult to imagine Washington Charter School without its award winning, highly respected music program, led by our teacher who is trained in the Orff Schulwerk approach.Our students are actively making music by playing instruments, singing, and moving. During music classes, students work cooperatively and learn the importance of valuing and respecting their classmates. Our music program incorporates what is being learned in the classroom as well. For many students, learning through song, poem, rhyme, or movement makes learning real and brings mastery to difficult subject matter. With hands-on experience, playing a variety of pitched and unpitched instruments, our students experience success and the desire to continue their study of music in years to come. They are inquisitive, critical thinkers because of our Orff program. I am convinced that music education based on the Orff Schulwerk approach, has contributed to the academic success of our school.”
Allan Lehmann, Principal
Washington Charter School
Palm Desert, California 92260
A common result of public school education is a loss of creative thought. Orff Schulwerk encourages students to be creative and engages them in the creative process. Through Orff Schulwerk, creative thought is cultivated and honored. My dream is to move the creative thought from music to art, and into movement in physical education. The Orff Schulwerk philosophy can be the basis for creative writing, scientific thought, and math problem solving.”
Douglas Wilson, Principal
Carolyn S. Reedom Elementary School
Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV.
The sixteen years that I served as an elementary principal provided me with many positive and lasting memories. Among the most rewarding was the good fortune to spend fifteen years in schools where students had a music program utilizing Orff Schulwerk. The benefits of this approach were immediately evident whenever I would walk into a music class regardless of the grade level. The students were actively engaged and could demonstrate they understood the concepts being taught. This was also true when the instruments were used to deepen the students’ understanding of the concepts being taught in Social Studies and other subjects. Students labeled as discipline problems, when engaged in Orff Schulwerk activities led by a trained caring teacher, were frequently transformed into the stars of school performances with renewed feelings of efficacy. A conference (National School Boards Association) which I recently attended featured the author Daniel Pink whose book, A Whole New Mind, describes preparing students for their future and not our past. In his book and presentation he describes the need to develop the left side of the brain as continuing to be necessary but not sufficient for the challenges of the future. The degree to which the right side of the brain is developed as a complement to the development of the left side will have a major impact on whether students will have the creativity needed to compete in a global economy and address future social issues. In his presentation he described how 50% of the incoming freshmen at Georgia Tech have strong music backgrounds. While it may not be possible to provide all students with a vocal or instrumental music background that prepares them for recitals, it is possible to provide them with an approach to music instruction that is engaging. The Orff Schulwerk approach to music instruction is engaging and has the potential to stimulate the development of student creativity and unlock a broad range of possibilities.
William B. Stroud, Ed.D
Assistant Professor, Interim Co-Director Educational Leadership Program
St. John Fisher College
Rochester, New York
The AOSA Conference in Birmingham could be a model for conferences for other disciplines. I was so impressed with the AOSA Conference because participants were able to learn on so many different levels. Opportunities to sing, dance, clap and make music kept everyone involved whether they were a novice or the most accomplished music instructor in the room. Participants were able to continue the learning by using the wonderful resources that included websites and lesson outlines to be available for use after the conference. Thank you for including me in such a valuable event!
Dr. Rosalyn D. Spivey, Assistant Principal
Vestavia Hills Elementary at Liberty Park
Vestavia Hills, Alabama
Using the Orff Schulwerk teaching approach is a vital component in helping to create a well-rounded child who is successful academically as well as in the arts. Incorporating the music and movement not only helps students learn to create, understand and enjoy their musical experiences, it also helps them to form new synapses in the brain. When both sides of the brain are engaged—such as in dance and playing instruments—learning is stimulated and internalized at a much deeper level. Combining the musical and academic experiences helps to strengthen abilities in all subject areas, and fosters a lifelong love of music and the arts.
Candy Howard, Principal
South Belt Elementary
Pasadena Independent School District
During my first year as an elementary music teacher I was introduced and drawn to the Orff Schulwerk Approach. Shortly thereafter I began to pursue certification, ultimately receiving Masters Level Certification. I can personally testify to the positive benefits of this approach as I have experienced it firsthand.
The Orff Schulwerk Approach is unique in that it encompasses the total child. Children are guided to experience music through speech, singing, movement, playing instruments, listening and creating…activities that are enjoyable and natural in childhood play. These positive experiences are sequential and provide the opportunity for immediate success. Yet, as children progress, the skill level increases in rigor allowing students to master the content standards which lead to the ultimate goal of Musical Literacy (reading and understanding).
As a Music Supervisor and Director of Arts Education, I strongly support and encourage all of our elementary music teachers in their efforts to receive Orff Certification. The benefits are well worth the commitment.
Director of Arts Education
Jefferson County School System
Until I took a levels course, I really didn’t get it. I thought I was doing everything right. My undergraduate training showed me that there was only one way…until I learned about Orff. After taking Level I and Level II, I still don’t feel like I have mastered what I do, however, I feel like I am approaching my students in the best way for them to learn to become musical beings. I watch them be creative and inventive in everything they do and develop their own musicianship. I am also developing my own musicianship and finding a way to challenge myself. I am excited to complete my Orff education with Level III very soon.
My career as a teacher has been profoundly influenced by the three summers that I spent in Orff level training. Each course enabled me to see the sequential patterns in our curriculum. It allowed me to view improvisation as a necessary and exciting part of the students’ musical experiences, rather than a terrifying lack of control on my part. The courses encouraged me to process carefully, invite creativity and always engage the students in each and every valuable lesson.
Levels courses completely changed the way I teach. I became much more aware of the process of teaching and not just the outcome of my lessons. Level I gave me a great deal of materials to use in my lessons. Level II stretched me musically and helped me grow as a teacher and musician. Level II gave me the confidence to come up with my own lesson ideas incorporating the Orff process. I would not be the teacher I am today if it had not been for the excellent training I received through the Levels courses. I look forward to taking Level III this summer.
Benefits like local chapter workshops, the amazing national conference, The Orff Echo, and training scholarship funds make AOSA membership a must for me as a music educator.
AOSA is valuable to me because of the nationwide network of passionate music educators I am connected with, plus an amazing group of lifelong friends. Membership in AOSA allows me to attend an annual conference with nationally and internationally known clinicians that I would no have the opportunity to learn from at the state level.
Membership in AOSA allows me access to an invaluable Professional Learning Community. In this climate of high stakes testing and data driven decision making, it is good to keep in constant contact with the humanity and child-centric goals of the Schulwerk. The isolation of teaching music can be daunting, but membership in AOSA keeps me energized and focused on the critical role music plays in every child’s life.
AOSA is valuable to me because it fully supports my philosophy of teaching. In providing quality professional development to so many across the states, the national annual conference also allows us to gather and share our own experiences. This has been one of the most valuable experiences as a member of AOSA. I have gathered many ideas and concepts through discourse with members from other parts of the country at conference and this was all made possible by membership through AOSA.
How cool is it to be with thousands of other people who believe that what you do has value! That’s what happens when you go to AOSA conference! Whether we see our students every day or once a week; whether we have 18 Kindergarteners or 47 in a class; whether we teach in Texas or Tennessee…we all have a wonderful commonality…Orff Schulwerk. And that gives us the opportunity to share ideas and experiences that build on the quality of our teaching. This is what AOSA has done and continues to do for me!
AOSA helps me maintain connections with other Orff teachers; having the opportunity to collaborate with them in a field where colleagues may be few and far between is invaluable.
Being a member of AOSA provides me with bargain prices on many regional and national conventions featuring expert Orff teachers and presenters.
AOSA is filled with smart, open, creative, caring and energetic music education professionals who inspire me to be my best.
Membership in AOSA allows me to stay connected and professionally invigorated through excellent professional development and community. Although I am the only elementary general music teacher in my small district, I have my AOSA community!
AOSA connects me with thoughtful, dedicated, creative music educators around the country… community of colleagues to share ideas, challenge one another and support one another.
AOSA is valuable to me because it has allowed me to develop my skill set, knowledge, performance, and confidence as a music educator. I am not sure this would have happened so quickly in my career (as I am only a 3rd year teacher) without the American Orff-Schulwerk Association.
Membership in AOSA provides me the opportunity to apply for multiple grants and scholarships. AOSA helps support continued teacher education, providing instruments for schools in need, as well as many other project opportunities.
Membership in AOSA provides me many resources to help support my classroom. AOSA provides me with The Orff Echo publication containing scholarly and research articles. Membership in AOSA also gives me access to an on-line publication, Reverberations which contains teaching resources as well as news relating to Orff-Schulwerk.
Membership in AOSA provides me the opportunity to network with other educators from around the country. That opportunity to network is also reinforced at the amazing professional development conference that AOSA has every November.
Membership in AOSA provides me a wonderful community of music teachers, professional development opportunities with national and international clinicians that inspire and motivate me, and access to current research in music education.
Membership in AOSA is valuable to me because this is the organization that supports what I believe; the Orff Approach is the best way to deliver instruction in the general music classroom.