Building Musicianship and More…In Every Learner

Releasing creativity that extends far beyond the music classroom, Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman conceived an approach to building musicianship in every learner through the integration of music, movement, speech, and drama.

A Teaching Model for Optimal Learning

In Orff Schulwerk classrooms, children begin with what they do instinctively: play! Imitation, experimentation, and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, life-long musicians and creative problem solvers. The Orff approach to teaching is a model for optimal learning in 21st Century classrooms.

We recognize that these videos give just a glimpse of the Orff Schulwerk approach in action, and that there are many, many ways that educators across the country and around the world have used this approach to inspire students in different and equally unique ways.

Listen to More Orff Classrooms

With Orff Schulwerk, no classroom experience is ever the same. Listen to a few samples.

This multi-cultural chant was used in a cross-curricular unit highlighting food and nutrition for young children. The students chant and move to show understanding of phrase structure, create simple, beat-based clap/pat patterns, and end with a statue pose of their own design. Text:

Báte, báte, chocolate,
Con arroz y con tomate.
Uno, dos, tres, cho,
Uno, dos, tres, co,
Uno, dos, tres, la,
Uno dos, tres, te,
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, hey!

LuAnn Hayes, Music Specialist
Junior Kindergarten Music Class
Kentucky Country Day School
“Tongue Twister”
This original composition was created and performed by two fifth grade students. The assignment was: write a tongue twister based on a visual prompt, identify the natural rhythm of the words in the tongue twister, and collaborate with a partner to create a speech/percussion piece. The students also added a formal structure by creating a canon.

Texts for tongue twisters:
Weird witches watching wool watches.
Witches fighting over weird watches.

John Buschiazzo,
Music Specialist
John Swett Elementary, Martinez CA
Tongue Twister
“Rainy Day” by Izzy D
The student composer created an original pentatonic melody for soprano recorder. Her peers shared the task to create an arrangement for the melody using: elemental form, interludes, bordun, complementary ostinati patterns, and instrumental sound-scape to support the melody. The class also created choreography for the final performance. Chris Judah-Lauder
Middle School Music Teacher
Good Shepherd Episcopal School, Dallas TX
Rainy Day
“Water Come a Me Eye”
While engaged in a world music unit students explored: body percussion patterns; melodic and rhythmic patterns; improvised rhythm patterns (cajón); 16th note subdivision (shaker); and a spontaneous improvised tag ending (steel drum soloist). Dave Thaxton
Music Teacher
Diedrichsen Elementary School, Sparks NVphoto