Sharing Wisdom

Echos From the Past

Getting Started By Pat Brown Reprinted from The Orff Echo, Summer 1987 The end of summer brings forth a crop of new Orff Schulwerk teachers, fairly exploding with enthusiasm, energy, and new ideas, eager to get to work with their students. This column will offer suggestions for materials which experienced teachers have found to be… Read more »

Echoes From the Past

Orff Schulwerk: Where Did it Come From? By Esther Gray Sometimes Orff teachers or students area asked “What is Orff?” or “What does Orff stand for?” Those questions can be hard to answer, because Orff is many different things. Kids in an Orff class often sing and do movement. In some classes they do plays,… Read more »

Before There Was AOSA, Part 2

Before There Was AOSA PART II: The Orff Movement during the 1950s and ‘60s While America was experiencing transformational social, political, and educational changes during the middle decades of the 20th century, Music Educators National Conference (now renamed National Association for Music Education) was engaged in efforts to develop cultural relations and facilitate cultural exchanges… Read more »

Before There Was AOSA

Before There Was AOSA Part I: Socio-economic, Political and Educational Climate On May 11, 2018, AOSA will celebrate a milestone in its history. On that date fifty years ago, a small group of Orff enthusiasts gathered at the home of Arnold Burkhart in Muncie, Indiana to develop plans for a Midwestern Convocation on Orff-Schulwerk. Before… Read more »

Why Attend Local Chapter Workshops?

There is nothing quite like walking into a school on a Saturday morning and being greeted by those familiar sites and sounds of an Orff Schulwerk chapter workshop! There are so many benefits to attending these local workshops. What follows are just some of the reasons I go to chapter workshops. NETWORKING – Workshops are… Read more »

How Level One Training Changed Me Forever

Last summer I got my heart broken open. It flew into a million glittering pieces and lay shimmering in shock on the floor for all to see. I had never seen my heart like this before….raw pulsating beauty, open, exposed, free. I looked at it, all of it scattered everywhere and realized, there is no… Read more »

Teaching Creatively to Teach Creativity

Ah, remember September and October? Those blissful months when possibilities seemed infinite. The pressure of presenting programs seemed to be in the distant future. You and the students were getting to know each other in playful ways. Activities were full of exploration. Energy was high, and there was plenty of time ahead to improve skills… Read more »

One Life Lesson

I never could have anticipated the ways in which my training and work with Orff Schulwerk would impact my day-to-day life after retirement. Having recently retired and nearly immediately taken on the responsibility of caring for my elderly mother, I have become aware of how fortunate I am to be able to draw upon a… Read more »

Catch Them Being Good

Everything I learned about classroom management, I learned from my students. My first teaching job – in the days before free and reduced price lunch – was in a school where children came to school hungry. English was not spoken at home and programs to help students transition into an English-speaking world were in their… Read more »

ART Works

In describing the five volumes of Music for Children, Eberhard Preussner stated, “It makes a decisive contribution to the development of modern music education. It enables progress from the educational to the artistic to be made without a break, or rather that from the beginning art and education are bound together as one unity, from… Read more »

Teaching Movement Backward and Forward

What are some tips to avoid behavior problems and ensure the joy of movement in class? You might want to use a backward and forward thought process. BACKWARD First imagine the kinds of behaviors and abilities you would like your children to achieve. What concepts and skills are desirable? You will want them to move… Read more »

Play What You Sing, Sing What You Play

Would you like to know the secret of effective music education? One that makes sense for children? Something that gives them—and anyone—power to continue making music on their own? Something in short one-syllable words that doesn’t require 25 steps to memorize? I’m quite happy to share my secret with you: Play What You Sing, Sing… Read more »

Classroom Management and Orff Schulwerk in Urban Settings

Many urban teachers shy away from employing Orff Schulwerk in their classrooms because of classroom management issues. When you add up crowded and insufficient settings, lack of adequate materials, and dealing with children who’s needs are challenging to address, some teachers may elect to pass up one of the greatest approaches to teaching and learning…. Read more »

Related Pathways: Orff, Kodály, Dalcroze, and Gordon

A confession: When I was asked to write something for the WISDOM BLOG, I had to admit that I was not aware of this part of the AOSA website, and I found the invitation to share WISDOM somewhat intimidating. However, my fears were soon brought to rest and I agreed to write about a topic… Read more »

How do you create a safe environment in the classroom?

How do you create a “safe environment” in the music classroom? This is so important and is hardly ever referenced in any kind of teacher training. And this also ties in with other, universal questions about student discipline. The answer is complex…you might want to get comfortable. THE UNSPOKEN RULE: This all begins with YOU and a… Read more »

Improvisation and Orff Schulwerk

The following post was first shared at the Meeting of the Minds panel discussion on the topic of improvisation at the 2014 AOSA Professional Development Conference in Nashville Tennessee. What I hope you will take away from my remarks today is that – even if Carl Orff had never existed – improvisation ought to be… Read more »

Jo Ella Hug

When the Spark Feels Dim

Sooner or later in the yearly life of conscientious music teachers, a time of feeling flat arrives. It’s kind of like a carbonated beverage that has lost its fizz. To weather the episode(s), it helps to understand why this happens and what may be required to get on the other side of feeling uninspired in… Read more »

Beth Melin Nelson

Reflect and Refine: A Realistic Approach to a new School Year

I distinctly remember the start of my first school year after taking Level I. Armed with two weeks of Orff Schulwerk education, I was eager to recreate these experiences in my own classroom. I wanted to provide my students with meaningful Orff Schulwerk lessons that flowed with the same seamless artistry that had been modeled… Read more »

Carol Erion

It’s Summer Ear-Cleaning Time!

You’re in your car, stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly, for no good reason at all, a melody from the 5th grade spring concert starts running inside your head. And it stays there until you arrive at your destination. Wakeful at night, one of the songs the 2nd graders were singing last October pops into… Read more »

Karen Benson, Honorary Membership

Blues and Jazz in the Music and Movement Classroom

Blues and Jazz are American genres of music with deep roots that reach to rich traditions. Most secondary and collegiate level schools have jazz ensembles and jazz studies programs. However, elementary and middle school vocal programs are sometimes limited in experiences that enrich students in these styles of music. Perhaps you’ve heard or even made… Read more »

Carol Huffman

Cooperative Learning Strategies

Thinking about Orff Schulwerk – and teaching students and teachers how to incorporate this approach into developing 21st century skills – has been a life-long goal of mine. You say, “But 21st century skills have just emerged.” In theory, they have always been part of our Orff Schulwerk approach from the very beginning.  It is… Read more »

Julie Scott

A Blog on Singing

For the last 10-15 years, I have been pondering, studying, and presenting workshops about singing in Orff Schulwerk. I even wrote a dissertation titled: “Orff Schulwerk Teacher Educators’ Beliefs about Singing.” My impetus for exploring this topic came from being in a state of “cognitive dissonance” about singing in Orff Schulwerk, something psychologist Kendra Cherry… Read more »

Middle School Music is Fun! Really!

If you are lucky enough to teach middle school music, you will never be bored guiding and working with this age group. These unique adolescents will embrace your program and ideas with enthusiasm. Their honesty, incredible energy, and brilliant ideas make all of their unusual idiosyncrasies worth it. I am fortunate to teach general music… Read more »

Indulge, venture

Aah. Summer break is finally here. It’s a time to relax, refresh, rejuvenate, rekindle your spirit, or challenge your mind. Rediscover the joy. Explore your creativity. Take the long way. Dive into (immerse yourself in) (explore) a culture new to you. These days the world is a click away. Listen to music, taste the food,… Read more »