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 a fantastic way to network with the other music educators in your area. You meet new friends (and gleefully reconnect with the old familiar ones) as you sing, move, and play with one another. You will discover an incredible support system that you can call on for just about any challenge that you face in your teaching. Exchange email addresses and stay in touch between workshops. Share resources. Exchange lessons. Ask for advice. Celebrate your successes. And have lunch together after the next workshop!
VARIETY OF FLAVORS – Workshops are the best way to get a taste of all the different flavors of the Orff approach. Every teacher is different, and each has a unique way of creating music with children specific to their own passions. Some clinicians are passionate about composing with children. Some have decades of experience working in inclusive classrooms. Others are masterful at incorporating movement or literature or recorder improvisation – the list goes on! Each clinician has a wealth of knowledge to offer. Local chapter workshops are the perfect opportunity to get a taste of the variety of teaching styles within our Orff community. You never know when you’ll stumble across your kindred spirit.
RECONNECT, REFRESH, REFLECT – Remember that first summer course? Remember that sizzling excitement that radiated from your teacher brain as you discovered this new way of making music with children? It is all too easy to come home, go back to school, and feel the glow begin to fade as the school year stress sets in…until you go to a local workshop! These workshops strengthen your individual personal connection with the Schulwerk. They are like small meals that sustain you throughout the year between the big feasts: national conference or a certification course. Each workshop gives you that much needed opportunity to refresh your spirit and reflect upon your teaching process. Being with a like-minded community can help you reconnect to the powerful experience you had when you first discovered the Schulwerk.
PUSH YOURSELF – As educators, we are expected to engage in professional development on a regular basis. Attending local workshops is one of the best ways to challenge yourself as a teacher. In addition to getting a plethora of tried and true lesson ideas, you’ll get to observe how a master teacher processes an activity, a song, a skill, an instrumental piece, etc. Upon returning to your own classroom, you have a wonderful opportunity to find a way to use those ideas to improve your own teaching through better planning, using a new management strategy, or with improved musical technique. If you are really lucky, you might live in close proximity to several chapters. Keep a lookout for their workshop titles. Sometimes you get lucky and there is a workshop that focuses on exactly the topic you are looking for!