At Magic Years International School, we offer the music programme based on the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education, in which teacher and students interact as partners in music-making. Singing, moving, dancing and playing instruments are treated as regular ensemble experiences. The Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education was carefully chosen in order to closely reflect the type of hands-on learning practices in the classroom. The Orff-Schulwerk allows for active music-making for all age-groups and abilities, along with a historical and theoretical music education. This approach builds musicianship through the integration of music, movement, speech, and drama.
In music classes, we begin with what the children do naturally: play, imitate, experiment, problem-solve, and express themselves in a natural way. Singing and playing the musical instruments, along with movement and dance, are combined with dramatic elements in order for the students to see the music as an expression of the human experience. Moreover, the visual and creative arts are also integrated in the music learning environment. Visual and performing arts affect our emotions and senses. We can listen to the music or look at the artwork to inspire our movement. Music is the artful thinking of sounds organized in rhythms, melodies, harmonies, texture, forms, and timbre. Similarly, art elements are visualized with color, form, design, and texture.
Teaching music with traditional methods often start by focusing on the technical steps of instrumental playing and notation reading. Interestingly, in our Orff-Schulwerk music class, we start with what children do best – move, play, say, sing. Through imitating, exploring, experimenting, creating, and improvising, the children enjoy learning music with a deeper understanding with music through play. Adding movement, game, drama, the visual arts makes the musical learning experience be more creative and artful. The children chant and sing their favorite rhymes and children’s songs while they play the musical instruments with steady beats. Some of them may imitate the teacher’s playing or feel the inner beat and are able to present through playing the instruments. Then they take ownership of musical understanding when they make the connection with the songs and visualize the musical elements on their artwork.