More Learning through Orff Schulwerk Music Classroom

“Elemental music is never just music.  It’s bound up with movement, dance and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one music participate, in which one is involved not as a listener but as a co-performer.” – Carl Orff-

The Orff Schulwerk, this approach to learning, developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, builds musicianship through singing, playing instruments, speech, and movement.  Active music making is the core of this philosophy, supporting both the conceptual and affective development of children.  Active learners develop more thorough and better long-term understanding of the material and ideas involved. Children who regularly improvise and create their own dances and musical settings are uniquely prepared to solve problems in many other contexts.  


In MY music classrooms, students begin with what they do instinctively: PLAY! –play with the rhythm, play with the music.  Imitation, experimentation, and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, involved, socialized, life-long learners/musicians maybe and creative problem solvers.  Orff Schulwerk Approach contributes to development of the individual far beyond specific skills and understandings in the arts.  These skills and procedures have a wider application and value in several areas:

  • Intellectual: The critical-thinking and problem-solving tasks involved in Orff Schulwerk call upon both linear and intuitive intellectual capacities.  The carrying out of creative ideas calls upon organizational abilities as well as artistic knowledge and skill.
  • Social: Orff Schulwerk is a group model, requiring the cooperative interaction of everyone involved, including the instructor. It is important that artistic development occurs within a satisfying and supportive human environment.  Tolerance, helpfulness, patience, and other cooperative attitudes must be cultivated consciously.  The ensemble setting requires sensitivity to the total group and awareness of the role of each individual within it.  Problem solving, improvisation, and the group composing process provide opportunities for developing leadership.
  • Emotional: The artistic media involved—music and movement—provide the individual with avenues for non-verbal expression of emotions.  The exploration and improvisation activities can provide a focus for emotions, a means for release of tension and frustration, and a vehicle for the enhancement of self-esteem.
  • Aesthetic: As knowledge of and skills in music and movement grow, students will have opportunities to develop standards of what is considered “good” within the styles being explored.

We apply the Orff’s philosophy of music education to MY because it supports the IB learner profile, attitudes and skills within our music programme.  You may find more about how the children learn through music and art with Doug Goodkin, an internationally recognized teacher of Orff Schulwerk and my teacher in USA and Austria, from his TEDTalk.  Enjoy the Show!

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