Lead your students in the Orff Approach and allow them to encounter, experience, and create music in an intuitive way. By removing the emphasis on performance and placing it on exploration, children and other Orff students have greater freedom to deeply create. Orff Schulwerk builds off of Carl Orff’s belief that percussive rhythm is a basic form of human expression and unifies speech, drama, music, and movement. The improvements seen by the Orff Approach expand beyond increased musicality and can include improved dexterity and breathing. For this reason, the Orff methods have spread outside of the realm of children to help students with special needs and the elderly.
As a child, Carl Orff was more fascinated with creating and composing music than studying to perform it. With the aid of his mother, Orff learned composing by studying classical masterworks. Many of his musical compositions, including his most notable “Carmina Burana,” are greatly influenced by German poetry.
Carl Orff’s interest in elemental music was influenced by the unity of arts as symbolized by the Greek muses. He took this integrated approach to learning and music and began to develop theories about music education. His ideas took root in Dorothee Günther who saw a lack in education concerning movement and creativity. She opened the Günther-Schule in 1924 in Germany which became the first place to teach what would ultimately become the Orff Approach.
Gunild Keetman was a student at Günther-Schule who later became a teacher there. The Orff Schulwerk was only being taught to older students and Keetman began to develop methods to use it with a younger audience. The Günther-Schule was confiscated by the Nazis in World War II and was then obliterated in an Allied bombing. After the war, Orff and Keetman began working together again in the production of a series of radio programs for children. This programming led to the five volume work, “Music for Children,” which is still widely used today.
Today the Orff Schulwerk has spread throughout the world with associations in America, Austria, Korea, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Canada, South Africa, and elsewhere. The goal is for teachers to create an environment similar to the one a child plays in so that they can comfortably explore without feeling that they are being evaluated. Unlike other methods like Simply Music or the Suzuki Method which have a step by step foundation, the Orff Approach focuses on building interest in creativity and thinking which can ultimately lead to group or individual performances. In America, the four stages of the Orff Approach are imitation, exploration, improvisation, and composition. The American Orff-Schulwerk Association certifies teachers using a three level program. Throughout the world, “Music for Children,” is still used by teachers to facilitate the Orff Approach.
Woodwind and Brasswind offers an extensive collection of Orff instruments including glockenspiels, xylophones, and metallophones. Choose from popular brands like Lyons, Studio 49, Sonar, and Rhythm Band. Some of the instruments even come in multi-colored designs to enhance childrens’ interest. Purchase an item like the Lyons 9-piece Orff Instrument Set and begin fostering explorative and communal interest in your classroom or daycare.