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Orff Schulwerk

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Psychology of music: Cognition · Ability · Training · Emotion


Music education
Treble clef
Major instructional methodologies
Kodály Method - Orff Schulwerk - Dalcroze method - Suzuki method
Instructional settings
General music instruction - Extracurricular - Ensemble

Chorus - Concert band - Marching band - Orchestra

International organizations
International Society for Music Education
International Association for Jazz Education
Organization of Kodaly Educators
National organizations in the United States
National Association for Music Education - Music Teachers National Association - American Choral Directors Association - American String Teachers Association - American School Band Directors Association
Tell me, I forget
show me, I remember
Involve me, I understand.

—Carl Orff

The Orff Schulwerk or Orffschulwerk (or simply the Orff-Approach) is an approach to Music Education for children. It was developed by the German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982), while he was music director of a school of dance and music known as the Günther-Schule, in Munich. He collaborated extensively with Gunild Keetman to fully develop the philosophy. The term 'schulwerk' is the German term for schooling or school work, in this regard in the area of music.

The Orff approach of music education uses very rudimentary forms of everyday activities in the purpose of music creation by young individuals. This includes singing in groups and performing voice instrumental music, rhymes and playing instruments such as the metallophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, and other percussive instruments. The music generated is largely improvisational and original tonal constructions and this builds a sense of confidence and interest in the process of creative thinking. Children also make music together in a group and hence realize the joys of group co-ordination and cohesion. It also involves the participation of other adults and parents in music making. Thus it brings the role of parent in child education in a central position. When interesting original music has been generated by the groups or individual child, then a desire to record it in written format arises. Thus the need to learn writing a score emerges by itself and the child is intrinsically propelled to learn formal music.

Percussive tonal structures are also an integral aspect of Orff Schulwerk. Orff considered the percussive rhythm as a primitive and basic form of human expression. Much orffschulwerk music is based on simple but forceful variations on rhythmic patterns. This makes for very simple and beautiful musical forms, which are easily learned by young children. However, it can also be used for adults. Thus it is universal in appeal. Orffschulwerk is a system of music education which treats music as a basic system like language and believes that just as every child can learn language without formal instruction so can every child learn music in a gentle and friendly approach.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Orff Carl; Keetman G.(1950) Musik für Kinder I. Mainz: Schott.
  • Orff Carl; Keetman G. (1950) Musik für Kinder: Reime und Spiellieder. Mainz: Schott.

External linksEdit

de:Orff-Schulwerk
es:Schulwerk
gl:Schulwerk
nl:Orff-Schulwerk
it:Orff-Schulwerk
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