About Orff Music Education
Orff Schulwerk is an approach to music education developed by Carl Orff. Using percussion instruments, movement, games, singing, and movement, children learn of their own innate musical talents in a way that is immediately successful and rewarding. Imitation and exploration lead to improvisation and music literacy.
Orff Schulwek is built on the idea that a child must be able to feel and make rhythms and melodies before being called on to read and write music. Orff believed that a child internalizes and develops ownership of a concept by experiencing the concept before it is put into words. In the same way that a child learns to speak before learning to read and write, he or she must have a musical language in which to feel at home before technical knowledge is introduced.
Experience first, then intellectualize.
Elemental music is never just music. It is bound up with movement, dance and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one must participate, in which one is involved not as a listener but as a co-performer.
About Carl Orff
Carl Orff (1895 – 1982) was a German composer who created an approach to music education that is now used around the world. Between 1950 and 1954, Orff and his collegue, Gunild Keetman, wrote the five-volume Music for Children that is the basis of Orff program used by teachers today.
Orff viewed rhythm as the basic element inherent in music, dance, and speech and created 'one language' based on this common element. Improvisation and creation were at the center of his teaching. He used the voice as the first and most natural of instruments and made the ostinato (a repeated rhythmic, spoken or sung pattern) serve as the form-giving element in all improvisations.
At the core of Carl Orff's work is a kind of musical expression that is able to speak to children without the loss of musical integrity. Therein lies its significance and its genius.