On Saturday, October 5, members of the Alberta Chapter of Carl Orff Canada were treated to a workshop “Viva la Musica!” presented by Brian Hiller and Don Dupont. This was a much anticipated workshop by members of the Alberta Chapter. Alberta’s own Bob deFrece was Brian and Don’s Orff instructor and we could see many aspects “Bob” in their approach to music education.
The workshop started with an original piece created by Don and Brian entitled “Viva la Musica!” which included an Orff orchestration, three part recorder interlude, percussion parts with a Latin flair, speech and a dance! This piece could be useful as a September activity for division two students, as it highlights almost every aspect of Orff media and celebrates the joy in creating music together.
Brian and Don included a variety of pieces from the “Music for Children” volumes. They encouraged teachers to work with the volumes by adapting small chunks of the material for easy use for their students. A piece titled “Simple Simon” highlighted ABA form, body percussion and the creative implementation of non-pitched percussion in small groups.
Brian and Don infused their orff curriculum with musical literacy “moments” to help students experience conceptual elements in diverse ways (movement, playing instruments, singing). The train song “Jubilee” included body motions to label half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes. In the traditional song “Alley Alley-Oh”, we experienced
the difference between 4/4 time and 6/8 time through playing with words and body percussion, and then applied our knowledge by performing movement, singing and playing the song in 6/8 time.
Another highlight of the workshop were songs geared towards division one students. “Bubble Bath”, intended for kindergarten, started as a movement activity and morphed into a wordless exploration of the Orff instruments. “One for the Money” reinforced the concept of rondo form, allowing students to make up movement to go with familiar rhymes.
Brian and Don provided many practical teaching suggestions throughout the workshop. Teachers gasped at the brilliance of the rhyme “Hand on top, hand below, gently lift and there you go!” for removing bars off instruments. Equally amazing was the demonstration of how to easily form a double circle: Number off as 1’s and 2’s around the circle, then ones put their right hand on the two’s shoulder and wordlessly step into the circle! Simply magical for the elementary classroom!
Throughout the workshop Brian and Don modeled attention to detail when presenting songs to students and careful planning and “troubleshooting” in their “process”. Before you knew it, the workshop was over, and we had effortlessly spent hours immersed in the process of music making. Many thanks to Brian and Don for making this a beautiful experience for all participants and sharing their love of making music together!
by Rosaleen Kulba
Alberta Orff Blog
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