The Sharing Session on August 2 showed how much the students learned in such a short time. Their excitement to demonstrate all they learned was so clear and provided the audience with fantastic and engaging performances showing all that can be accomplished when using the Orff approach.
Our Chapter was also proud to offer two President's Awards this summer for one student in each of the levels. Our recipients this year were Deanna Robillard (Level 1) and Kyla Prystupa (Level 2). Here are each of their thoughts on the Orff Certification experience:
Orff Level I 2019: Summer Student Reflection
By Deanna Robillard
Going into my first music position in September, I have been feeling nervous about my ability to support my students and provide them with a high-quality music education experience. Since completing this course, that nervousness has been replaced with excitement and confidence about my potential as a new music teacher. I am excited to share my experience with you in hopes of inspiring more people to take part in this career inspiring course.
A typical day in Orff Level I involved the twenty-six of us dancing, singing, playing games, playing instruments, writing music, practicing recorder, collaborating in small ensembles, and ending the day in glorious song during choral hour. Each day flew by in a cloud of laughter and enjoyment as we were inspired time and time again by the quality instruction and inspiring techniques that were modelled to us. Although it took some time to complete the many assignments, each one was meaningful and was something that could be taken straight into our own classrooms. Something I did not expect was my joy in learning recorder. Recorder has never been my favorite instrument to play or teach, however with her patience and clear passion, Wendy was able to spark a new enjoyment inside me towards the possibilities of the recorder in the music classroom and in my own life. The amount of support that was provided to us made the entire experience seem effortless and truly the most significant experience thus far in my teaching career.
The most valuable thing that I learned from this course is the emphasis on, as Sue Harvie likes to say, F-U-N. Each lesson that was demonstrated to us promoted smiles on our faces and the desire to participate. A group favorite of ours became our intense rap battle which would teach children the notes names on the staff in an extremely fun and engaging way. You could see how each lesson would provide students with an enjoyable experience that would not only teach them the valuable music concepts, but also foster a love of music. Of course, during the first few days we all held onto our hesitations and insecurities, however with each new activity you could feel that tension let go. The community that was promoted during our daily classes, with collaborative games, music making, and purposeful learning was extremely inspiring. Although we were only together for two short weeks, we became so close and comfortable with one another. I could feel a sense of support and trust that was developed as a result of both Sue and Heather’s openness, kindness, and excitement over the musical experiences we shared. This created a strong parallel for me for what I want to see in my own music classroom.
Not only has this course provided me with tools and resources to better meet the needs of my students, but also with a community of colleagues whom I look forward to collaborating with as I move through my teaching career. I want to send a huge thank you to Wendy, our kind-hearted recorder instructor, Kim, our enthusiastic movement coach, and Sue and Heather, our beyond energetic and compassionate teaching models. They were able to create an environment of pure joy and passion around the teaching of music and modeled incredible techniques which I am excited to incorporate into my own teaching practice. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for an inspiring summer experience, and the chance to work with some pretty incredible people who will push you beyond what you thought you were capable of as a music teacher.
Alberta Orff President’s Scholarship Reflection
By: Kyla Prystupa
I recently completed Level 2 of the Orff Schulwerk approach at the University of Alberta. Over the course of 10 days we learned the alto recorder and re-visited the soprano recorder. We expanded our knowledge in movement to include structured folk dances. In pedagogy we continued to create orchestrations, but added elements such as a moving bordun, and I-V and I-IV-V harmonization for melodies. I enjoyed creating and presenting lessons in pedagogy that focused on the use of Orff Schulwerk through active participation (moving, body percussion, singing and playing non-pitched and pitched instruments).
Level 2 has provided me with a deeper understanding of music theory as well as how to bring in all aspects of the Orff Schulwerk approach to my teaching.