On January 29th, 2022, Dr. Jody Stark shared with us her approach to combining the pedagogies of Orff and Kodály in our music classrooms.
Dr. Stark led teachers through a series of engaging activities for both Div I and Div II that foster exploration and creativity, while also focusing on scaffolding to a deeper understanding of musical elements such as rhythm, meter, form, melody, and harmony. The concepts were all explored through brilliant repertoire from an original arrangement of a Shel Silverstein poem to an adaptation of a short selection form the Orff & Keetman Music for Children volumes, as well as a gorgeous arrangement of a French folk song.
Not only were participants gifted with a wealth of musical activities to explore with our students, but because of Dr. Stark’s wizardry in walking between both Orff and Kodály so seamlessly, we experienced the magic of how both pedagogies work together to enrich one another, offering “the best of both worlds” for our students.
On October 30th, 2021, Dr. Kathy Robinson and Kim Friesen-Wiens presented a fantastic workshop, “Faces, Spaces, and Places,” pushing music educators to challenge our Eurocentric views of music education and to honour the many voices that exist within our classrooms.
Each thoughtfully planned activity Kathy and Kim walked us through encouraged participants to consider the lived experiences of their students, allowing for a deeper connection to our communities, and celebrating the diversity within our schools. The repertoire and literature covered an incredibly wide range of cultures, languages, and religions. Beyond being challenged to push our own boundaries, teachers were grateful to be able to take away a plethora of rich activities and ideas to implement in their own classrooms.
On January 25, 2020, our local Chapter welcomed Manitoba's own Dawn Muir for a workshop called Jamaica Play. Coming off a deep freeze in Edmonton, we were extremely happy for ideas for our classrooms that took us away to the warm and sunny shores of Jamaica!
Dawn started the workshop with some familiar circle activities with a few new surprises! As the teacher, playing a catchy rhythm on the conga "reinvents" some classic songs such as "Punchinello" and "Bluebird". It was nice to have some ideas on how to use rocks/bean bags, solo movement and partner clapping to accompany songs in circle formation.
Participants were introduced to a song "Chicken and Hawk" which provided the foundation for a series of activities-- amazing! Some of the different ideas that participants tried out were: call and response improvisation, creating word patterns and body percussion, using non pitched percussion, creating a drumming ensemble and adding movement groups.
Dawn also shared some literacy and music connections using the classic book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. As educators, we understand the importance of cross curricular connections. It was nice having some ideas on how to create movement representing the different animals while choosing a fitting piece of music as a listening activity for students based on the book.
One of the highlights during the day was listening to the participants create beautiful accompaniments to "Water Come A Me Eye" and "Day-o". Dawn shared accompaniments that included recorder, I-V-I and I-IV-V accompaniments and percussion accompaniment on claves, grater, maracas, conga.
Dawn also shared some ideas on how adding dramatization to songs can allow children's creativity to shine. Songs like "Linstead Market", "Tingalayo" and "Anancy and Brother Tiger" can be used to bring together vocal, percussion and movement qualities. A shout out to the brave teachers who demonstrated their own creative actions and dance moves during these activities!
Our thanks go out to Dawn Muir for allowing us all to discover a bit of her world through music and for providing us with a day full of singing, playing and moving... in the Jamaican Way!
On September 28, 2019, the Alberta Orff Chapter welcomed Artie Almeida to present for our members. Many of us were familiar with Artie's Mallet Madness series, but she blew us out of the water with her diverse array of materials for singing, moving and instruments.
Throughout the workshop, participants learned engaging and accessible activities for students in all elementary grades. Some of the amazing ideas Artie showed us where: how to use low cost props (like paper/plastic plates or sports equipment from your phys ed department) to teach listening and beat keeping, using cumulative actions to entice reluctant singers and how to introduce opera to even your youngest students in the most a-meow-zing way! The materials from her workshop were mostly pulled from her resources: "Percussion Parade", "Woods, Metals, Shakers, Skins-Hoop Group Activities" and "Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My!"
It was such a treat for us to learn from Artie! The activities from her workshop were so fun and accessible and we have heard from many teachers that they have tried lots of the activities already with great success.
For more information on Artie Almeida, please check out: http://www.artiealmeida.com
This workshop also hosted a fundraiser for Vision 2020, our National Orff Conference, which will be held in our hometown, Edmonton, AB, this upcoming April. Chapter members helped by purchasing specially selected books to use in the music classroom. Thanks for Tim Paetkau and Lorna Walker who worked on gathering the books and creating lessons to go with them as well as working the sale.
For more information on Vision 2020, please check out: http://www.orffvision2020.ca
On September 9, our local chapter welcomed teachers, new and experienced, to a FREE workshop with Diane Shieron.
This workshop was designed to give teachers a "taste" of what Orff is all about. Diane encompassed that in her 2 hour session by giving participants experiences with singing, moving, playing and speaking.
Participants were treated to activities suitable for Division 1 and 2. Throughout the evening, participants learned how to use body percussion in "Get to Know" games, helped tell a story by using non pitched percussion to represent characters with different rhythms and learned how to accompany a song with a chord bordun. Some participants even got to take a ride on the wild side and lived their best life by being zoo animals!
Our thanks goes out to the amazing Diane Shieron for yet another wonderful session. Her enthusiasm had our participants laughing, creating and making memories the whole night. It was truly inspiring to see a room full of eager teachers wanting to incorporate Orff into their music practice.
"Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand." - Carl Orff
A big BRAVO goes to all of the Level 1 and 2 Orff Certification students who worked amazingly hard during 2 weeks this past July. Students were fortunate to learn and study under the incredible team of Robert de Frece, Sue Harvie and Heather Nail for pedagogy and ensemble, Kim Friesen Wiens for movement and recorder with Wendy Rae.
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.
Alberta Orff Blog
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