This September turned out to be a very busy month for the Alberta Orff Chapter after having workshops with both Bob de Frece and Chris Judah-Lauder. Chris presented on Saturday September 30th to a number of very appreciative music teachers at Elizabeth Finch School.
Chris began the day with a brief overview of some tried and true management strategies and procedures for the music classroom. Workshop participants then went straight into a movement activity that allowed everyone to be creative on their own terms. Using a very cool piece by Bobby McFerrin teachers were put into groups of 5-7 in a triangle shape. Rotating allowed the points of the triangle to shine and put a very novel spin on shadowing as a movement activity.
Chris then progressed to a recorder activity using rotating concentric circles. Using an already known piece as a foundation, the process of question and answer was developed. It was gratifying to hear how great recorders can sound if used in such a motivating and collaborative way. The opportunity to share with different members of the group was made efficient and comfortable through the rotation of the outer circle. This activity easily reminds us how beautiful and useful the recorder can be in the music classroom.
Boomwhackers were next on the agenda and front and centre in the exploration of ostinato. Using one tube per person and tubes that fall within the C pentatonic scale, a set of ostinati were layered in and out. The easy sound production of the boomwhackers set within the framework of the pentatonic scale made for some very lovely sounds. The added bonus of being able to use this activity with any instrument made it a very likely candidate for addition to our music instruction in the upcoming weeks.
Rhythm was the focus of the next activity and gave rise to the realization that pizza in Alberta may be a bit different than pizza in Texas. Once past the pizza differences, an activity that went very smoothly from simple to complex was presented. It was great to see rhythm used in such an accessible and engaging way. Watching the different instrumental groups perform was definitely a highlight for many in attendance.
The day rounded out with some dance, some hand drums, and some drum ensemble activities. The unifying thread throughout all of the activities was the creative use of musical concepts within many different musical mediums. It would be safe to say that everyone came away from the workshop with many “aha” moments and a new energy for the weeks ahead.
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