Purpose & Special Features

The purpose of this website is to serve as a convenient, user-friendly resource for music educators of grades K-8, who are interested in using the Orff-Schulwerk approach.

On this blog/website you will find special features such as website & video links, an online comments section for sharing opportunities, links to free public domain Orff arrangements, copyright information, and a list of favorite resources submitted by research participants, and other resources to assist teachers.

Also provided is background information on the origin and purpose of Orff-Schulwerk, a comprehensive list of links to some of the most popular educational Orff-Schuwerk websites and music stores, links to related methodologies used in conjunction with Orff-Schulwerk (for independent study) such as Dalcroze, Orff, and Kodaly methods, photos and videos of Orff-Schulwerk in the music classroom, and various classroom set-ups), a books and resources tab with links to free materials, lesson plans and teaching suggestions, a NAFME link containing the National Standards for Music Education, and a tab for Orff-Schulwerk with technology ideas.

While searching for Orff materials for my classroom, I discovered that many music selections that my students and I would like to use and play is often not readily available or easy to find. Fellow music teachers and I have shared our frustrations at finding popular music selections, or the common occurrence of purchasing a book of resources, to discover that only one or two selections is suitable for our students.

Music educators with limited time, resources, funds, and experience may be deterred from researching, finding, and using Orff-Schulwerk in their music classrooms. Additionally limited funds for purchasing materials sometimes leads to (often unintentional) illegal photocopying of teaching materials. These practices compromise our purpose as educators as well as legal and financial well-being.

There are misconceptions that Orff-Schulwerk is a methodology in which teachers must maintain strict adherence to its concepts and procedures, and/or its music should only be taught by rote. However, it was Carl Orff’s original intention that his approach provides teachers with the freedom to improvise and use the Schulwerk as they desire, in order to meet the needs of their students.

Modern educational practices requires more time to be spent planning toward delivering instruction through the teaching of music reading skills from the commencement of their music education as well as instrumental technique, repertoire, and movement to ensure success at grade level benchmarks. These educational practices have taught music educators that students of all ages are capable of learning music reading and writing skills. Children can not only learn and develop essential music skills through the use of Orff-Schulwerk, but also learn to express themselves freely and confidently, while experiencing the enjoyment through singing, playing, and movement to music.

It is with these concerns and needs in mind, that I have created this website. Its purpose is to provide easily accessible Orff resources, lesson plans, teaching tools, and licensed music arrangements written by music educators, as well as other valuable Orff-Schulwerk and music education websites, so that music educators can use them (legally and effectively) to meet the needs of their music classrooms.

There are many factors to consider when searching for Orff-Schulwerk materials, similar to any other teaching materials. Some considerations are as follows:

Guidelines for Class Preparation and Choosing Orff Materials

1. Consider the size of the classroom. Is there room for instruments and movement?

2. Take an inventory of instruments. What is the number of students versus the number of instruments?

3. Are there enough pitched and/or non-pitched instruments to at least share between two students?

4. Are instruments in playable condition, and if so, do they have B-flat and F-sharp bars?)

5. Take and inventory of the music. Consider the music program budget and instrument costs. What will it cost to purchase instruments and/or music/materials?

6. Is the music legally purchased or arranged? (Do not photocopy music that is copyrighted.  Look for free public domain music or Orff and technology resources that give permission to photocopy or license for multiple users/computers. Public domain music can be arranged or shared without obtaining copyright permission/licensing from the publisher. Contact the publisher (via their website) of a piece you want to arrange to obtain copyright/licensing procedures prior to arranging/performing the work. Under some circumstances, you may be permitted under “standard educational practices,” to write and use your arrangements in the classroom.  If you intend to share or sell your arrangements, you will have to pay licensing fees to the publisher, so make certain the costs are within your school district and/or personal budget.

7. How much time can be allotted in the school curriculum for Orff instruction?
(How long are the lessons (in class minutes or number of days) in the book(s)?

8. Is the material school & age appropriate? Some materials contain old language that now has a different or even profane connotation from its intended meaning. Some outdated language was found in an original Orff-Schulwerk volume and another more modern book. Choose age appropriate music (melodies within students’ vocal age range & rhythmic/melodic difficulty).

9. Does the book(s) have reproducible scores, parts or multiple keys? Choose arrangements in pentatonic keys/modes, C Maj, or F/G if you have Bb & F# bars for your instruments.

10. Be certain that students are able to clap, play, and sing basic rhythms and melodies prior to their introduction to Orff instruments (try “air” playing or “mock” instruments first.

11. Instruct students in proper safety and care of instruments.

12. Keep instrumentation and parts simple, and remember that the Orff-Schulwerk approach gives the teacher freedom to tailor the lesson(s) to the needs of his/her classroom.

13. Teach a layered approach, starting with non-pitched instruments; play basic rhythms, add chords, then melody, then ornamentation, then add improvisation.

Information on this page was retrieved from the research: Orff For All: A Collection of Convenient Resources for Music Educators, by Cari Shaffer, November 25, 2012.


5 Responses to Purpose & Special Features

  1. judy rodgers says:

    so I have been stalking your progress and this looks fantastic!!! congratulations on wonderful product!!

  2. Martina says:

    I’ll spread the word about your blog to my friends-nice work!

  3. This is a great resource. Keep up the great work!

  4. elizatrick says:

    Hi Cari,
    Do you have the complete arrangement of Simple Gifts? I would love to use it!
    Thank you,
    Lisa Barnes

  5. Thanks for including a link to my site. I have linked back to you. Keep spreading the “Orff” message!


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