Orff Reading and Research Assignment

I read an article from the Music Educators Journal titled “The Orff System in Today’s World” by Marion Flagg. It was an interesting article that started explaining their interpretation of the Orff process. The author described the Orff approach to teaching rhythm as connected to speech patterns and transferring that to hand and arm motions, and then transferring this to the instruments. They then go on to explain their interpretation of the Orff approach to teaching tonality. Flagg explains that it follows and outlines the development of tonality throughout history. The system starts with the minor third (sol and mi) and then moves to adding the sixth scale degree (la). From here it adds more and more pitches and reflects history’s development of tonality. Near the end of the article the author then expresses the opinion that the Orff system is outdated and has no place in our modern day music education. The author believes that because the students are exposed to so much different music before entering into music classes in school that this system moves too slowly and limits the students to older tonalities that are far behind what the students are already used to.

I was rather surprised by the tone of this article in reference to the roll of the Orff system in today’s music education. I personally do not agree that this system has no place in our teaching in the modern day. I think that the author is thinking of how the Orff system was used in Germany in the 1950’s, and naturally that would seem outdated. We, as modern day music educators need to make sure that we are adapting out teaching to our students. This important regardless of whether we are adapting to generational differences or cultural differences, and regardless of what system of teaching we are using, whether that be Orff-based, Kodály-based, or any other system of teaching. I think that the Orff process is a wonderful system to use and I think it is definitely a good system to adapt in our teaching and use it to teach our students music. The other ideas presented in the article were interesting in their own ways as well. I thought that it was very interesting that Flagg’s interpretation of the Orff’s process of teaching tonality outlined and regulated history’s development of tonality because I had never heard that idea before. I’m not sure that there is much of an argument behind that, but I do find it an interesting interpretation nonetheless. I did think that the author’s suggestion that the Orff process’ approach to teaching rhythm as related to speech and physical movement was spot on. I see that process used very often in the teaching of teachers who use the Orff process. I also find this a wonderful way to teach rhythms by relating it to something familiar (speech), and then utilizing the body in movements to help develop the kinesthetic aspects of the rhythm to set up the students well before putting this on the instruments.

The online web source that I used to research about the Orff system was the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) website. There is a tab as part of this website under the “About” drop down menu, that is titled “What is Orff Schulwerk?”. There is a paragraph there that explains the basics of the Orff system. This paragraph explains that the Orff system focuses on the ideas of creation and exploration. There were also several videos included in this section, and one these was a video aiming to explain some general ideas of the Orff system through how she uses it in her classroom. This video shows clips of a music classroom where the Orff process is used. It also shows the teacher of this class explaining the general ideas of her teaching in an Orff style in an interview-style way. She focuses a great deal on the idea of creation by the students and movement in the classroom. She explains that both of these are very important because they are elements of music making that the students can have a sense of ownership over. This connects the students to their music education more and makes it more personal and relatable. There was also a point in the video when the teacher was developing rhythmic ideas through the use of speech. This connects with what was expressed in the previously mentioned article, which expressed the idea that the Orff system teaches rhythm through speech.

I found this source to be incredibly useful. The paragraph in the “What is Orff Schulwerk?” tab emphasized the importance of creating and experimenting in a music classroom, and I very much feel that this is an important and effective way in teaching children music. They feel a sense of ownership on what they are creating, and this is helps them connect with them music more than they otherwise would. The video also expressed many thoughts about music educational approaches that I very much agreed with. It mentioned and demonstrated the importance of creation (like the paragraph did), movement, and teaching rhythms in an organic way. I feel that movement is an incredibly important aspect of music education. Music and movement go together naturally, and it helps the students internalize the music as well as experience it in a kinesthetic way. I also feel that teaching rhythms through some organic way such as through speech and words that are common to the students like this teacher did is a wonderful and effective way of teaching the concept.

The specific webpage that I got the information from American Orff-Schulwerk Association can be found at this url: <http://aosa.org/about/what-is-orff-schulwerk/&gt;. The video that went along with it can also be found at that web address, but I have also included here in this post:

The url for the article that I found from the Music Educators Journal is: <http://mej.sagepub.com/content/53/2/30.full.pdf+html&gt;. However, I have a membership for the National Association for Music Education, I don’t know if this link can only be fully accessed with a membership, so I have also included the article here:
Music Educators Journal-1966-Flagg-30


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