Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Monday, September 6, 2010

Talking about approaches to teaching elementary music can sometimes resemble a discussion about religion! My purpose here is to share a way that's worked for me and not to bash another approach. In fairness, here's an email I recently received. Elementary music teaching is a big world. Orff-Schulwerk is the area I'm exploring, but it's not the only part of the universe. Dive in. The water's fine. Here's an email comment from one of my readers:

You have a very interesting blog. I've enjoyed reading your posts. I have to comment on the one about Kodaly. I hope you will look further into this approach. Just as there are many different interpretations of Orff-Schulwerk, there are just as many different and varied Kodaly-inspired interpretations.

Movement is a huge part of Kodaly teaching. Lois Choksy has a book of 120 Singing Games and Dances, and Kodaly teachers use materials by the New England Dancing Masters, Sanna Longden, and many, many others. Kodaly teachers also use instruments in their classrooms. Orff instruments, guitars, autoharps, dulcimers, and recorders are among some that they use, not only to accompany themselves, but, also as hands-on experiences for their students. Of course, just like anything else, it varies from teacher to teacher.

One thing I discovered, when I did my Kodaly training, I thought the approach was a very strict sequence that must be adhered to. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were encouraged to use a sequence that worked best for us and our students, taking into account our own particular situations. There are as many different Kodaly sequences as there are Kodaly teachers. How each individual teacher decides to prepare, present, and practice the concepts, and the order in which they do so, is entirely up to that teacher.

If a teacher wants freedom and flexibility, he can have that, whether using Orff or Kodaly. I hope you will continue to read and learn about the Kodaly approach, and encourage any of your readers to do the same!

Mike Jones
Orff Level III, Hamline University
Kodaly Level III, Drake Univeristy