About Me


I am a certified Orff-Schulwerk elementary music teacher, teaching in an urban school. I switched from secondary to elementary music teaching in 2006 and it's been the best move (not financially! ) of my career. If you want to have major impact on students concerning music education, elementary is where it is happening. Disclaimer: The topics in my blog do not necessarily reflect what is happening in my current teaching position or with my current students, administration etc. I have a long teaching history and may chose to deal with an element or problem that I have witnessed or experienced in a previous school or have seen being dealt with by other teachers I have encountered...so there!

A Generic Orff Sequence Outline

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Sunday, November 7, 2010

It helps to have a map, but as long as you keep in mind your destination, musical understanding, it's ok to take detours and meander. If you just need a decent map to get you started, here's mine. Remember to always begin with speech and/or movement.

Generic Orff Sequence

Hear it (audiation)
Say it
Feel it (movement/body percussion)
Sing it
Play it
Accompany it (drones and ostinati)
Expand/Improvise it (add to the form and create)

 

A Great Time of Year for Listening to Classics

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween, whether or not you care to emphasis it, is a great time for listening and moving to some of the "spooky" classics. It's time to bring out "The Hall of the Mountain King", "Danse Macabre", "Funeral for a Marionette", and of course, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor".  Listening at the elementary level doesn't mean sitting passively and staring at the music room walls. There are free teacher made visuals in Po...


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Elementary Music and Grades

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Sunday, October 10, 2010

I assess my students constantly, but I believe grades are unnecessary, despite the fact that I'm required to give them. 
I don’t trust District and State assessments. I haven’t seen one that measures how well a student has learned to play/sing their own part in an ensemble. I’ve never seen a test question that measures a student’s ability to improvise vocally, instrumentally or in movement. Where is the question ...


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I Get Mail

February 6, 2012

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...


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Rules and Procedures in a Musical Way

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Monday, August 2, 2010

Some new teachers get concerned when they hear that a principal wants teachers to concentrate on rules and procedures the first week of school. Chill. Rules shouldn’t take long.No more than 4 or 5  classroom “rules” , and they could be along the line of: 1. Keep hands and objects to yourself (Head and shoulders knees and toes song) 2.Raise your hand to speak and wait for permission(Chicken on the fencepost can’t da...


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Hand Signs and TiTi's

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Monday, July 19, 2010

Curwen hand signs and Kodaly's rhythm syllables are not part of Orff-Schulwerk, though I've seen some Orff instructors use both. In theory I'm opposed to using both, especially at the K-1 level. K-1 children are concrete thinkers. Give them something real and not something abstract such as a TA. They wouldn't recognize a TA if it walked up and tapped them on the arm. They would recognize a peach or a bee. If the goal is tea...


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No, I Don't Hate Tech, I Just Love Music Making More

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Sunday, July 18, 2010

I stumbled upon a teacher's blog where there was posted a discussion about using technology in music class. I jotted down my comments, some of which were not glowing about the wonders of technology in music class. That teacher seemed to be quite put out with me but he/she got the wrong impression. I do use technology in the class including my IPod, hand held recorder, document camera, Air Slates, laptop and digital projecto...


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The Orff Approach is like......

February 6, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Friday, July 16, 2010

The Orff Approach is like teaching a kid to swim. You don't first sit them down with a book and tell them to read it and learn the terminology. With Orff, you put the kid in the water first. You have the whole process of swimming broken down into elemental pieces and start with the easiest and build on it until the kid is swimming. They learn to hold their breath and make bubbles in the water. Learning is a game. They play ...


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The Kodaly Side

February 5, 2012

Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Friday, July 16, 2010

I took a slight detour in my personal study today. I picked up a book that was a freebie in a box of teacher materials. It was The Kodaly Method by Lois Choksy. Her report of music in Hungary in the early 70's was fascinating. If only my classes met 5 to 6 times each a week. She believes that we can get a somewhat similar result by teaching a modified version of the Hungarian curriculum, using American folk songs as the bas...


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What I Learned in Level III Orff-Schulwerk

February 5, 2012

What I Learned in Level III

Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Monday, July 12, 2010

Well, I'm officially certified in Orff-Schulwerk. That means I know enough about the approach it to be dangerous! My Level III instructors did a great job in dealing with process and sequence, which is really what attracted me to Orff-Schulwerk in the first place..no it wasn't identifying Lydian modes and playing the recorder, although I improved at both. I was pleased to find out that no matter how badly ...


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