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What holds up your Orff program?

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

A look into “The Three Pillars of the Orff-Schulwerk” by Bethany Elsworth

In a time of such uncertainty it is important to surround ourselves with a known platform from which to work. As we enter a new year we seek to generate a strong foundation to ground our beliefs before embarking on writing our programs and devising our activities. Clarifying the philosophical underpinnings that inform our way of working offers rigour in our processes. The more we understand our reason for using this approach the more we prepare ourselves to engage musically and artistically within the complexity of the ever-changing moment.

One of the most meaningful issues published by the IOSFS was the

Orff-Schulwerk Informationen – Three Pillars of Orff-Schulwerk (issue 87) Winter 2012.

Regularly returning to the pages of this issue gives me a sense of purpose and aids my own direction in teaching. Each time I gather new information from the various articles, based on the particular circumstance and environment I find myself teaching. In today’s climate, I find myself fixated on the words of Professor Wolfgang Hartmann (p.13):

1. For Orff, it is not music and dance education that is at the centre, but the development of the personality of the child that develops through it.

2. Without certain artistic demands one cannot speak of Orff-Schulwerk.

3. The concept of Orff-Schulwerk and the reality we find in schools often need well thought out compromises.

During recent years, there has been a constant need to adapt and alter teaching processes to adhere to government health policies and regulations. Often school administrators convey the need to ‘focus on social-emotional learning rather than the academic side of education.’ There is a security in knowing that the Orff-Schulwerk approach contains a humanistic, artistic and scholastic aspect (p.6) that frames our practice. Laying down a path that guides the student through a developmental journey that expands their humanity and sense of being, is an overarching goal of our work as users of the Orff-Schulwerk. Embracing the concept of the Three Pillars reassures me that our natural way of working attends to the varying needs of the child, whatever situation we find ourselves teaching within.

Human encounters can occur in many ways. Together, as an Orff community we can support each other to keep this creative music and dance approach alive. Become a member of our blog community. Challenge, question and grow your own beliefs about this approach through reading and connecting in dialogue.

The IOSFS Social Media Committee invites you to delve into the pages of this issue and consider the supports that assist your own teaching practice at this time?

What holds up your Orff program?


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