It’s hard to believe that I’ve been teaching general music for 5 years, and never made it to an Orff workshop until last weekend. What took me so long? It was great. 4 hours of singing, dancing and playing all the fun instruments. I even got a few good ideas to use in class.
The first activity we did was to learn a song by rote, then break off and sing it in canon, as we held hands in a circle and stepped in and out of the circle. We were then broken into smaller groups, and, using the step in-step out move as an inspiration, created a dance to go with the song. Each group performed their dance for the “class”, then we did them together as we sung in canon. Granted, this went very smoothly with a brand new song because we were all music teachers – if you were to do this in a classroom, it has to be a song they know well. They should be able to sing it together, and in canon, before they add the movements. However, if you were to take out the canon part all together, it is an activity that could be done in one or two classes.
The song that was used for this activity was one that was written by the presenter. In fact, most of the music in the workshop was written by her. I do find this to be a little odd, maybe it’s my Kodály training, but I would rather use quality music to teach with, and not necessarily a newly composed song. Not that her songs weren’t lovely, but I feel that one of my responsibilities as a music teacher is to expose children to quality music that they don’t know, so that the music will live on for more generations. If we music teachers don’t teach these traditional songs to people, than they will be lost forever. What do you think? What types of music do you teach in your classroom?