Carl Orff Approach

Carl Orff (July 10, 1895 – March 29, 1982) was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burin (1937) He also developed an influential method of music education for children and named it Orff Schulwerk.

Orff-Schulwerk is a child-centered approach to music education, which uses songs, dances, rhymes, clapping games, poetry, stories and theatrical gesture drawn from the imaginative and cultural world of the child. Such material forms a starting point for teaching and learning activities and as a basis for exploring musical skills and concepts in an imaginative way.

Within the musical activities children explore the use of tuned and untuned musical instruments and body percussion to play simple repetitive patterns, melodies and rhythms. The Orff approach uses simple scales and repetitive accompaniments which allows children to quickly succeed in making meaningful music.

The Orff Schulwerk approach to teaching music has taken off in New Zealand in the last ten years. In order to be trained as an Orff Shulwerk Music Teacher, educators must complete an internationally credited course of 36 hours of intensive practical workshops and examinations. Recently we have been very fortunate to have Orff Schulwerk Lectures come to New Zealand to provide training due to the ONZA (Orff New Zealand Aotearoa) organisation being set up in New Zealand.