Teacher Ideas

Tips and Tricks from Level II

At the beginning of August 2015 I completed my Level II training for Orff-Schulwerk.  The two weeks I spent at Miami University completing this has just flown by.  I was lucky enough to have the wonderful Deanna Stark as my Level II teacher.  I was also overwhelmed by the amazing 8 other participants in my classes.  Needless to say it was awesome! Or as Deanna would say “Dang Guys” (in a southern Memphis accent!)

Being around so many talented teachers, I was bound to pick up a few tips and tricks along the way.  The following is a collection of said tips and tricks that I found useful!

“The Mountain Story”

When working at the barred instruments, I always have trouble with my students saying “which part is the top part?” Especially in the younger grades they are still learning to listen and figure the answer out.  But, luckily I now have a wonderful story to help them remember. I heard this from Deanna Stark, and it goes something like this, (you will need a barred instrument to help tell the tale)

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful mountain.  On this mountain there were trees, flowers, animals, and even snow!  This mountain was so tall that it had snow on the top all year long.  It was way up high in the sky. Can you point to the top of the mountain? Is that the high part?  At the bottom of the mountain there were caves and rivers.  Can you point to the bottom of the mountain?  If the top was high, what would this part be? (low)  Point to the top/high. Point to the bottom/low. (repeat for emphasis.  One day there was a terrible earthquake! And all of a sudden the mountain fell on it’s side!  But, being the smart students that you are I bet you can still tell which part of the mountain is the top and which part is the bottom?  Point to the top. Point to the bottom.  (repeat for emphasis) The mountain was still beautiful, it was just sideways now! The End

Finger Cymbal Cookies

This trick is supposed to help younger students play the finger cymbals in the correct way, but who says all students can’t use this technique in elementary school.  For finger cymbal “cookies”,  the student will hold one finger cymbal the correct way (by the strap)  then they will grasp the second cymbal with their fingers.  To play, the student taps the grasped finger cymbal onto the cymbal that is being held by the strap, as if they were dunking a cookie into a glass of milk.

Bordun Dance Game

When teaching older students about different bordun types, they can sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of borduns they are learning.  This helpful tip will help them to keep all the different types straight.  Once a bordun type is taught you can do the bordun dance.  It is similar to the “YMCA” dance because all you have to do is use your arms.

The teacher calls out a bordun and the students respond by showing that bordun type in the air.  For “chord” they would play both mallets at the same time.  For “cross-over”  the students would cross their mallets over one another in the air.  The teacher can repeat each bordun as many times as they like, make a pattern, or even put music to it to make it a real dance.

Shout out to my lovely ladies who I completed both Level I and Level II with!!! It was awesome working with you guys!!!

Next week I start school, so be on the lookout for a new post (hopefully I will have time!) about all the wonderful new things I’m doing this year.  Enjoy your first days of school!

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