It had been a few years since taking an Orff Schulwerk teacher education course and I was excited and nervous to finish my levels. I chose to take level 3at the University of Kentucky not only because it was close to home, Cincinnati, but also because it was taught by some of my favorite Orff teachers. Jay Broeker, Cindy Hall, and Sarah Richardson. These 3 amazing teachers inspired and challenged me in ways I could not dream of.
Side note about Orff teacher education: No matter if it is level 1,3, supplements or everything in between, continuing to learn about the Orff Schulwerk is so rewarding. I was asked a question once in an interview, “ on a scale of 1-5 how would you rate your understanding of O.S.?” And I believe that I will forever be at a level 3, with a pretty good knowledge and skill to implement but there is always so much more to learn and do. You can never stop finding new ways to teach and experience music in this process. Maybe a whole post on this at a later date. Ok now back to the real topic at hand.
With 17 other music teachers from all over the country we embarked on this Level 3 journey. Every day we learned pedagogy lessons from Jay. We experienced them ourselves as our students would. Jay did an amazing job at starting each lesson with a simple task or idea and then expanding it into these amazing experiences. One thing I love about sharing ideas with other teachers in the Orff world is that you can pick and choose what you want from a lesson example. There were many times that lessons we did with jay would end up being too hard or too far beyond for my students, I only see 1-4 grades. But the beginning of a lesson or even the concept of how to teach something was so beneficial.
The other part of the pedagogy process was my classmates and I taught our own lessons to each other. This does seem scary, teaching lessons to other teachers who know what you are talking about, but it was also very rewarding. I was able to try out different ideas and new lessons I had never done with my students before. I saw what worked and what didn’t, and my class,ages were very positive and encouraging. We always gave feeedback to the teacher about how we felt going through the lesson and any ideas we might have for the future. I have my 2 lessons written out with corresponding posts for you to check out here: Color Wheel & Coffee or Pizza. This was such a great experience!
Recorder playing was something I was looking forward to as a wind player. I hadn’t touched my alto recorder since level 2, and was hoping to gain new and better alto playing skills. Cindy Hall is one of those recorder teachers who is going to go down in he Orff recorder history books. Not only did we practice our skills on various recorder sizes, we also did some pedagogy lessons with her as well. Again, many of her lessons centered on the alto recorder, which I do not teach my students, but I loved the ideas and I could change the lessons slightly to fit my needs. On one of the last days we were all tasked to bring in a short lesson plan explaining how we would teach one of the series of notes on the recorder (BAG, CA, GE, BA, etc.). This was a great way to get some more ideas from my classmates that I could take back to my school and use. I picked a lesson focusing on moving between G and E on the recorder, look for it here: 5 Beats, 5 Fingers
Finally the last part of the course focused on movement. A lot of our movement class was dedicated to being creative adults and not so much on specific lessons we could take back to our classrooms, the latter was more of the focus in levels 1&2. We did a lot of creative movement, sequencing, and then even choreographing dance pieces. This choreographed piece came out of creative movement and sustained feelings:
In movement, like recorder we took time to develop our own lessons and share them. We didn’t teach them like in our pedagogy class, but just talked through the basics of the lessons. I decided on a lesson about locomotor movement. I wanted to write something to go with my 3rd grade concert theme this year “Mail Time”, so I wrote a lesson about how an amazon package gets to your house. My movement lesson is found here: Amazon Boxes, and I’ll write something up about my concert at a later time, once I finalize everything 🙂
I am beyond thrilled to be Orff Schulwerk certified, but know that it is not the end of the road for me. I look forward to trying out materclasses and supplemental courses in the future and even maybe try presenting or becoming a teacher educator myself. I love this process and community, I met and learned from so many great people over those 2 weeks! Thank you UK Orff!