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  • Writer's pictureThe Music Makers

What is the Orff approach to teaching music?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

The Music Makers' curriculum is based on the the Orff Approach, which is a philosophy of teaching music created by German composer and music educator Carl Orff. In this approach children make music in ways that are natural to them including: dancing, clapping, singing, chanting, moving and playing. Songs are short and simple and relate to a child's world of experience. A child learning music in the Orff approach doesn't feel pressure to perform and doesn't feel evaluated or judged. Children are "learning by doing" in a natural and relaxed manner.

Carl Orff around 1970, Foto by Daniela-Maria Brandt, © Carl Orff-Stiftung/Archiv: Orff-Zentrum München

Orff-style Musical Instruments

In our lessons, children play pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments that provide them an age appropriate experience to master musical concepts. Orff instruments were created to increase sensitivity to rhythm and tone and are easy and fun to play.

Using these instruments, students learn basic concepts that prepare them for subsequent musical instruction lessons. These instruments are perfectly suited to guide young music makers. Their sound is high quality and they invite participation.

Children can master making beautiful music with these instruments even in the first lesson and without special training. Bars that don't fit into the scale of the song are removed and children improvise on the remaining bars. Exploring music with these instruments gradually trains their ears to discern appropriate musical sounds while they gain confidence in their music-making abilities.

Un-pitched Percussion

Un-pitched percussion instruments include drums, wooden instruments such as tone blocks, metal instruments such as finger cymbals, and shaking instruments such as maracas.

Pitched Percussion - Glockenspiels

The glockenspiel is a beautiful German instrument. Bars that don't fit into the scale of a song can be removed. Children improvise on remaining bars and everything they play sounds beautiful.

Pitched Percussion - Xylophones

These high quality xylophones have a beautiful sound. Bars are easily removed for our Orff activities and children can experience the joy of improvisation.

Little Glockenspiels

Little glockenspiels are introduced in our classes starting at age 3. Bars are removable for Orff activities. Parents in our studio classes can purchase these for home use.

Multicultural Instruments

Children have the opportunity to add sound effects to songs and accompany activities using a wide variety of unique instruments from around the world.

The Music Makers can proudly say we have invested in a large variety and number of high quality instruments for our students and their families to explore. Parents and caregivers are also discovering the joy of music and that making music is an activity worth doing together. Everyone is a music maker!

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