What is the Orff Approach?
The Orff approach to music and movement education was developed by Carl Orff and his associate Gunild Keetman in the early decades of the 20th Century. Described as elemental music and movement education in its place of origin (Germany and Austria), this approach has now been disseminated throughout the world
Orff encouraged the adaptation of his ideas to local contexts taking into account geographical, social and cultural factors.
A key principle of this approach is music for all. Therefore participation happens in a non-competitive environment and takes account of all participants’ skill levels, whether advanced or basic, often in the exploration and involvement in the same piece of music!
The Orff approach, as a ‘unity of speech, music and movement’ (Orff), begins with activities that come naturally, such as familiar speech patterns, movement sequences, rhymes, stories and songs. Combining, but not limited to, elemental features such as pentatonic scales and repetitive accompaniments (borduns and ostinati), successful music-making is enabled.
Typically ‘Orff ‘ instruments used to facilitate teaching and learning in this approach include found sounds, untuned and tuned percussion ( such as, xylophones, marimba, glockenspiels). Other instruments, appropriate to the local context, may be included to form ensembles for collaborative music-making.