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"Tell me, I forget —
Show me, I remember —
Involve me, I understand."
Born and educated in Munich, Germany, Carl Orff (1895-1982) is best known for his cantata Carmina Burana, a work that combines percussive rhythm, chant, and movement, which Orff considered to be primal forms of human expression. This accounts for the universal appeal of Carmina, which has been used in movies, numerous commercials, covered by bands, sampled, and is still performed to this day. Orff also enjoyed international acclaim as the world’s preeminent authority on children’s music education. First embodied by his Musik für Kinder, five eclectic pieces to be performed by children, his dedication to bringing music performance to children eventually developed into a more extensive series known as Orff Schulwerk.
Orff Schulwerk teaches music in the same manner we learn language; by hearing, imitation, and use, rather than abstract exercises. Orff’s method involves activities children already like to do: sing, chant, play games, dance, move, dramatize, improvise, and play instruments. Carl Orff once said, "Children have always loved to play. Why not let them learn as they play?" Thus, the focus of Orff Schulwerk is on the child’s participation in music making, while fostering creative expression.
Musically, Schulwerk is based on simple rhythmic patterns and variations, which are easily learned by young children, and performed on the metallophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, and other percussive instruments. Orff instruments are designed to sound beautiful with minimal instruction, which makes them irresistible to children.
Children are encouraged to create their own rhythms, melodies, speech patterns, and dances. Children also make music together in a group, which involves the participation of other adults and parents, thus the parent occupies a central position in child education. This translates very favorably to the home-schooled; as parents can easily learn the Orff method in order to offer their children the well-documented developmental advantages that can only come from musical training. Above all, children who work in the "Orff way" experience the joy of creating something uniquely their own, from which the desire to study music formally will naturally emerge. At present, more than 10,000 teachers in the United States have found Orff Schulwerk the ideal way to present the magic of music to their students.
Musician’s Friend carries a complete selection of Orff instruments and training materials. You’ll find instruments and packages to suit every budget and teaching program. Click here to see all our Orff Instruments.