Orff in Pop Culture: Popular Music, Traditional Approach

Orff in Pop Culture: Popular Music, Traditional Approach

The second edition of our Orff in Pop Culture series once again features the musical talents of Jimmy Fallon and crew. A video circulating social media shows Jimmy with Kevin Spacey and a barbershop quartet…singing a rendition of the popular song “Talk Dirty.” What does this have to do with Orff, you ask? To me, it is a clear sign of melding traditions. Classical barbershop harmonies meet popular music, and we learn a bit about both traditions in the process.

So what are you doing to teach from both the perspective of classical traditions and more contemporary ones that your students hear on TV or in the movies constantly? The key is identifying with their world to hook them, and then infusing classical traditions into this lens. Think about it: if Jimmy Fallon’s crew had sung a regular barbershop song, no one would be posting about it. It is the novelty of melding traditions that makes us interested.

Thoughts? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your ideas (after watching the video, of course)!



Justin Caithaml

Justin Caithaml teaches 7-12 Choral Music at Midview Local Schools in Lorain County, Ohio. He completed his Orff-Schulwerk Certification at Baldwin Wallace University, Villanova University, and University of the Arts. Caithaml recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baldwin Wallace University, and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of SMART360, an organization dedicated to strengthening elementary students' reading fluency, social skills, and cultural diversity through a creative musical experience. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

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