Teaching With Orff: A Collegiate Perspective

It is my pleasure to be posting to the Teaching With Orff blog from the collegiate perspective! I am currently a junior at Baldwin Wallace University and will student teach this coming fall in a general music classroom that incorporates the Orff approach.

It is my goal to make my posts to the blog a practical source of information where pre-service music educators can gather teaching tips and lesson ideas from the master teachers of Orff around the world. As developing educators, we are always looking for little ideas that will get our thoughts started, whether it be for a project or a lesson demonstration. It is my hope that this resource will be a quick reference tool that will send you to other resources, or to the creativity of your own imagination!

As I write this first post, I am just about to go to a rehearsal for our Bach Festival here at BW, the Oldest Collegiate Bach Festival in the nation. This festival provides students with a chance to be exposed to some of the highest quality music ever written, with professional soloists and orchestra members playing and singing side by side with students.

This approach to the Bach Festival is similar to what I perceive as the core of the Orff approach. After attending the past two National AOSA Conferences as a student (Pittsburgh and Denver), I realized that there is a certain element of the Orff process that cannot be learned from a textbook by sitting at a desk in class. It MUST be experienced and internalized, from experienced masters in the craft.

Because of this realization, my posts will also seek to capture the experiences of the Orff process, through pictures and videos, among other resources.

With that, I’ll conclude with a link to a fantastic lecture I watched last week via web stream from Washington, DC featuring Yo-Yo Ma, entitled “Art for Life’s Sake.” It offers a unique perspective regarding the true reasons we make music, within the context of National Arts Advocacy Day, an annual event bringing together hundreds of arts advocates from across the country.

Check back in the coming weeks for practical lesson ideas and resources!


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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