Workshop Titles and Descriptions

Below are several workshops titles and descriptors that have been offered in the past or are currently being offered. We can create unique professional development workshops based on the preferences and needs of your organization.


Making Musical In-Roads: From Basics to Brilliance

Beginnings aren’t always easy, but they can be thrilling and fun and lead us to some pretty amazing experiences. We’ll take our cues from some basic examples in the Volumes, folk songs, poems, and rhythmic patterns, then we’ll call upon your artistry to move the group into the middle of the process (see: improvisation, movement, body percussion, recorder, drama, composition, arrangement) and then by stretching the skills we’ve been reinforcing through elemental process teaching and learning we’ll arrive at the meaningful, pleasing end of musical brilliance. Simple, right?

I’m sure there’ll be time for a game, and maybe a dance, probably a story or two thrown in for good measure as well. The participants should bring a recorder, enough energy and joy to sustain them throughout the workshop, and some extra to share with the other workshop members! We’ll play, sing, grow and laugh together— so basically it’s going to be brilliant!


Springing Forward

    In this workshop, we’ll explore speech-centered rhythmic patterns, and sing melodic patterns which will morph into a new melody and text for a new song. We’ll improvise on recorders, un-pitched and barred instruments, and incorporate creative movement from participant ideas. All these components will spiral together in the process teaching magic that Orff Schulwerk offers when teachers downshift the “sage on the stage” mentality, and become the “guide on the side.” Together we’ll build strategies for how students can move the process forward in the classroom and provide their own creativity within given structures.

    Bring a soprano recorder if you have one nearby, and to help make a personal contribution to the group, bring an object (or picture) that you can hold in your hand and travel with that says “spring” to you. 


Colors Springing, Voices Ringing—Orff Schulwerk and New Beginnings

This workshop is based around children’s literature and creativity that stems from the beautiful picture book, “Red Sings from Treetops.” We’ll share in a process together where important verbs and descriptive adjectives are chosen and used as a springboard for individual and group creativity. A special canon will serve as a unifying piece of music and a music literacy component will take shape as this piece of music comes to life slowly through solfege. We’ll explore components of folk dance and use these figures to create our own folk dance that will be accompanied by instrumental music we create on Orff Instruments through exploratory improvisations that will become a brand new piece which will be premiered at our workshop! The beginnings of Orff Schulwerk are centered around the Volumes titled “Music for Children.” The power of Orff Schulwerk comes from unlocking the potential for creativity and releasing the magic of music by children!


Simply Schulwerk: Growing from Season to Season: A workshop in elemental music and movement.

Our work together in this workshop beings with a “Springtime Cuckoo Canon,” which is inspired by a model found in the Orff Schulwerk Volumes by Gunild Keetman and Carl Orff. We explore movement and form in the “Tanz” from Carmina Burana by Orff next. This leads us to anthropomorphize (to assign human characteristics to a character or like an animal or other living thing) a daffodil in a speech piece which we will create together in the same way that it can be done with students. The day continues with a folk dance, and an Orff ensemble piece that is processed through movement and student creativity given heavy emphasis. An original canon written in the elemental style will be shared as an example of how we can create materials needed to suit our students’ needs. We will use a “Spring Thing” where the presenter will take a risk and work in the evocative mode of engaging students where the content comes from the student creativity in the learning environment. This can be very exciting!

A short visit with how assessment can be hidden inside fun activities will be explored and a look inside how the teacher evaluation system based around Student Learning Outcomes can be useful and not so scary. Check out the presenters recent blog post on Teaching With Orff on this subject for more information.

The workshop will conclude with a piece inspired by the major meteorological phenomenon known as a hurricane! Body percussion and speech, spiral into a drumming and movement experience with high energy and excitement as the storm builds strength and power!


User-Friendly Ukulele

The Ukulele is able to be seamlessly integrated into your elementary, middle or high school classroom fitting hand-in-glove with the approaches and curricula already at play there. Everyone is a little bit happier with a ukulele in their hands!

How fast and easy is it for students to go from holding a ukulele for the first time to strumming chords and singing? How about playing melodies? Reading tablature? Improvising? Accompanying other instruments and singers? Great questions! In this workshop, you’ll quickly see how the Ukulele brings new levels of interest and excitement to your music classes. 

**This session was presented at the American Orff Schulwerk Association National Professional Development Conference at San Diego, CA in 2015, as well as PMEA District Professional Development Days.

**It is possible that the presenter could provide up to 30 ukuleles to borrow. This will ensure that all participants have access to a quality instrument. A rental fee for this option would need to be negotiated. Workshop must be drivable from central PA.


Developing Structured Improvisation With Keetman and Orff’s Model as Our Guide

When the world of music flows only toward your students, they never feel the joy of instant ownership in new musical ideas they have created. This workshop brings opportunities for improvisation and composition that is developed out of a variety of models found in the original source materials known as the “Orff Schulwerk Volumes.” Skill pairs are explored, and the media of elemental music and movement are extensively employed. The most exciting music for any musician is that which we discover ourselves conceiving and realizing musical experiences at the same time!


Inspiring Musical Experiences from Famous Artworks and Sculpture

Using an array of famous artwork as the inspiration for creativity, participants will explore visual artworks to discover descriptive words, phrases, movement gestures, moods, meters, and so much more! Pieces from the Schulwerk Volumes and supplementals will serve as models of possibilities for development with participants and students. The workshop centers around the wordless poetry of the visual arts and how to bring the silence of pieces like “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth, “Starry Night,” by Van Gogh, “The Great Wave of Kanagawa,” by Hokusai, to more abstract paintings by Kandinsky and modern art from the “Pop Shop” series by Keith Haring to life in music and movement.


Tapping into the Power of Play Parties and Singing Games

Begin with a game and let the mysterious wonder of the Orff Schulwerk process take the learners on a journey through a progression of possibilities of fun singing games and play parties with unique twists and untapped potential for exploration.

Exploring possibilities with Play Parties and Singing Games is a excellent support of Orff Schulwerk teaching and learning in that it roundly includes American history, culture and traditions as well as provides rich content for music learning that is curricular and spirals through every age student.


How to Balance Technology with “Unplugged” Experiences

In this session geared toward pre-service teachers, taming the technology at our fingertips to enhance instruction is explored. Effectively using presentation technology from Powerpoint, to more specialized software like Smartboard and Promethean for integrating technology into active music and movement lessons can be a challenge. It can also take a lot of the stress out of managing your materials. Laptops and iPads are becoming more and more prevalent in our elementary and middle schools. How to integrate these tools into our “acoustic” classes can be a challenge as well. We’ll take a look at options that put the emphasis on making the music, and integrating these tools to the advantage of music and movement learning process instead of simply using technology to check the boxes for our administration. Possibilities for blended learning can be explored as well that can offer beyond the classroom extensions for instruments like recorder or the soprano ukulele.