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Orff-Schulweerk Concept


Carl Orff philosophy


Carl Orff (Carl Orff, 1895-1982) is a 20th century German composer and music educator. He designed music teaching methods for children. Because of its creativity and inspiration, he paid special attention to the use of local cultural characteristics and materials. The simple, natural and lively way to open up children’s artistic vision is generally recognized by music teachers and music lovers from all over the world. At present, more than 30 countries have established the "Orff Education Association" to promote the concept of Orff teaching. The Carl Orff Institut of the Morzart University of Music and Performing Arts in Sazburg is the research and promotion center.

Orff life and a chronology of the development of Orff's education

Born in Munich, Bavaria in 1895.

In 1924, he co-founded the "Gymnastics‧Music‧Dance" academy with Günther, a sports and dance teacher, to teach the coordination of body and music rhythm, called the Güntherschule, after which Keetman joined this school.

1935-36 completed Carmina Burana , a great success.

1936 composed thousands of children’s dance music for the opening ceremony of the Berlin Olympic Games,

In the Second World War, the Ghent School was destroyed by the war. After the war, he was invited to give lectures on teaching methods throughout Germany. In 1950-54, Bavarian Radio invited Orff to produce music for children’s programs. The results were published as five volumes of children’s music (Musik für Kinder, Orff-Schulwerk), attracting the attention of all countries. In addition, because many people need Orff musical instruments, Studio49 factory began to produce Orff musical instruments.

1962: W. Keller founded the Orff Conservatory, affiliated to the Mozart University of Music and Performing Arts, to cultivate teachers and promote teaching. At present, more than 30 countries have established the "Orff Education Association" to promote the concept of Orff teaching, and the Taiwan Orff Education Association is one of them.

What is Orff educational philosophy?

The basic music teaching philosophy starts from the foundation of human nature, emphasizes the exploration of human primitive natural instincts, and awakens potential creativity. In Orff own words, Orff's music is a kind of "approach to the original form and original power of music..., the overall expression presented by language, sound, rhythm, and instrument", It is "calling, chanting, Voice, singing.... This primitive basic music is not just music, it is integrated with rhythm, dance, and language.It is a kind of music that must be made by oneself; in this kind of music, no one is just a listener, it is participation, the music of the audience. It is transcendental, intuitive, and has no great form; it is local, natural, and physical. It is something that everyone can learn and experience, and is in line with the childs nature. (C. Orff, 1964, p. 15). From the definition of music by Orff, we can see the basic concept of Orff music education:


Primitive: As long as you can speak, you can sing, as long as you can walk, you can dance.Orff teaching starts from the natural ability of each person, and from this, it discovers the possibility of the natural encounter between people and music.


Integral: The teaching content of Orff covers speech rhythm, singing, rhythmic dance, instrumental percussion and musicals, and is carried out by guiding improvisation and creation. Therefore, it is diversified with language, logic, space, body kinesthesia, interpersonal, introspection, etc. Intelligence is related, and it stimulates multiple senses such as sight, hearing, touch and movement at the same time, which is unified aesthetic art education.


Elemental and constructive: Orff's teaching starts with the most basic elements of rhythm, melody, timbre, strength, speed and other elements. It is constructed layer by layer in exploration and experience. It is composed of language, rhyme, body instrument, and rhythm instrument. At each stage, it can develop from unison singing to multi-part round singing, and combine physical performance and improvisation to construct a rich musical structure.


Creativity: In Orff teaching teaching improvises children's body rhythm, voice, language,  melody and imagination. It develops children's music and musical skills in an active and creative atmosphere; they enjoy learning by expressing themselves.


Integrated: Orff teaching brings together all ages and ethnic groups to play together. It is a practice of All-age education and integrated education.


Local: Orff Teaching pays special attention to local cultural assets, and emphasizes that teachers should use local nursery rhymes, numbers, musical instruments and folk tales as materials to develop local teaching methods. Due to its elemental characteristics, the  Orff's teaching is easy to integrate with the music culture of various places, and naturally bridges the gap between art and folk music.


Game and process-oriented: The form of the game is the main mode of music learning of Orff, all sounds and physical rhythm of the game play and percussion are included at the same time. Everyone can happily participate in singing, playing and dancing with their original appioach and creativity. The process is far more important than the result.


Orff Education is an integrated art education and a truly universal education. In addition to children, young people, adults and older people can be inspired by it, and enjoy the fun of creativity, cooperation, and interaction in the learning process.





Taiwan Orff-Schulwerk Association

Address:106063, 3rd Floor, No. 76, Section 1, Anhe Road, Daan District, Taipei City, R.O.C.


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