There are many places across the country to continue your Orff Schulwerk journey through Levels training, and we are fortunate to have one of the best in our own backyard. George Mason University offers Orff Levels I, II, and III training every summer, as well as numerous supplemental opportunities. To learn more visit the George Mason University’s Orff Schulwerk Certification Program website.
For additional Teacher Education Course locations, visit the AOSA Website.
MAC-AOSA offers two scholarships annually for educators interested in professional development through Levels training – the Brigitte Warner Scholarship and the Brian Powilatis Scholarship. Read reflections on Levels training from two past recipients.
Orff Level III Reflection: Lauren Budygon
Last summer I completed my Level 3 training at George Mason University with the help of the Brigitte Warner scholarship. My levels training over the past three years has encouraged me to embrace my natural spontaneity and playfulness in the classroom. Level 3 provided an appropriate capstone to my learning experience in this regard. My level 3 practical coursework was a well-blended mixture of rote preparedness and informed improvisation, culminating in practicum experiences and an epic sharing at the end of the course. I have been working on adding more and more Orff elements to my teaching since I finished Level 3 and am excited to continue doing so forever!
Orff Level I Reflection: Rosemary Maeder
On July 16th 2018, thirty music teachers – varying in experience from newly qualified to veteran – arrived bright and early, at the George Mason University Fairfax campus to do training in Orff Level one – together with those doing their Orff levels two and three.
After a brief greeting, warm-up song and organizing announcements we spilt into our levels for our first class of the course. We were handed our tightly packed schedules – running from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, an hour for lunch and homework for the following day. No dozing in a back seat of a lecture theater for two weeks to emerge with a professional development performed somnambulantly to perfection. Only the very brave would not quake in their “light sneakers for movement” at the thought of what we were to manage in a fortnight – being taught inductively – being present and alert and aware of what we were doing, meeting and mixing with new friends, think-pair-sharing, exploring, creating, singing, saying, dancing, playing with each other, playing games, playing those barred Orff instruments, answering important questions, working in small groups, working in the large group, playing the recorder, and movement class.
As a musician, many of those options were exactly fine – but as we each had to admit – every musician has a growth point where they have to work outside their comfort zone – sometimes marginally and sometimes greatly. This being noted, it was wonderful to have colleagues – music teachers who are musicians, and fellow human beings, to help one break out of the mould, try something different – at least a new way to us – to reach our students. Add to that encouragement and modeling of excellent teaching by our level one lecturers Joyce Stephansky, Shoshannah Drake, Victoria Refearn Cave and John Crandall – and you have a transformative course. Personally, I do not struggle with playing the recorder – but that was my problem – I did not relish working on the little steps required in teaching the instrument to a class – John saw to it that we start by teaching tonguing first, using speech rhythms and translating them into tonguing patterns. Victoria managed to inspire us to want to move much more than we possibly had in the past. Joyce and Shoshanna integrated moving, speaking, playing, dancing and literature so beautifully every day. They helped us begin “mining” Orff Volume One – a treasure trove of material – which I had owned but had scarcely used – and then superficially.
I am looking forward to being back at school and trying all these “new-old” ideas – they have been around for a time, but they need adoption and application. With reduced contact time and more students, I am going to really need “one-thing many ways” to progress with my students. If anyone is hovering in indecision about whether to or not to do an Orff Level – visit with MAC on Saturdays and I am sure you will be won over, and your teaching will be not be the same again.