Elements of The Orff Approach
The Orff philosophy is a music education for the whole person. It is essentially an active music experiential approach. Orff encourages creativity through the student's natural responses to music.
Orff begins with rhythm because it is the most basic of all the elements. He teaches this through natural speech patterns. For the child, speaking, singing, music and movement are all naturally connected. The teacher then leads the students through their own creative process. By connecting speech patterns to the rhythms, the child can master whatever meter or rhythm is needed. This naturally also leads to body rhythm patterns and movement to the music.
Melody is taught in the same way. Simple intervals grow out of the natural pitches from the words. These intervals combine to make a melody. This melody can later be put onto instruments. Orff said, "Experience first, then intellectualize." Only after the playing has been taught does the teaching of notation occur.
Part of the playing and experiencing which is essential to the Orff approach is the element of improvisation. As frightening as improvisation seems to be to adults, it is freeing to children. No rules! The teacher sets up boundaries in which the child can create his or her own rhythm, melody, or dance.
Example for rhythm
The student has 8 beats to create his or her own rhythm.
Examples for melody with singing
Using the notes from "do" to "sol" create a song
Example for melody using an Orff instrument
Set up the instrument in C Pentatonic. This enables the player to improvise without hitting a "wrong" note. The student has 8 beats to create his song.
Example for movement
The student has 16 beats to create some movement for a given piece of music or a given part of a story.