Introduction to the Orff Schulwerk Approach
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Introduction to the Orff Schulwerk Approach

The word pedagogy has its roots in the ancient Greek language and culture. The word pedagogue derives from the Greek paidagogos, which literally means 'child leader or child accompanist'. The Greek word pais means boy or child and the verb agein means to lead. In the ancient Greek culture the pedagogue was the slave who took the child from home to school and back again. In the modern educational context the word pedagogue has the meaning of 'accompanist to the learner'. The teacher in this learning model is facilitator, nurturer and animateur. The Orff-Schulwerk makes a contribution to music pedagogy because it sets a particular tone for the musical education of children.

From the nineteen fifties onwards the educational work with Orff-Schulwerk Musik für Kinder and the considerable interest that sprung up created a need for music pedagogical signposts. This kind of music pedagogy grew slowly but surely through Keetmann's work with children in the nineteen fifties and through seminars in Salzburg and elsewhere. All these developments eventually lead to the inception of the Orff-Institute in 1961. The Orff-Institute became the pedagogical centre for study, research and dissemination of what the Austrians and Germans then called Elementare Musik und Bewegungserziehung (elemental music and movement education). Today the degree course (German language) at the Orff Institute is called Elementare Musik- und Tanzpaedagogik (elemental music and dance pedagogy).

There are a few fundamental educational principles that underpin this kind of music pedagogy:

Music can be learned through creating and playing.
Music play is an essential part of life.
Speech, music and dance are fundamental forms of human expressions.
Through practical experiences theoretical truth can be found...

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