Elementary music Instruction methods LOGAN CAYWOOD



Composer and music educator, Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany in 1895. While he is most commonly known for his composition, Carmina Burana, containing the piece “O Fortuna,” Orff also developed a well-known music education approach. It has been said that the greatest gift that Carl Orff possessed was to children. His musical approach incorporates creativity, and his respect for the level of the children’s capabilities



In 1924, Orff, along with dancer Dorothee Günther, founded the Güntherschule. This was a school emphasizing on gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich. While here, Orff began coming up with ideas about music education, and musical performance. In the years following the formation of the Güntherschule, Orff’s time was filled with exploration and experimentation of the development of Schulwerk. He utilized the combination of Günther’s dance background, as well as speech, and combined them with his musical knowledge. Orff used a variety of gestures, body sounds, movement, and voice as the “most natural of instruments”. Along with the help of Günther and Gunild Keetman, Orff sought out an approach that ‘begins in movement’, which reflect ideas of fellow pedagogues, Dalcroze and Bode.


The Orff Schulwerk builds musicianship through the acts of singing, playing, using instruments, speech, and movement.

These five aspects are directed towards children, and teaching children music, because of how active and involved these actions are.

As children, we grow up singing, playing, banging on things, moving around, and constantly talking. If children are constantly doing these things, why not capitalize on them and teach music through them? The Orff Schulwerk is aimed at educating young children, in a quite natural way. Learning music must be as natural as learning to speak, being able to sing first before even touching the instruments. Just like normal speech, the words and sounds of our mouths must come first, and then develop more from there. In an example from one video, the teacher has the students read through the words, singing, and then adding movement on top of everything. The children are able to engage themselves and stay active, while still learning the music.

Eventually, all of these aspects are combined, before students begin to use the instruments. With the Orff instruments, including xylophones, marimbas, metallophones, and many more, students are able to actively play the music. There are parameters set up, so that there is maximum potential for the students to be successful. Whether certain notes (or bars) are removed, or only certain notes are available to play, success is the goal. Even when improvisation is used, the framework is developed for students to be confident in creating and sharing music. The end goal is to instill courage, a community, confidence, and character within the students.

In the same way that no two teachers will approach a song the same way, no two students will react and learn from the music identically. The Orff Schulwerk allows maximum potential for creativity.



Composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue and philosopher, Zoltán Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary in 1882. Kodály is most notably recognized for his creation of the Kodály Method that continues to be implemented in music classrooms today.

Use singing as the primary vehicle for music participation to create a musically literate society Music is essential for human development


  1. Music is essential for human development
  2. Music should begin with the musical mother tongue
  3. Music education should be with singing

The movable "do" is a fundamental element of the Kodaly method. During sight-singing, scale degrees are sung using the relating syllable names. Kodály felt that movable "do" solfege should precede with the use of the musical staff, and developed a type of shorthand using solfege initials with simplified rhythmic notation.

One of the most common aspects of the Kodály concept is the use hand signs with solfege syllables. This assigns a hand sign to each of the scale degrees. The hand signs are borrowed from the teachings of John Curwen. Kodály added to Curwen’s hand signs upward/downward movement, allowing children to actually see the height or depth of the pitch.

Curwen Hand Signs


  1. Rhythm symbols and syllables are utilized.
  2. Hand signals (Solfege) are used to show tonal relationships.
  3. Moveable "do" is practiced.
  4. The musical material emphasized is the mother-tongue/folksong.
  5. Concepts are taught according to the child's learning development.
  6. Singing is the major instrument. All children can sing and be successful!

The Kodály method is the international language of music. The method is adaptable in any culture and strictly points to the musical development and education.

Gordon Music Learning Theory


Researcher, teacher, author, editor, and lecturer Edwin E. Gordon is best known for his contributions to music education. His studies include the incorporation and development of musical aptitude, audiation, music learning theory, and patterns in infants and young children.


Music Learning Theory is explained in detail in Gordon’s 1980 publication, Learning Sequences in Music: Skill, Content, and Patterns. Gordon describes that audiation occurs when an a person is "listening to, recalling, performing, interpreting, creating, improvising, reading, or writing music." Audiation while listening to music is simply translation of languages. This gives a meaning to each individual sound based on individual knowledge and experience. An emphasis is placed on the idea of learning music in a way that is similar to learning a language.

The teaching process of the theory is centered on skill learning sequence, tonal content learning, and rhythm content. The tonal content begins the lowest level of skill learning, followed by rhythm pattern first focusing on macro (big) versus micro (small) beat.

"Music is unique to humans. Like the other arts, music is as basic as language to human development and existence." -Edwin Gordon



Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, born in 1865 in Austria, was a composer, musician and music educator. He developed the Dalcroze Method and Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a method of learning and experiencing music through movement and dance. Later, Eurhythmics had an influence on Carl Orff's pedagogy.


Dalcroze developed his methodology in 1905 at the Geneva Conservatory. He spoke at a conference, and then built off of experiments with solfege and ear training, allowing students to further explore with movement. Dalcroze laces emphasis on the idea that spontaneous and individual movement should take place when learning and hearing music. This movement is centered on reflecting and expression the music that is being heard and performed. Eurythmics trains the body to feel the muscular sensations of time and energy as they manifest in space.

Students should first respond freely. Then, are encouraged to move without intimidation or instruction, but focused listening to music. Students then may be asked to move in a more specific way, using specific motions in response to the music. Students can respond in rhythms, cannons, or echoes of what they hear.



Plastique Animée is an analysis of a piece of music, that uses the body as the vehicle. Literally, the French loosely translates into “supple, harmonious, living movement.” Plastique Animée captures the joy of music and movement through cultivating and inspiring the movers’ creative process! A goal of Plastique Animée is to deepen understanding through purposeful movement, representing rhythms, moods, and phrases. In this way, any musical element can be demonstrated through movement. Most performances focus on key elements within a piece of music, but multiple can be used in representation. Movements appear to mimic the music, in sometimes a bit of a dance.

Plastique Animée
"The final culmination of studies in moving plastic is certainly the direct expression of aesthetic feelings and emotions without the aid of music or even speech.”" -Émile Jaques-Dalcroze


World Music Pedagogy came out of the Tanglewood Symposium of 1967. The Tanglewood Symposium was a conference that took place in Tanglewood, Massachusetts, sponsored by MENC. The purpose of the symposium was to define the role of music education in a contemporary American society. Participants included musicians, sociologists, scientists, educators, and people involved with other aspects of music.

Tanglewood Symposium

The focus of World Music Pedagogy is to implement curricular change that would honor a wide spectrum of art, folk/traditional, and popular expressions. This allows for an insight and experience to the folkways, traditions, art and music of cultures, both nearby & across the globe.

Teaching Process

  1. Attentive Listening
  2. Engaged listening
  3. Enactive listening
  4. Creating the world music
  5. Integrating world music



  • High level of student participation
  • Use of various learning styles (tactile, visual, audio, kinesthetic)
  • Emphasis on rhythm learning and rhythmic syllables
  • Emphasis on improvisation (Orff and Dalcroze)
  • Emphasis on audiation and inner hearing
  • Incorporation of folk tunes and songs


  • Differing starting points in methods (ear training vs. singing and speaking)
  • Grade and age level differences
  • Use of instruments vs. no use of instruments
  • Use of notation and signals


I believe that all of the different methods have a variety of benefits in their approaches. Each individual method is focused on the students and their creativity, which is valuable in music education. Of these methods, I believe that Dalcroze's use of Eurhythmics and Plastique Animée truly allows for students to be creative in a physical and active way. While they may not be directly playing and creating the music, their responses and actions can impact and add to the music being played. I appreciate the Orff-Schulwerk, as it incorporates many different aspects of singing, playing instruments, movement, and speech. What I find most beneficial is that all aspects of the Orff model are focused towards having a direct impact on the teaching and learning of children, using scaffolding. Lastly, I believe that World Music Pedagogy is both extremely important, as well as is versatile. World Music Pedagogy can be incorporated into any of the other music learning theories. World Music Pedagogy can have the same, if not a deeper connection with students, as it uses a variety of musics from a variety of cultures.

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