Reflection on my Orff project - David Fonda
Over the past year I have spent a lot of time stressing over this assignment. One could wonder, what could be so stressful about putting together some lessons in the style of the Orff-Schulwerk. That is exactly what was stressful, putting together some lessons in the style of the Orff-Schulwerk. I would imagine to most people that have completed Level III in the Schulwerk that would seem like an easily completed task. However, as I confessed to my fellow Level III participants, I have yet to “dive into the Schulwerk” at my school. The main reason for this is that I am a perfectionist and I am afraid of failing at something or doing it poorly. This project has forced me to take some steps in the Schulwerk that I have been avoiding.
As I have thought about implementing these new ideas into my classroom, I have always seen it as a completely different approach to music than I have used in my five years in the classroom. This is the main reason for all the stress I have experienced in the past year when contemplating how I will complete this requirement of creating an “Orff project”. I spent many hours looking at melodies that I already use in my classroom and the contents of the Schulwerk volumes and wondering how I get there from here. Finally I remembered a lesson that I created during my Level III experience. I remembered that I took a melody that I already used in my classroom and looked at for its possibilities instead of what was in front of me. Then it hit me, the Schulwerk isn’t what Bryan Crisp taught me, it isn’t what Brian Burnett taught me, or Jay, Cindy or Sarah, it was an approach to music in which my students get to be creative and be a part of the process with me. Instead of only witnessing or experiencing the end product, the melody with some kind of accompaniment, they get to make decisions that will directly affect the musical outcome of our time together.
I’m not saying that it is all clear to me now or that I suddenly understand everything that I have experienced over the past three summers, but what I am saying is that I think I have found a way to open myself and my teaching up to the possibilities for both my students and my own individual growth as a person and educator. It’s hard to believe that something that has brought me so much stress over the past year has helped to bring clarity and understanding to an aspect of my approach to teaching music to children.
I centered this project on finding melodies that I already use in my classroom that I thought could be revisited through the approach of the Schulwerk. Some of them seem to be a great fit; others took some time to process and adjust. Regardless, I am glad that I was given this project to complete so I could find this much needed clarity that has eluded me for the past three years. Now that I have a new understanding and feel more comfortable with “diving into the Schulwerk”, I will be able to reconnect with the people I shared those amazing experiences with and continue to learn from them and share with them what I have learned. I am very excited about the many new creative opportunities my students will have in the coming years.