William O. Schaefer
South Orangetown students begin receiving general music instruction in Kindergarten, where they learn the vocabulary of music in keeping with the New York State Standards for the Arts.
The teaching style that is used in the South Orangetown Central Elementary Schools (SOCES) is the Orff Schulwerk style. At W.O.S., the students are introduced to this teaching style. What is Orff Schulwerk? What are the instruments that are being used in the music room? Why are they chanting poems…while playing on different types of instruments? Why are they dancing? Why are they singing? Why is keeping a steady beat important?
Here is some information from the National American Orff-Schulwerk Association:
Orff Schulwerk is a way to teach and learn music. It is based on things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and keep a beat on anything near at hand. These instincts are directed into learning music by hearing and making music first, then reading and writing it later. This is the same way we all learned our language. Orff Schulwerk uses poems, rhymes, games, songs, and dances as examples and basic materials. These may be traditional or original. Spoken or sung, they may be accompanied by clapping and stamping or by drums, sticks, and bells. The special Orff melody instruments include wooden xylophones and metal glockenspiels that offer good sound immediately. Their use helps children become sensitive listeners and considerate participants. Learning is meaningful if it brings satisfaction to the learner, and satisfaction arises from the ability to use acquired knowledge for the purpose of creating. For both teacher and student, Orff Schulwerk is a theme with endless variation.