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Our students surprise, delight, and often amaze us with the things they do in class. Here are some excerpts from our open classes, with the most recent videos first.

Student-Led Compositions

Our Orff experts get the chance to create their own pieces. First, they give each of their friends a part to play (which they choose on the spot). Then, they conduct the finished result!

Playing a Canon

Here’s a clip of students performing a canon. Because they need to play different parts in time with the others, it takes concentration!

Rhythm Passing

In this rhythm passing game, the teacher assigns different rhythms to different students using eye contact. This exercise is good practice for developing our ability to feel beat, and it helps us build connection as a group, which is important for playing more complicated pieces.

Follow the Beat

This exercise is trickier than it seems. The junior players have to play on beat, but also follow the musical cues of one of their peers (who is off camera in this clip). When he stops, they need to stop!

A Piece Two Ways: In Song and on Instruments

A common practice in Orff is to start by singing a piece and putting the beat on our bodies. When we’re familiar with it, we can work with it on our instruments.

The Movement Canon

In music, a canon is a musical form where a melody (or an imitation of a melody) is overlapped over itself at different times. In Orff, we play a three-part movement canon game, where children pair up and perform different actions in time to the music. It’s good practice for playing or singing in any music ensemble, because each player needs to focus on their part while other parts are being played.

Musical Improvisation

In our younger Orff classes, children have free reign to improvise in time to the music to a song we’ve learned, in a key we’ve chosen. In our more advanced Orff classes, we take a song we know and apply different techniques, including imitating a motif and part-playing. This video shows a clip of a younger class improvising and an older Orff class planning and rehearsing their instrumentation of a song.

Musical Concepts: The Building Blocks

In Orff, students gain an instinctive knowledge of time values (whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and so on), without memorizing theory:

The Orff Instruments

Barred instruments like xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels form the basis of many Orff exercises. Not only do these instruments have a naturally resonating sound, they also have removable bars that allow students to set up their instruments to play harmoniously in the same scale or mode.

Orff in Action

This clip shows a class working on a more detailed Orff arrangement. The children take turns singing and then playing different parts, alone or with a partner. (Keen eyes will notice our strange attire, as the class voted to hold their own pyjama day!)

Baby Music Classes

We don’t put our babies on camera very often. You can see a clip of our baby classes in this excerpt of a Sugar Beat profile on the Gill Deacon show.

Piano Orff Experts

Here is our senior class demonstrating some of the pieces and exercises they’ve been working on. This clip shows our multi-part arrangement of Little Silver Moon Boat, followed by an improvisation.

When learning a new piece in Orff, we often begin by singing, then putting the rhythm on our bodies (clapping, stomping, moving in time, and so on), and finally playing it with our instruments. Here’s the first stage of that process with the song I Love the Mountains.

Obwisana, a children’s song from Ghana, is the basis for this rhythm exercise: