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The Aviator

March 18, 2017

What is this “Orff” stuff anyways? You may have heard about the “Orff instruments” or heard the term at school. It’s very much a part of your child’s music education, and I’d like this chance to explain. Orff is sometimes mistakenly thought of as an acronym, but it is actually the name of German composer and educator Carl Orff, who is perhaps best known for his massive work Carmina Burana f(1937). (If you think you don’t know this piece, you probably do. It’s in spades of movies and commercials!)

Lesser-known is Orff’s approach to music education. Developed later in his career, along with his poorly credited female colleague Gunild Keetman, it is a child-centered approach to music education that draws on a young person’s natural inclinations to play, move, and explore. The Orff motto is “Sing, say, dance, play!”

What does this look like at AVS? Let’s begin with exploration. In the younger grades, each music class begins with individual students answering a simple question in their s...

March 18, 2017

Drama permeates every part of our lives, from making new friends, to giving a work presentation, and yes, especially to parenting! Acting skills are all essential life skills – teaching things like group work, practicing, improving and performing. Sometimes this is all disguised as silly games with weird noises and nonsensical movements, but assuming a role outside oneself develops empathy – and it is fun!

By asking students at a young age to continuously practice (and yes, it takes lots of practice) looking someone in the eyes and speaking in a clear, understandable voice (performance voice) we teach them that:

  • They have a voice, and they are encouraged to use it.

  • Having that voice is a powerful tool and a privilege. It needs to be treated with respect.

  • Their ideas are valuable, and the best way to share those ideas is through clear communication.

Students will need the skill of speaking clearly in public for the rest of their lives. This is often not addressed...

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