As a Kodaly-trained and naturally-inclined teacher in Cobb County, I sometimes feel like a fish out of water. I love the depth of learning my students have achieved in the last six years using Kodaly methods. They can sight-sing and notate musical patterns, and even aurally derive them from my performance. They improvise vocally from internalized patterns! In short, they are awesome!!!
And it’s not because of me – but because of my Kodaly levels training and the guidance of the “Kodaly in the Classroom” series by Michael Houlahan and Philip Tacka. So, why would I look to any other method of instruction?
I guess that’s just what teachers-at-heart do. We love to learn and explore new things! I certainly am not going to pitch all my Kodaly goodness into the trash, but I am diligently seeking to add more Orff-based experiences for my students this year.
This summer, I outlined and studied two books on Orff methodology: Discovering Orff by Jane Frazee and Experiencing Orff by Arvida Steen. I also made a concept index for Cobb County’s current music curriculum, Game Plan by Jeff Kriske and Randy DeLelles. Specifically, I looked for activities that would augment the Preparation, the Presentation, or the Practice sections of my Kodaly lessons. In “Teacher Talk Tuesday” I will be sharing some of these activities and my thoughts about them.
Already, after just one rotation, I can tell that this is going to be a way to truly differentiate engagement if nothing else. One of my first resolutions and changes to my lesson plan template was to end each lesson with a sing-along song. This isn’t really a far cry from my Kodaly training, as many Kodaly teachers end their lesson with a teacher performance or listening activity.
I decided to pull some fun sing-along songs – some of which are not “Kodaly-Kosher” iykwim – that are commonly found in textbooks such as Silver-Burdett’s Making Music, which I have in my classroom, and from Experiencing Orff. Some students who normally don’t enjoy singing will gladly sing these “silly songs” – but others who normally participate just sit and stare at me. “Different strokes for different folks” has never been more true!