The Music Program at SRV is largely based on the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Orff-Schulwerk was developed by Carl Orff, a German composer, conductor, and educator whose most famous composition is the oratorio “Carmina Burana.” Using the Orff approach, students learn about rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form and other elements of music. Students learn these concepts by speaking, chanting, singing, dancing, moving, acting, and playing instruments. These learned concepts become springboards for further creative pursuits such as improvisation or composing their own music. Orff-Schulwerk builds on a child’s natural sense of play and the teacher empowers students to create and and be successful within parameters.
SRV is fortunate to have a full Orff Instrumentarium comprised of xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, and other barred instruments in addition to untuned percussion instruments such as maracas, claves, triangles, tambourines, and hand drums.
The Music Curriculum begins in preschool and includes experiences in moving and singing in a variety of tonalities and meters. Through singing games, movement activities, and experiences exploring instruments, the foundation for steady beat keeping and pitch matching is set. In Kindergarten, the focus includes keeping a steady beat in the body and playing it on instruments. Beginning pitch matching and unison singing are also emphasized, including singing with a good quality “head voice.” Children continue to have experience playing untuned percussion instruments and have the opportunity to explore the barred instruments. In first grade, the children continue to practice pitch matching and singing with good quality singing voices. They also have many more experiences with barred instruments, including simple improvisation and sound creations. While being introduced to beginning part-singing through rounds, partner songs, and songs with simple ostinatos, the second graders learn to accompany their singing while playing the barred instruments. The skills are solidified in third and fourth grade as the students learn to part-sing simple harmonies and play more complex accompaniments on the barred instruments. Finally, in fifth and sixth grade, the focus moves to playing complex ensemble pieces involving a variety of instruments and improvising and creating music with chords and functional harmony.