Orff Schulwerk Concentration

Graduate music students in the Orff Schulwerk program play mallets, recorders and drums during their final sharing performance in Brady Educational Center auditorium August 9, 2013.

‌The Master of Arts degree with an Orff Schulwerk concentration features a broad range of theoretical courses balanced by requirements that apply to the general music teacher's work with students of all ages using Orff Schulwerk. In the Orff approach, teachers create an environment in which children become active, creative participants in their musical education. They experience music through movement, song, speech, and instrument playing, which prepares them for music reading and writing. Independent musicianship is developed through a teaching process that includes imitation, exploration, improvisation, composition, and literacy.

In this program, students will

  • Sharpen performance skills necessary for achieving artistic ensembles

  • Gain insights into historical and contemporary Orff ensemble literature through analytical study and orchestration

  • Improve musical competency

  • Broaden understanding of music history, theory, and literature

  • Examine pedagogical uses of Orff media to teach music concepts, develop musical ideas and skills, and facilitate ensemble performance with children of all ages and ability levels

  • Discover new applications for existing expertise

  • Experience and explore strategies for developing successful improvisation and composition experiences

  • Articulate ways in which Orff Schulwerk serves the common goals of the music education profession‌

Music Education Core Courses

Students with an Orff Schulwerk concentration are required to take the following music education core courses.

  • Foundations of Music Education (GMUS 608)

  • Introduction to Scholarship and Research Methods in Music Education (GMUS 600)

  • Musicianship I (GMUS 750)

  • Perspectives in Music Theory (GMUS 611)

    • Prerequisite: Passing grade on the Diagnostic Exam

  • Teaching and Learning (GMUS 601)

  • Topics in Music History, Literature & Theory (GMUS 612)

    • Prerequisite: Passing grade on the Diagnostic Exam

  • Directed Research (GMUS 876)   

    • To be scheduled with advisor

  • Culminating Thesis/Project (GMUS 890)

    • To be scheduled with advisor

Orff Schulwerk Concentration Courses

Students take eleven required credits in the Orff Schulwerk field of concentration. Through the required concentration courses, students expand and refine the information needed to successfully use the Orff Schulwerk approach with children of all ages. 

  • Orff Schulwerk Level I (GMUS 731)

  • Orff Schulwerk Level II (GMUS 732)

  • Orff Schulwerk Level III (GMUS 733)

  • Curriculum Development (GMUS 735)

    • Prerequisite: Orff Schulwerk Level I (GMUS 731)

Orff Schulwerk Elective Courses

Elective courses offer students opportunities to further define and hone the depth and breadth of their expertise. Students take a minimum of five elective credits.

  • African Music Ensemble (GMUS 671)

  • American Folk Music (GMUS 765)

  • Dalcroze (GMUS 651)

  • Develop the Child Voice in the Classroom (GMUS 517)

  • Kodály Level I (GMUS 741)

  • Orff Master Class (GMUS 532)

  • Teaching Choral Music to Young Singers (GMUS 518)

  • Topics in Music Education (GMUS 544-xx)

    • Advisor approval required

  • Other courses considered for elective credit

    • Advisor approval required

Other M.A. Degree Requirements

Diagnostic Examination

All students admitted to the Master of Arts in Music Education program must take and pass a diagnostic examination in music history and theory immediately following their acceptance into the program. This exam is a non-course requirement of the Master of Arts in Music Education degree and also serves as a prerequisite for courses Topics in Music History, Literature, and Theory (GMUS 612) and Musicianship I (GMUS 750).

Oral Comprehensive Examination

Students are required to pass an oral comprehensive examination at the completion of their coursework. In this one-hour examination, students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of philosophical, historical, psychological, and pedagogical foundations and contexts of music education and important issues in the field. Students are expected to synthesize ideas and information and apply this knowledge and understanding to classroom practice.

M.A. Final Project

Concluding the coursework for the Master of Arts degree in music education, students will complete a Master of Arts (M.A.) Project chosen from one of several designs, all of which conclude with submitting four hardbound copies of a written component formatted according to Graduate Programs in Music Education (GPME) Project-Writing Guidelines. The following one- and two-semester designs are not intended to be exhaustive but rather to serve as a basis for other designs along these or other lines. Most projects will take one term to complete, and no projects will take longer than two terms to complete.

One-Semester Designs (Register for M.A, Project GMUS 890)

Design One: Curriculum Project

  1. Includes but is not limited to the development of an extended listing of content and outcomes that may be suitable for use in a teaching studio, classroom, or school district.
  2. The anticipated outcome of this design is a document that outlines the goals, lesson plans, objectives, learning activities, assessments and/or other pertinent information related to learning.
  3. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.
  4. Assessing the effect of a curriculum or lesson plans with a graduate student's students, or some other project using human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Design Two: Scholarly Paper

  1. Designed to refine skills in a new area for the student or in re-thinking and re-envisioning a previously considered idea.
  2. The topic may evolve from a previously written graduate paper or project or may be a topic of a new departure for the student.
  3. The format for the paper is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.
  4. A study involving human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Design Three: Composition and Commentary

Includes but is not limited to students composing and describing in detail a composition, or compositions they have composed and/or arranged for their students. This type of project typically consists of:

  1. Composing or arranging the composition/arrangement resulting in a full score.
  2. A detailed written description of the composition, the compositional process, and the implications that the composition may have for the music education community. It is assumed that the emphasis of this composition will have direct implications for music education.
  3. An audio recording of the composition(s)/arrangement(s).
  4. The full score of the composition with the description/commentary and an audio recording are included with the bound written element, although the format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines. The written component must include and describe pedagogical implications of the composition.
  5. Assessing the effect, impact or perceptions of the composition with a graduate student's students, or some other project using human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Two-Semester Designs
(First semester register for Directed Research, GMUS 876; Second semester register for M.A. Project, GMUS 890)

Designs four and five are the only options for doing two-semester M.A. projects involving GMUS 876 Directed Research the first semester and GMUS 890 M.A. Project the second semester. Students seeking to do either design four or five need to obtain the approval of the GPME Director two terms before the beginning of the first semester of the project.

Design Four: Lecture-Recital or Teaching Demonstration

Public presentation of lecture-recital/teaching demonstration of student's area of expertise, typically consisting of:

  1. Proposal of a couple of pages containing a working title; a brief description of the proposed lecture-recital/demonstration; proposed bibliography; and significance of the project. It is assumed that the emphasis of this lecture/recital will have a focus on music education and potential pedagogical implications.
  2. The lecture-recital/teaching demonstration will be performed as a "hearing" for the committee for its approval no later than two weeks before the scheduled public presentation.
  3. The actual public lecture-recital/demonstration (video-audio recorded) should last approximately 50 to 60 minutes. The lecture portion should comprise at least half of that duration.
  4. Four hardbound copies of the lecture portion in written form, together with a bibliography and other pertinent material (scores, etc.). This written portion may be considerably shorter than that of other projects and may simply contain a few pages of the aforementioned material and will be submitted with a video-sound recording. It is assumed that the emphasis of the written portions of the lecture will have direct implications for music education.
  5. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.

Design Five: Thesis

The two-semester thesis is built along the lines of a scholarly paper but conforms to more traditional research lines of qualitative, quantitative, historical, philosophical, descriptive and mixed methodologies--or it is based on Designs One, Two, or Three with a human subjects component. Other distinctive features include:

  1. A formal thesis committee (rather than faculty readers).
  2. A formal proposal agreed upon by the committee.
  3. A formal defense involving the student, advisor and committee members.

Moreover:

  1. If a student is interested in doing some kind of assessment with their students or a survey or other kind of study that involves human subjects, they need to proceed through the appropriate UST Institutional Review Board (IRB). This simple act typically adds one semester to a study.
  2. An excellent introduction to research methodologies can be found in Kenneth Phillips' Exploring Research in Music Education and Music Therapy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). It is highly recommended that students review the materials pertaining to their methodology well before they begin Design Five: Thesis.
  3. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.