The University of St. Thomas


OReilly, Cary

OReilly, Cary

Orff Schulwerk in the Middle School: A Developmental Approach
Cary J. O’Reilly

This paper proposes Orff Schulwerk as a developmentally appropriate vehicle for the middle school general music class. The first section of this paper discusses current problems facing middle level music education, the needs of the adolescent, and the function of the middle school.

Adolescence is defined as the period between the ages of 12 - 18 which bridges the gap from childhood to adulthood. It is characterized by 1) rapid growth and sexual maturation; 2) brain plateau, or lack of cognitive growth; 3) importance of peer group and social status; 4) the quest for independence and the opportunity to make choices. The middle school bridges the gap between elementary school and high school by offering 1) courses which are exploratory in nature; 2) hands-on participatory experiences; 3) opportunities for social interaction and development; 4) flexibility. The middle school is child- rather than subject-centered.

Noting the lack of materials specifically designated for the middle school music setting, the second part of this paper presents a curriculum proposal and a series of lesson plans in which the traditional elementary level Orff Schulwerk model is adapted to meet the developmental needs of the middle school adolescent. Also provided is a list of materials appropriate for use in the middle school Orff Schulwerk program.

Capstone Advisor
Patricia W. Teske