In the summer of 2017, I had just completed my teaching for the summer and got a phone call from Heather Klossner, the Orff course director for the Memphis Summer Orff Institute. She asked me to teach a Master Class in Orff Schulwerk that reflected the heritage of the Memphis Orff course, specifically the artistic vision of Jos Wuytack. I accepted and have just finished my preparations and am absolutely looking forward to the opportunity.
The course will be an overview and expansion of everything that was presented in Levels 1, 2 and 3 plus lots of discussion and exploration. The Levels courses segment specific tasks and concepts. In this class all of the various elements will be experienced in a continuum. We will also have the freedom to explore areas of interest and focus on concepts and techniques of interest to the class.
Jos's two wonderful books titled Musica Activa - Rhythm and Musica Activa - Melody deal with these two elements thoroughly. We'll review these elements in the class by using the two books as a text. There are, of course, several elements not dealt with in those two fine volumes including Harmony and Timbre. As my preparations progressed it became clear that this is where I should spend most of my time and effort in preparations. Jos presented an expanded version of the Schulwerk that will provide us much material and grist for study, composition and improvisation. (see my previous post on functional harmony.)
For fifty years, The Memphis Summer Orff Institute has focused on the pedagogy of Carl Orff through the particular lens of Jos Wuytack, who worked alongside Orff in adapting both the original Flemish and French Musik für Kinder Volumes. Throughout his career, Wuytack sought to update Orff’s pedagogy, extending the models available to include human and cultural diversity and adapt to the rapidly changing world in which we live. All of Jos’s pedagogical ideas are thoroughly grounded in Carl Orff’s work and follow the outline originally put forth in the five volumes of Musik für Kinder.
The timeless character of the Schulwerk lies in its quality of being elemental and pre-artistic. For Carl Orff the models in his five volumes make an inexhaustible arsenal of elementary musical and speech forms. An certainly, the resulting system is a well planned progression. The type and nature of the models are determined by sensing the state of the child’s awareness and the stages of his mental growth.
But this timeless power does not exclude the possibility of a free and creative adaptation for the present day. Exactly the opposite is true. The model character of the Schulwerk demands as a principle that the examples be constantly reworked in improvisation and in re-creation! [Jos Wuytack. Updating Carl Orff’s Educational Ideas? Master Class notes, 1995]
Points of Focus
How did Jos encourage the adaptation of Orff Schulwerk to different countries and cultures around the world? Why did he view this as an important component of his work?
How did Jos expand Orff Schulwerk to become relevant to North America’s cultural diversity?
How did Jos draw connections between the world of classical music and Orff Schulwerk?
In building on the original five volumes of Musik fur Kinder, what did Jos add to the Orff canon concerning Melody, Rhythm, Form, Harmony, and Timbre?
If you've ever studied Orff Schulwerk with Jos Wuytack, Konnie Saliba, Shirley McRae, or Nancy Ferguson, this Master Class would be very interesting for you. Come join us in Memphis during the week of July 9 - 13.