Stories with Music from an Orff Approach, Six Reasons Why!

  • My Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Music Lesson Plans all include Stories with Music (from an active Orff approach of course!) Here’s some top reasons why I think my selection of stories are one of the most effective  (and did I mention FUN!) ways to achieve my objectives as well as meet all Music Education Standards.


    The children choose instruments for each character or sound effects to bring the story to life. They improvise on those instruments to represent the action. Older students compose short motives or ostinatos or even a short melody to represent the character, sound effects or demonstrate the action of the story.

    Sound Discrimination

    Working with timbres such as woods, metals, skins and shakers for specific types of sound based on the characters, sound effects and action of the story.  Orff instruments for long/short, high/low, loud/soft, harmony, melody, rhythm.

    “The Theme Song”

    My short easy song is written in a vocal range that lends itself to beautiful singing and offers plenty of repetition for instrumental accuracy too. This provides an opportunity for everyone to have a chance at the Orff instruments or playing unpitched percussion since we take turns, having new players for each repetition of the song throughout the story.  Often pitch matching the teacher, singing alone, matching others, singing with others is achieved as we learn the song.

    Orff Accompaniments

    The brilliant thing about the Orff approach is the accompaniment can be adjusted to the level and experience of your players. For example, those who are ready for the challenge can do a cross over pattern for the beat (bordun) while others who need it simplified can play with both hands together on the beat. An ostinato pattern can be added for the student who is ready for that, while another can play an easier part, at the end of a phrase or on specific words. For older students, form can be discussed and other sections added based on rhythm reading, melody, etc. Often created by students working in groups.

    Music Vocabulary

    Sprinkled throughout the story, our Italian music words are used to describe parts of the story, a character or the repetition of the song. For example, “forte” and “accent” describe rowdy bulls in the Ferdinand story. Crescendo is Ferdinand as he grows bigger and bigger. Piano is used to describe our dynamic level of the last time we sing the song.

    Drama! Dance and Movement! 

    The children act out the story, working things out together or in small groups, creating the action that is inspired from the story. Other stories have structured movement, such as the Bullfighter's March from Carmen (from Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move!) in the Story of Ferdinand.

    The Storybooks and their detailed lesson plan with songs,are available in the Shop at Music Rhapsody.

    Check out all the categories in Music Box Downloads, all are FREE or at a 25% discount. 

    Here’s a List of Weekly Lesson Plans that contain “Stories With Music.” By Lynn Kleiner

    Preschool Music Lesson Plans: Kids Make Music, Big Kids Make Music

    Kindergarten: Young Musicians Make Music

    Elementary: Rhythm Readers, Melody Makers, Recorder Rookies 

    Music Rhapsody Members have access to weekly plans including video of the activities, detailed plans, plans at a glance, recordings, Orff orchestrations, SMARTboard visuals, notation, student hand outs and so much more! (This membership includes membership to Lynn Kleiners Music Box)