Orff Improvisation, thoughts of a six year old, special moments

  • Sometimes you just never know! My 4-6 year old introduction to Orff class was practicing their parts for "The Butterfly" from my book Jungle Beat. Each had decided on the part they wanted to play on their Orff instruments (the butterfly flying, the caterpillar down below, the spinning, the sleeping...) which were preset in C pentatonic. (Since this is a poem, it really doesn't matter which pentatonic key you use.) One of 6 year old boys had decided to do a lullaby for the sleeping caterpillar on an alto metallophone, saying the week before that he was choosing this part because his mother sang a lullaby to him every night before he went to sleep. (AH!  how sweet is that for his music teacher to hear!!) I observed as the children joyfully practiced their improvisations/compositions but noticed this particular boy was holding back tears.   When I asked him what was upsetting him, tears started pouring down his face and between sobs he said "There's no F! I cannot do it without an F!" I quickly went to the cabinet where I had stored the bars that were removed and placed the F in his instrument. He started playing.  I asked if everything was working well for him and he sniffled and said "yes, I just didn't want a skip there and now I can play my steps!"   HA!   

     To avoid "mindless random banging" instead of thoughtful exploration/improvisation, I use terms such as steps, skips and repeats when describing what I heard someone play. I was happy to know this little musician was able to communicate his lullaby plan. Great moments in teaching. For first time Orff lessons, go to in Downloads at www.lynnkleinersmusicbox.com.

2 comments
  • Lynn Kleiner
    Lynn Kleiner Orff principles can be applied to the piano, of course, the black notes are already set up in a pentatonic key! I was showing the 5 and 6 year old class how our Orff orchestration could be easily done. We put together our beat keeper on the low F# an...  more
    October 4, 2012
  • Lynn Kleiner
    Lynn Kleiner One of our Simply Music Rhapsody teachers gave me permission to share this adorable comment from one of her little Orff students:
    Dear Lynn and Robin,

    Just finished Big Kids Class No. 4 and young Grady (boy, age 3 ½) announced to his Mom: The only thing...  more
    August 20, 2013