Elementary Music Links
DME ORFF ASSIGNMENT
Each student will design an accompaniment to a song,
which will be taught and then performed on Orff instruments
lesson procedure - organization and flow
appropriateness of accompaniment to song
Complements the song
Accessible to students
Instruments effectively assigned
Instruments correctly named
Problems effectively addressed
Good pacing maintained to avoid downtime
Instruments used correctly
You taught what you notated
Aesthetically pleasing outcome
Satisfying experience for students
Instruments set up on time
Hand-out correct and usable
Instruments put away neatly
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Choose a song. In a classroom setting, an Orff accompaniment would be added after the class had learned the song, so it is not necessary for you to teach the song. Do not use a song that has already been used by another student in your class. Make sure the song is age-appropriate to the grade level for which you are preparing. Begin with a proper range for the song. Do not write your Orff accompaniment in a key that is out of range for the singers.
Choose a grade level. Review the Developmental Levels handout in order to choose an appropriate song and level of accompaniment. Make sure the vocal part is in a comfortable range for your age group.
Choose at least 4 instruments to accompany the song. At least two of the instruments must be pitched instruments. At least one of them must be a xylophone or metallophone. You may supplement these with any of the classroom instruments in 112A. They do not all have to be "Orff instruments."
Make up a different part for each instrument. Think "accompaniment", not just "sound effects".
Notate each part. Remember that you will be able to use the notation for reference but the parts must be taught to your "students" by rote, so keep it simple. Please notate on Finale. Clearly label which instrument should play each line. The vocal part should be the first line.
Compile your lesson on one sheet. Include on this sheet your name, the name of the song, the words to the song and the notation to your accompaniment. If your song is too long for one page after you have tried scaling the size down, you may put it on 2 facing pages. Do not leave the score in Finale's default size. See the Finale page for instructions on how to scale down the size of the score. 85% is a good place to start. Use percussion notation for non-pitched instruments. Make copies of this sheet (with holes punched) for all class members and for me.
Set up the instruments you have chosen before class begins on the day your assignment is due.
Choose your players when it is time for your lesson to begin. This should be a random choice based on our discussion of "volunteers". It is even possible to place 2 students on the larger instruments, or to have more than one student playing identical instruments.
Have another student pass out copies of your lesson while you are assigning instruments to your players. That student should also make sure that the instrumentalists receive a copy of the lesson after they have performed.
Teach the instrument parts quickly by rote to your instrumentalists. Name the instruments before you begin. Feel free to give them visual cues (changing notes on your cue, etc.), numbers of beats to count before changing notes, or associations to words in the song. A good process is to add instruments as opposed to teaching all parts first. Be prepared to keep the rest of the class engaged/participating while the instrumentalists are learning their parts.
Lead the entire class through the song. Those students not chosen to accompany will sing the words to the song. Part of the lesson will be leading the singing students, as well. It often works well to start the instrumental accompaniment and then bring in the singers. It may depend on the nature of your accompaniment and upon the song. See me if you need advice. This entire process should not take longer than 10-15 minutes.
Put all instruments away after class. Make sure they are in the correct slots whether you found them there or not and that no chromatic bars are left on the instruments.
Use repetition Since everything will be taught by rote, make it simple. Devise a rhythmic motive of 2, 4 or 8 beats and repeat. Ostinatos work well. Rhythmic patterns don't have to sound simple. The most difficult parts are those without enough repetition or pattern, because they are hard to remember. See p. 208 in your textbook for some examples.
Use the concept of a Coda to break a pattern at the end or to explain how to come to a stop together.
Use words to teach rhythms "huckleberry" for 4 16th notes, or a phrase like "Old MacDonald had a farm" for ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ta
Attach changes to words in the song When harmonic changes in the song require a pitch position shift (from C-G ostinato to G-D, for example), the player can be instructed to change when a certain word comes up in the song. For example, in the song "Skip to My Lou", the player can be instructed to alternate between the above 2 patterns on the following words:
Four changes achieved by knowing the words to the song.
Use conducting cues to achieve harmonic changes as above. Cue (point) to the student to signal a change. Make sure you give preparatory time when cueing.
Do NOT leave the rest of the class idle for long periods while you teach the accompaniment parts. Plan a strategy to keep the singers also engaged.
Be aware that if you plan to use contrabass bars, we only have C, D, F, and G. Plan the key of your piece accordingly.