Shelby County-Memphis City Schools Board and Transition Team: Keep the Memphis City Schools Nationally-Recognized Orff Music Program
All children deserve the richest educational experience that can be provided. This includes elementary music education. Children who have experienced the Orff Music Program have sung, danced and played their way to a deep experiential knowledge of music that will enrich them for the rest of their lives.
The question is -- will the children of the unified district have the same opportunity?
The longevity of the MCS Orff Music Program, which began as a Title I federally funded experimental project in 1968, testifies to its effectiveness, but this program’s enduring success is also due to the tradition of extensive in-service opportunities each year, its well-developed curriculum, and its support from the instructional supervisor and teacher-mentors, all of whom have their Orff pedagogy certification.
Teachers using this approach can provide numerous opportunities for creative problem-solving, for cooperative group experiences, and for engaging higher-level thinking skills. The variety of media used in the Orff-based classroom -- rhythmic speech, singing, active listening, pitched percussion, movement -- accommodates visual, aural, and kinesthetic learning styles. Because of the multi-cultural focus of this approach, students explore music from all over the world. Differentiation of instruction is embedded in the teaching strategies of the Orff approach, which nurtures all students, not just the musically gifted.
Without the guidance and leadership of an elementary music supervisor thoroughly versed in the Orff approach, the level of implementation of the current creative pedagogy would surely diminish over time. The unified district is urged to maintain the integrity and rigor of this nationally renowned program.
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