Giving flight to the Imagination : using portraiture to tell the story of Orff Schulwerk and a family music education setting

Brooke, Sarah (2016) Giving flight to the Imagination : using portraiture to tell the story of Orff Schulwerk and a family music education setting. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The Orff Schulwerk approach to music and movement education actively seeks to provide flight to the imagination through a playful, inclusive, engaging, creative and artistic pedagogy. As an approach to classroom music education it focuses on participatory music making in groups encompassing the social and emotional needs of the student. Orff educators interpret the Schulwerk in different ways, and as a non-prescriptive approach to music and movement education, this is to be welcomed. However, this freedom in interpretation has led to a variety of beliefs and practices, some of which bear little resemblance to how the Schulwerk was envisaged by its creators, Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. What seems to be lacking within much of the Orff community is a framework of philosophical understandings in which our practices can be placed. Reflecting on whether my own understandings of Orff Schulwerk lacked legitimacy prompted me to interrogate and consider my own practice, and investigate the philosophy of Orff Schulwerk. This investigation is presented in Part 1 of this thesis and I propose seven principles of Orff Schulwerk as a framework for understanding the overarching philosophy. I suggest that adopting such a framework allows for the creative freedom Orff educators enjoy whilst maintaining the integrity of the approach. In Part 2 of this thesis I tell the story of a research project I conducted with primary school children and their families. Volunteers participated in a project led by me as the teacher learning music together through the Orff Schulwerk approach. As the educator/researcher of this project, the methodology of portraiture is well suited as a frame(work) for my research. It promotes a narrative writing style and makes visible the personhood of the researcher and the humanness of the participants. Portraiture supports the significant reflective component. Findings from the research project demonstrate beneficial outcomes in families learning music together through the pedagogy of Orff Schulwerk. These families reported positive experiences from their involvement in the program: musically, socially and personally.

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Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > FOR Classification > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords teaching, music education, primary education, Australia, composition, concerts, dance, portraits
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