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Essential Learning in Music...Clarifying the Curriculum: Joe Berarducci Workshop - by Lori Jane Froese

Having grown up as a music teacher with Joe Berarducci’s resources and inspiration, I was excited to be able to be a part of this BC Orff workshop. Even after teaching music for so many years, I still came away with exciting new ideas and song material to bring to my music classes the following week. For me, however, the most meaningful part was being able to share my love of these workshops and of the Orff philosophy in general with my daughter, Ellie, who is now a first-year music teacher, joining me in the life-long journey of inspiring children through music and movement. Joe's workshop began with getting an entire gym filled with teachers to stand up, make a circle, and learn an entire body percussion piece. Many of us struggled at first but Joe would not give up on us and would not let us move on until we nailed the sequence. Then in beautiful Orff style, Joe integrated an arrangement of Mama Don't 'Low with the body percussion piece to create a funky, fun and challenging piece. I’ve tucked away this gem of a piece to explore with my Grade 6 students in the spring. Ellie was particularly thrilled to be given a seasonally timely piece that she used the week after the workshop. Joe shared a song that he co-wrote called Scarecrow. This simple little song in D minor evokes all the mystery of the season and her students loved playing and singing it. The B section included a game of disappearing scarecrows. Joe played a drum and instructed us to step only when the drum played. He started out playing 8 beats, then 7 beats with a rest, then 6 beats with 2 rests, etc. When we were comfortable with that, we had to inner-hear those drum beats and move accordingly. It was a hit with Ellie's grade 3 students! Before jumping in to a jazzy rendition of Green Sally Up, Joe graciously shared his own format of essential music learning. With changes to the BC Curriculum, some teachers have felt unsure of specifics to teach at each grade level and Joe’s scope and sequence may help clarify some of these areas. He shared, with his many years of experience, what he teaches in each grade level using structure (rhythm, melody, form and texture) , thoughts, images and feelings and context as the format. I am so grateful not only to have been a part of this energizing day but also to Joe for his life long work inspiring students and teachers through Orff Schulwerk. Thank you Joe!

Lori Jane Froese is currently teaching as a music specialist in the beautiful city of Kamloops. Certification in Kodaly as well as Orff has given Lori Jane a broad base of musical experiences and education to drawn upon in the music classroom.  She eagerly seeks out professional learning opportunities and rarely misses the amazing BC Orff chapter workshops. Her latest adventure in professional development led her to Ghana to study African drumming and dance with Kofi Gbolonyo. Her passion to inspire students through the love of music has led her over the years to work with children’s choirs, as a music specialist, as District Arts Coordinator, as music advocate and enthusiast and as a performer.

Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to this year’s Birthe Kulich scholarship recipients! Delia Major, Rebecca Visser and Lucy Chang.

Delia Major is from Vernon B.C. She is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for music and dance. She taught public school before she had her children. Delia says that “she looks forward to learning the Orff Schulwerk way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through singing, dancing and playing percussion instruments.”

Rebecca Visser teaches K-1 music at John Knox Elementary s

School in Burnaby. She has been teaching since 1997. She is currently in the Arts Education program at SFU and she “loves music and loves learning.”

Lucy Chang is the music teacher at Gilpin Elementary school in Burnaby. She has a Masters degree in Violin Performance from UBC. Lucy is hoping to “provide students with a better classroom experience in music” by taking the Orff Level One course.

Have a great course in August scholarship winners!

President's Message Spring 2018

2018 is an exciting year for Orff in Canada!  The 25thNational Conference in Niagara Falls was a whirlwind of workshops and opportunities to connect with ‘Orffans’ from across Canada and beyond.  It was inspiring to see what other chapters are doing to keep their members engaged and what other teachers are doing to motivate their students.  I hope that at the next conference in Edmonton we will have many more participants from BC. 

The start to this year was bittersweet as I returned to the my school following maternity leave.  I am thankful to the Orff community for keeping me connected to music education during my year away from teaching.  Involvement in the BC Orff Chapter has allowed me to take the time I need to continue to make connections in the music education community and take time for myself to continue to improve my teaching through planning and attending workshops. I feel lucky to have had this as I reflect on how changes in my personal life will influence my teaching.  

On my return to work, and in talking to music teachers across the country cannot help but thinking about how challenging the last few years have been for teachers in BC.  We have a new curriculum and new reporting systems.  There have been major changes to class composition and sizes in many districts that have led to many of our colleagues being displaced from their dedicated music spaces, myself included.  It is important that music teachers support one another and maintain their connections with each other through these challenging times.  Participation in professional development opportunities is a great way to do this…

We began our calendar year with a workshop from Pam Hetrick and Sarah Willner that opened our hearts and minds to Balinese music and culture.  They presented the material in a way that could easily be used to introduce music from around the world.  This summer will be a busy one for the chapter: in addition to the levels courses in August, the chapter will offer an Intro course facilitated by Cathy Bayley and Debra Geibelhaus-Maloney will be coming from Alberta to teach a week long master-class.  All of these master teachers are past presidents of local chapters and/or Carl Orff Canada.  I encourage you not only to continue to participate in workshops, but to find opportunities to share your Orff expertise with colleagues in your own district and beyond.  

Best wishes to you as you wrap up your school year!